Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knockouts to Beat Dead Horse

by Joseph Criscuolo and Robert N. Bernard

In Week 1 of the USCL, the New York Knights put together the lineup of Kacheishvili, Charbonneau, Herman, and Norowitz, against the New Jersey Knockouts, and were defeated. They have elected to resurrect that dead horse and use that same losing lineup against the Knockouts in this week's rematch of that first week encounter. As New Jersey resident Yogi Berra might say, "It's deja vu all over again."

The first place New Jersey Knockouts will try to maintain their perfect record against a team they have already beaten the New York Knights. This matchup will have a major impact on how the second half of the season will flow, as a Knockouts' win will place them in a nice spot to clinch a playoff berth and keep the Knights in the bottom half of the standings. A Knights' win will put them half a game behind first place, setting up for a close battle in the second half of the season for the top of the division, and a possible rematch in the playoffs.

The Knights finally won their first match week when they defeated the Queens Pioneers 3.5-0.5. While the Horsies are using the same lineup, only Joel Benjamin returns for the Knockouts, playing first board. Boris Gulko, Mackenzie Molner, and Anna Matlin round out the remainder of the lineup for the Knockouts. Boris Gulko had an exciting debut in his first game of the season last week, winning a well deserved game of the week.

Playing as white on board 1 is GM Joel Benjamin (2641) against GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (2666). In week 1, they drew their game when Kacheishvili played as white. Joel Benjamin has put up an amazing performance for the Knockouts posting 2.5 points in 3 games. Joel Benjamin won his second game of the season last week against Johnathan Schroer of the Carolina Cobras, and those on ICC can see him review his game on ICC with his ICC Game of the Week radio show.

Playing as black on board 2 is GM Boris Gulko (2609) who will be facing GM Pascal Charbonneau (2560). Boris Gulko looks to remain undefeated in his US Chess League Career, with his all time record now standing at 4-0. Boris Gulko won the USCL Game of the Week prize last week with unbelievable play against Oleg Zaikov of the Carolina Cobras.

Playing his first game of the season as white on board 3 is Mackenzie Molner (2446) against Herman (2275). Molner had 5 points in 8 games last season and has previously played for the New York Knights in 2006, a year before the Knockouts inaugural season.

Playing as black on board 4 is Anna Matlin (2003) who is facing famous ICC blitzer Yaacov Norowitz (2354). Anna Maitlin was heroic in her first game for the Knockouts, defeating Rahul Swaminathan of Philadelphia on board 4 to deliver the win for the Knockouts as well as taking home Endgame Clothing's upset of the week award. A win or draw for Matlin will most likely win her upset of the week again, as Norowitz is 351 rating points over her. Placing Norowitz on board 4 was an interesting roster choice for the Knights, as he is 79 points higher than board 3, Matt Herman.

This exciting rematch be seen this Wednesday September 23 at 7:00 PM on ICC. With both teams fielding 2 GMs expect 2 close games on the top boards as well as the future of New Jersey chess in Molner and Matlin! And if you can’t get enough chess, there are four other USCL matchups that night for you to enjoy!

The Knockouts are sponsored by the New Jersey State Chess Federation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Correction - its Oleg Zaikov.