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New York Knights Advance to Semis Print E-mail
Jennifer's Blog
By Jennifer Shahade   
November 9, 2006
The U.S. Chess League wildcard week, true to form, featured a wild week of chess, with eight decisive games. Tournament organizers take note; In team competitions, draw odds contribute to fighting chess. Hypothetical question:
If you were a team captain of a four board team, what would you pick?
a. White on all four boards
b. Draw odds

In the U.S. Chess League, draw odds are earned by performing well in the regular season.The Boston Blitz and the San Francisco Mechanics, numero uno in the Eastern and Western divisions get a wildcard round bye and draw odds in the semi-finals.

My team, the New York Knights had draw odds in the wildcard round (our reward for coming in second place; Carolina was third.) and a surplus of team spirit. Jay Bonin showed up in full regalia, while all the members of our lineup brought "A-game."

New York Knight Jay Bonin

The Games

Pascal Charbonneau, despite playing really well all season, suffered his second disapointing loss in a row to Lev Milman. After a flurry of exchanges, Lev came out on top, with two bishops for a rook.


Just a few minutes later, Irina Krush avenged her boyfriend's loss with a solid victory against Matthew Hoekstra in the Queen's Gambit Accepted.


Pascal doesn't lose too often, probably in fear of punishments like this one.

We needed one more point to bring home the match. Matthew and Robert both got winning positions, so we managed to advance easily, earning a 3-1 final score. Matthew played a nice game with Black, avoiding a usual vice of his, time pressure. It's amazing how speeding up can actually make you play better, which is the reason for that chess maxim: "Long think,Wrong think."


After this exhilarating match win, we're ready for anything, including some serious sword-fighting next week against the Boston Blitz.

New York Knights are all smiles. Left to right: Pascal Charbonneau, Irina Krush, Jennifer Shahade, Matthew Herman and Robert Hess. Photo John Fernandez

Study-like draw

Dallas-Seattle was a very tight match. It appeared that Dallas would earn the 2.5 points they needed to advance when disaster struck on Board 2. Black who had a much more solid position a few moves ago, now has to find a study like continuation to earn the draw. If you're in the mood for some intense tactical training, pore over this position for an hour or two, writing down all your analysis.

I don't want to give away the brilliant drawing move here....give it a closer look! If you really must know now, check out uschessleague.com

Next week, November 15 at 7 pm, the New York Knights face off against the Boston Blitz for a place in the finals. Tune in or come by in person at the Marshall to support us!