It was a wonderful night. No one egged my house or tp-ed my yard, and the New York Knights finally pulled it all together and made it to the playoffs in the U.S. Chess League by defeating the New Jersey Knockouts 2.5 to 1.5. The match was extremely tense. Early on, New York soared to a commanding 2-0 lead, with victories by “Sleeping Knight” Jay Bonin and Irina Krush. The Knights then gave back a point when Pascal Charbonneau misplayed a drawn rook ending against Joel Benjamin.
Everything came down to whether Irina Zenyuk (shown above) could hold a draw on board 4. After 117 moves, and more than four hours of play, she did.
Credit also goes to Queens. The outer borough played a supporting role in enabling the Knights to reach the playoffs: they crushed Baltimore.
The Knights also cast off the spell of the Nakamura paradox, proving that they can win even when their top player is sitting out.
Next Wednesday the Knights will square off in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Inventors.