Archive for the ‘Irina Krush’ Category

New York Knights Off Suicide Watch

September 5, 2007

Thankfully, the New York Knights are off suicide watch following their big choke against the Baltimore Kingfishers last week in the U.S. Chess League. Manager Irina Krush is still keeping superstar Hikaru Nakamura on the bench. She is putting forward the following lineup tonight against the Philadelphia Inventors:

New York Knights     Philadelphia Inventors
GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2532     GM Sergey Kudrin: 2599
IM Irina Krush: 2442     IM Bryan Smith: 2446
IM Robet Hess: 2457     NM Daniel Yeager: 2247
Matthew Herman: 2172     NM Elvin Wilson: 2240
Avg Rating: 2401
    Avg Rating: 2383

Game time is 7:30 PM, and the moves can be observed in real time at the Internet Chess Club or live at New York’s Marshall Chess Club and Philadelphia’s Franklin Mercantile Chess Club. I plan to go to the Marshall.

Kingfishers Clobber Knights: I Should Eat Crow

August 30, 2007

Wimpy logo or not, the Baltimore Kingfishers tragically defeated my New York Knights 3-1 in the first round of the United States Chess League. Pascal Charbonneau and Irina Krush were both winning in their respective games but threw it all away.

It is a very sad day in the Big Apple, but New Yorkers are used to bouncing back. I remember when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1975 and President Gerald Ford refused to help (which occasioned the famous Daily News headline: “Ford to City: Drop Dead”). Well, we survived when Washington turned its back on us. And we will survive the indignity perpetrated last night by Baltimore.

After 34 moves, Irina had reached this promising position as White against her avian foe.

One of the joys of watching top-level games on the Internet Chess Club is that you never know who may drop by and kibitz. Last night, I and the other woodpushers who were watching Irina’s game online were treated to unexpected commentary by the legendary Gata Kamsky, the No. 1 ranked player in the United States. Gata said that she had a “strong advantage” in the position above and suggested a quiet continuation. But Irina surprised him (‘Nice,” he said, approvingly) with the forceful pawn push f5.

Now if Black is so greedy as to grab the f-pawn, he has no defense against the sly Bishop shift Bh5

and Irina shoving her e-pawn (after Black, say, moves his king):

The e-pawn is now immune to capture by the Black f-pawn because then her bishop will capture the opposing cleric.

But none of this after f5 was to be. Black did not grab the f-pawn bait, and although White continued to enjoy a strong game, the wily kingfisher eventually swindled her.

New York Knights Ready to Rip Baltimore

August 29, 2007

New York KnightsBaltimore KingfishersToday, at 7:15 PM, my home chess team, the New York Knights, will square off in the opening week of the U.S. Chess League against the Baltimore Kingfishers. The games can be watched in real time on the Internet Chess Club or live at the world famous Marshall Chess Club in New York’s Greenwich Village. Knight’s manager (and Board Two player) Irina Krush is confident: “My strategy is to win,” she told me. “I think we have an advantage on every board except maybe Board Three, and there it’s pretty even.” Each team fields four players.

I think, though, that Irina is being coy and not disclosing the real reason the Knights have a clear advantage. It’s because they have a vastly superior logo (above left). The Knights’ logo is elegant, with its heraldic shield and horse (although the horse itself has an indifferent expression and could look tougher). But the bird in Baltimore’s logo is the wimpiest kingfisher I’ve ever seen. It looks like a delicate humming bird in search of nectar. Where’s the noble tuft on the kingfisher’s head? And why doesn’t it have a fish in its mouth?

New York will also win because its Board One (Pascal Charbonneau) just qualified for a Green Card on Monday and will want to do his adopted American city proud.

(And now please excuse the shameless plug, but I have a child to feed: revealing profiles of Irina Krush and hubby Pascal can be found in my new book King’s Gambit: A Son, a Father, and the World’s Most Dangerous Game, which is available at amazon for an inviting 34 percent discount!)

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

Baltimore Kingfishers     New York Knights
FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat: 2411     GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2532
IM Larry Kaufman: 2375     IM Irina Krush: 2442
WGM Katerina Rohonyan: 2329     IM Jay Bonin: 2340
WIM Tsaagan Battsetseg: 2234     FM Marc Arnold: 2316
Avg Rating: 2337
    Avg Rating: 2408

Chess and the Spiritual World

August 10, 2007

Bobby Fischer once said, “They’re all weak, all women. They’re stupid compared to men. They shouldn’t play chess, you know. They’re like beginners. They lose every single game against a man.”

The anthropologist Margaret Mead disagreed: “Women could be just as good at chess, but why would they want to be?”

Irina Krush, the newly crowned 2007 U.S. Women’s Champion, has a good answer: “I believe chess can bring me closer to the spiritual part of this world in a way that simple material stuff can’t.”

New York Knights Are Looking Bright

August 8, 2007

photo of the 2006 New York Knights by John Fernandez

U.S. Chess League Commissioner Greg Shahade has announced that Hikaru Nakamura is joining the New York Knights for the 2007 season. Hikaru has an uncompromising, go-for-broke playing style that makes his games a real treat for the crowd. He even trots out openings (like bringing his queen out on the second move of a double-king-pawn opening) that would get him laughed out of the local chess club if it weren’t for the fact that he is the second-highest rated player in the country.

The above photo is of the 2006 New York Knights; from left to right are two-time Canadian Champion Pascal Charbonneau, two-time U.S. Women’s Champion Irina Krush, two-time U.S. Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade, Matthew Herman, and Robert Hess.

Grudge Game Tomorrow: Nigel Short v. Gata Kamsky

July 25, 2007

If I wasn’t in Costa Rica, I’d be heading to Quebec for a ringside seat for tomorrow’s grudge game between Nigel Short and Gata Kamsky in the Montreal Chess International. In the mid 1990s, Short lost a world championship semi-finals match to Kamsky by the lopsided score of 5.5 to 1.5. Short said that the match was the worst experience in his long chess career because he was subjected to unfair and terrible psychological warfare waged by Kamsky and his father.

The Kamskys suggested that he was cheating. “Never before had anyone accused me of cheating,” Nigel told me. “And they were doing this after I lost. That would make me the the worst cheater in the history of chess.” And then there was the notorious death-threat: Short said that Kamsky’s father got in his face and threatened to kill him.

The toxic match reared its ugly head last October when Short and Kamsky got into an Internet spat (Mig Greengard has a nice post on this). The online scuffle ended with Kamsky threatening to take it offline: “I don’t want to talk about it, but if you want to do something about this, we can settle this like real men, outside. I’ll be waiting.”

At the press conference in Montreal, Short dragged out all the old dirty laundry in response to a journalist’s question. The tournament organizers were apparently not happy; Kamsky, however, was not in attendance.

You can watch the moves of their game live, although unfortunately not their behavior, at the tournament Web site.

Krushing Victory

May 21, 2007

Pascal Charbonneau and Irina Krush 

In the sixth round of the 2007 U.S. Chess Championship, Irina Krush of Brooklyn defeated Bay Area resident and rising star Joshua Friedel.  Krush, one of the players on my fantasy chess team, is profiled in my forthcoming book, King’s Gambit: a Son, a Father, and the World’s Most Dangerous Game.   

An excerpt from King’s Gambit:

Irina’s life revolves around the game.  “I am very chessy,” she told me.  Irina is uncomfortable giving interviews—she’d rather be playing chess than talking about the game.   But one morning at 3:00 A.M., when I was driving home from a tournament with her and Pascal, she was unusually philosophical.  Of all the top players I know, she is the most idealistic about the power of chess to give meaning to life.  “Chess is a gift that civilization handed us,” she told me.   “I believe chess can bring me closer to the spiritual part of this world in a way that simple material stuff can’t.”