February’s inclement weather resulted in an unusually high number of half-point bye requests in the early rounds of February’s Wednesday Knights Tournament -- thought it wasn’t enough to stop Knights regular Daniel Coryea (1800), who braved the conditions each week to collect a perfect 4/4 score.
Despite fewer games played than a normal tournament, February Knights still delivered the great fighting action that has become a regular feature of the event. Perhaps one of the month’s finest games game from the tournament’s youngest competitor, Ben Shoykhet (1181), in round two. The nine-year-old demonstrated a large degree of imagination and put together a spectacular attack from the black side of an Accelerated Dragon. The youngster has been getting regular lessons with GM Andre Diamant, and it showed in the game, annotated below by GM Yasser Seirawan.
In the first round, Coryea capitalized on the passive play of opponent Scott Anderson (1317) and launched an aggressive kingside attack in the opening. It came as an avalanche of pawns rolling down the kingside, forcing Anderson knights to incommodious squares and ultimately exposing his king. Despite the opening struggles, however, Anderson put up tough resistance and made Coryea work hard for nearly 50 moves before surrendering the point.
In the second round, Coryea managed to secure a few small opening advantages with white against a tough opponent, Jonathan Orsay (1693). Coryea managed to double both of Orsay’s a- and h-pawns, also procuring the traditional bishop-pair advantage. However, Orsay’s position remained very solid and, with center closed, Coryea found difficulty making use of his bishops. The game remained balanced until endgame, when Orsay mistakenly traded into a losing king-and-pawn endgame. The result had a noticeable effect on Orsay, who has since been seen reading endgame books around the Club.
Perhaps Coryea’s toughest earned victory came in round three against Manny Presicci (1593). Coryea got to play his beloved Scandinavian Defense as black with 3…Qd8, though he missed an opening blunder by Presicci which would have won a piece as early as move 9 -- forcing him to win the hard way. Coryea baited Presicci’s knight into a queenside pawn-hunting expedition, instead focusing on his own kingside attack. The charge looked promising, but Presicci found its defusal, first with a strong exchange sac and then a queen trade-off to successfully kill the attack. The endgame position was a known draw, with king-and-rook versus king-and-knight, but Presicci blundered in time trouble to lose his knight -- and the game.
Coryea’s fourth-round game against Dennis Hourcade (1508) went a lot smoother, managing to get his pieces on more-active squares and quickly realizing his advantage by picking up a pair of pawns. Coryea’s perfect 4/4/ score earned him the top cash prize, as well as free entry into December’s 2015 Knights Championship.
Ben Boaz (1574) took second place in another strong Knight’s Tournament performance, after winning the January event. Boaz outperformed his rating for thesecond month in a row, highlighted by his draw with the tournament’s highest-rated player, Claudio Abud (2247), in the second round. Boaz undefeated ¾ score, with two wins and two draws, earned him $75.
Come find out what makes the Knights Tournament such a regular favorite and join in to the March event which begins Wednesday, March 4. The March Knights will be a four-week tournament with one round every Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m., and free Grandmaster analysis is provided for every game played. One half-point bye can be used any Wednesday night you may miss, including Week 1 for late registrants.