The participation in the June Knights skyrocketed this week as ten more players increased the field to 22 players -- a record high for the year. The players were in for a special treat this week as they learned that all of the games would be broadcasted throughout the club.
Game of the Week...
Occasionally there are two players in a tournament that hope to avoid each other but usually not for the reason Ben Shoykhet and Alexey Kazakevich were hoping not to play each other this week. Kazakevich was Shoykhet's first chess teacher and he was hoping not to play against his former pupil in his first rated game since August of 2011. He entered the game with mixed feelings about the result -- dreading that all results were undesirable.
Kazakevich was very familiar with Shoykhet's style of play and not surprised by White's choice of opening, although he did admit that he wasn't sure exactly how to play against White's set-up. He decided to just develop all of his pieces then start playing chess.
Chances were about equal out of the gate and by move 12 both sides had developed all of their pieces. Nothing much was going on until White decided to lash out with 16. f4 -- a dubious but very complicated move. White had calculated that he would be giving up an exchange but decided to go for the wild complications that ensued.
After 21. Rxd3 Black was up an exchange and a pawn but it was not easy for Kazakevich to deal with all of the pressure. Shoykhet thought for more than 20 minutes on the move 29. Bd5+, which both players thought was a draw. Black missed a chance to with either ... Kg7 or ... Kg8 but instead it was White that could have played for a win after the blunder 29. ... R2xd5.
After his long think on the 29th move, Shoykhet didn't have time to calculate a win for White and promptly settled for a perpetual check. Kazakevich was quick to congratulate his student with a proud and hearty handshake.
"I didn't want to beat him and I didn't want to lose to him," Kazakevich said immediately after the game. "It was the perfect result."
In Other News...
Despite the extraordinary number of participants in the tournament it was a good night for the higher-rated players. There were two draws and no upset wins -- an unusual outcome from a round of the Knights. The increased field means much more excitement is awaiting us as we've reached the half-way point in this month's tournament.