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May Knights Round 2: Strong Young Players Add Excitement

Round 2 - Results

White Black Result
Joseph Garnier Paul Goddard 1-0
Jason Clark Manny Presicci 1-0
Daniel Bart Daneil Coryea 0-1
Matthew Manley Ben Boaz 0-1
David Dong Dennis Hourcade 1-0
Sean Malone Chaim Zaromb 1/2-1/2
Neil Schechter Andrew Cai 1-0
Robert Beekman Scott Anderson 0-1

The tournament hall was more crowded than usual as the second round of the May Knights began on Wednesday. Five new entrants increased the field to 19 players. All of the new players played very well and victories were not as easy to come by as in the first round.

The biggest upset of the round was David Dong’s (736) victory over Dennis Hourcade (1445). Dong entered the tournament with a half-point bye in the first round. Dong was the lucky recipient of a free piece on move 9 when Hourcade placed a bishop en prise. Hourcade fought back valiantly, but he never fully recovered from his blunder.

Chaim Zaromb (872) – who also entered the tournament in week 2 – managed a draw against Sean Malone (1358). Zaromb was better for most of the game but missed several chances to win and ultimately agreed to a draw in a position in which he was up an exchange with a much better position.

Game of the Week

The exchange variation of the French Defense is often thought to be one of the dullest openings in chess, but this week Jason Clark (1839) and Manny Presicci (1600) demonstrated the potential for a very exciting game.

The opening was very balanced for both sides as one might expect from such an opening, but Clark quickly posed interesting problems on the kingside for Manny with the moves 8. Bg5 and 9. Qh5. The conglomerate of pieces near Presicci’s kingside led Manny make a risky decision – castling queenside.

Presicci traded two pairs of minor pieces before castling queenside on move 18, but the reduction in material was not enough ensure the safety of his king. Clark did not waste any time in pawn-storming the queenside with a3-b4-a4-b5 in an attempt to rip open Presicci’s position.

Clark wisely avoided trading pieces with the move 23. Reb1 to keep the pressure on his opponent. Manny had no attack on the kingside and Clark had no problem tearing open the b- and subsequently the a-file which was enough to force resignation. A strong attacking performance from one of the tournament’s strongest players. Clark now has a perfect 2/2 score entering round 3.

Jason Clark v. Manny Presicci // Annotation by GM Ben Finegold

The Monthly Knights tournament is a Swiss event that plays one round every Wednesday evening. Cash prizes are awarded to the top finishers, as well as the top U1700 and U1400 player, and all players receive grandmaster analysis of each of their games.

Round 3 - Probable Pairings

White Black
Jason Clark Joseph Garnier
Ben Boaz Harper Evan Smith
Daniel Coryea David Dong
Paul Goddard Sean Malone
Chaim Zaromb Peter Krasucki
Manny Presicci Scott Anderson
Neil Schechter Greg Vanvalkenburg
Dennis Hourcade Andrew Cai
Robert Beekman BYE