Monday, June 23, 2014

Yaacov's Deathmatch

I have annotated a selection of games from the Deathmatch between IM Yaacov Norowitz and GM Boris Avrukh (Replay, PGN), played Sunday, June 22 on the server. Commentator IM Daniel Rensch called it "The most exciting deathmatch in history," and he pointed out that it was also the biggest comeback in deathmatch history, with Yaacov overcoming a 5-point deficit to take the match based on his excellent performance in bullet.

The rules of the match were that the contestants would play a series of 5-minute, 3-minute, and 1-minute bullet for set periods (adding up to 3 hours), competing for $1,000, with the winner of each time category gaining $100 and the overall winner getting $500. As expected, GM Avrukh performed better at the "slower" time controls, winning the 5-minute by a score of 5-2 and the 3-minute by a score of 6.5-4.5, so that he was leading by 5 points going into the Bullet games. However, IM Norowitz won the Bullet games with a convincing 8-2 margin, thus winning the overall event by a point in the final game, taking the match 14.5 - 13.5.  It was a very exciting finish, with Norowitz winning the final three games.

GM Simon Williams interviews IM Yaacov Norowitz
Members of the Kenilworth Chess Club have followed Yaacov's chess career very closely, as he is a former club champion and played at the club as a young man (winning the under-1800 trophy in 1992-1993).  The games with GM Avrukh demonstrated some nice tactics, including the following two puzzles that feature tricky Knight moves (see my notes on the games for the solutions).

Avrukh - Norowitz
White to play and win.
Norowitz - Avrukh
White to play and win.

More on Yaacov Norowitz

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