Martinez rallies, beats Jones 8-6 in NYC-CHI blitz

Brooklyn Master Shawn Martinez had mentioned that he battled with Daniel X Jones years ago. Martinez said that he got the better of Jones, who was rated 1700 at the time. Since then Jones has gotten noticeably stronger and is helping to lead a movement of team blitz chess. Coming off of a win against blitz phenom Tavon Carter, Martinez knew Jones would be coming into the match with soaring confidence. When the Chicago entourage arrived they were resolutely positive.

Video by Nathan Kelly

Chicago had come to iconic Brooklyn, two cities that Bobby Fischer has in common and proceeded to throw down a fierce gladiator battle. The hype was real in the buildup and the pre-match hype. Jones-Martinez had a boxing ring to it and the Kaulule-Harriott undercard didn’t disappoint. The matches had a bit of everything including controversy. First up, the Zambian against the Jamaican.

NM Kela Kay Kaulule (Chicago) beats NM Tyrell Harriott (New York) 11-9

Zambia’s Kela Kay Kaulule
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Kela Kaulule came to Chicago to visit a relative, but has found a home in the Chicago Chess Club. He was chosen as the player in an “undercard” match against National Master Tyrell Harriott. Going into the match, there was not the hype of the main event and Kela was very calm as usual. The match started with the Zambian winning the first two games, but of course, Harriott came fighting back. Kaulule had a small lead before a controversy threw the match in disarray.

The controversy occurred when Kaulule repeatedly adjusted pieces after hitting his clock. Kaulule confirmed this with The Chess Drum. It is apparently a habit developed over a long period of time. Club owner and organizer Christian Whitted intervened and penalties were assessed. Even after a 20-minute delay, the next game was delayed for the same issue. In fact, the ICC had seen enough and stopped relaying the games at 8.5-8.5. After the smoke cleared, a draw put the score at 9-9. Kaulule then closed the match with two wins.

Video by Nathan Kelly

NM Shawn Martinez rallies to beat Daniel X Jones 8-6

There were some technical difficulties in the match with the network connection and the DGT board managed from Atlanta by Frank Johnson. Chicago Chess Club’s Nathan Kelly was broadcasting the games on his cell phone, but the viewing quality was not of standard. There was a better angle for the games, but the connection was spotty at best. The team worked feverishly to correct the issue and should be commended.

The games were originally set to be broadcast at the Internet Chess Club, but the management cut the relay after the Kay Kaulule-Tyrell Harriott match became snarled in controversy. This meant that the main event would be seen only through DGT wifi relay.

Daniel X Jones (Chicago) and Shawn Martinez (New York)

The match was a seesaw affair with both players staying close until the end. Martinez held the lead early but the games were even at 2.5 after five games. Again, Brooklyn edged out to a lead before Chicago roared back to take a 5.5-3.5 lead. Jones secured the lead at the end of the 5-minute and 3-minute segments. It appeared that Martinez caught his groove and rallied to victory with 4.5 in last five games (one 3-minute, four 2-minute) for an 8-6 win.

The games finished in the wee hours of the morning and it was truly a gladiator battle. While the composite score in the two matches was 17-17, New York will win home court advantage with Martinez’s win. The technical issues will have to be improved for the NYC-CHI match, but the excitement is high and now the cities will prepare to battle in the fall.

The event has spawned possibilities and hopefully other cities will take note and join the action.

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