Rest of Week 8 Predictions:
New York Knights vs Boston Blitz
Perelshteyn takes the reigns on board 1 this week against Charbonneau who has been tough this season, but got knocked down the MVP leaderboard by a revenge loss to IM Milman. Perelshteyn takes the black pieces where he can play solidly or sharply depending on the situation. I'm sure he'll try to keep things interesting and try to get some revenge for teammate Christiansen who has had trouble against Charbonneau so far. I'd give a slight edge to Boston on board 1, but not too big. On board 2 we have Foygel - Krush, Boston should have a good edge here, but Krush is a strong player and her chances should not be underestimated. On Board 3 I would likely give a slight edge to Bonin with white against Riordan. And on board 4 we have the player who has been the x-factor for Boston all season long. Ilya Krasik has been a tough nut to crack this season and I would definitely give him the nod, especially with white, in this game.
Boston over New York 3-1
Baltimore Kingfishers vs Dallas Destiny
On board 1 there is a GM-GM match in Blehm-Panchanathan win which I'll give a slight edge to Blehm with the white pieces. On board 2 the match up is Stopa-Kaufman, Stopa has been tough since he joined the Destiny early in the season and with both a rating edge and the white pieces, I expect him to take care of business. The multi-cultural Dallas line-up continues on board 3 with IM Vavrak taking the black pieces against NM Ray Kaufman, Vavrak will likely have a serious edge in this match up. On board 4 the struggling Nelson Lopez comes off of a tough loss last week to face FM Ralph Zimmer on board 4 this week, certainly the edge goes to Zimmer here. The match should be very close, but I think Dallas has a slight edge and is more likely to breakthrough to grab the victory than Baltimore, but still I think a tie is the most likely result.
Dallas ties Baltimore 2-2
Tennessee Tempo vs San Francisco Mechanics
On board 1 Burnett will try to exact his revenge on Friedel with the white pieces. So far this season Friedel has stumbled around a little bit with black while being tough with white. This matchup could lead to a variety of results, but I think a slight edge belongs to Friedel. On board 2 we have the matchup Pruess-Andrews. I think a significant edge has to belong to Pruess in this matchup. On board 3 we have Wheeler-Zilberstein. Zilberstein has been solid this season, but I'm sure he's looking to do better. This week he gets a much lower rated opponent and should be more than eager to finish the job even with black. On board 4 Shankland takes on the debuting Phay. I think Shankland is probably a little angry after his loss last week and will be more than happy to show he's up to the task of bringing home the full point this week.
San Francisco over Tennessee 3.5-0.5
Miami Sharks vs Seattle Sluggers
First, since this is a blog and I'm more than entitled to state my opinion here since it's MY blog, I will. Seattle tied San Francisco last week and as the line-ups went this was an upset for San Francisco, however rather than be happy with this, Clint Ballard decided to make accusations which to me seem completely inappropriate towards the commissioner claiming some kind of bias and rule-changing, but I think the penalty awarded was pretty reasonable given the circumstances that San Francisco would have less time to prepare for the match. It would of course be nice if things were laid out explicitly in the rules, but the league is still young and the commissioner wanted to leave some flexibility. I don't know if he is making any money off of the league, but I promise you it's not much and he puts a lot of time into organizing it. Also, if it's not clear it really affected the match. Ballard claims Mikhailuk could have drawn the game againt Vinay with more time on the clock, but really he burned up a lot of time very early in the game and by move 14 he was way behind on the clock and already had a tough position. You could claim an extra 10 minutes might help him, but the troubles were not what we would typically call clock-related. This seems to come from Ballard's thought that it's very easy for white to draw if he wants to. I think in the world of theoretical chess this might be true, but over the board with the clock ticking this is rarely such an easy task.
Anyways, now that that's out of the way (kind of), let's get on to this week's match. I think Ballard has created a lot of Danailovesque away from the board distractions, unfortunately his team is not facing the Shahade army this week and I think Miami won't be too intimidated by his actions. On board 1 we have Becerra-Serper, this should be an interesting matchup. Becerra has been really tough lately and holds the white pieces, I give him a slight edge agaisnt Serper this week. On board 2 we have Mikhailuk - Lugo where Mikhailuk should have a slight edge, but probably smaller than the edge on board 1. On board 3 IM Alejandro Moreno Roman faces off against the debuting FM Marcel Milat, Roman has struggled a little this season, but with the white pieces he should be looking at a good edge here. On board 4 NM Koons takes white againt Cabrerra. Could Cabrerra bring the same fourth board magic Miami saw last week? He might need to, Koons came off a solid results at the Slugfest tournament this past weekend and will likely bring some confidence in addition to his rating edge and the white pieces to the board this week. I think Miami holds a slight edge in this match up due to color advantages coming where they matter most, but I think off the board distractions might hurt Seattle a little. I'm going to give the nod to Miami.
Miami over Seattle 2.5 - 1.5