Rest of Week 9 Predictions
Boston Blitz vs Carolina Cobras
The edge in Christiansen-Milman has to be given to LarryC who has dominated thier USCL matchups so far with a 3-0 record and he takes the white pieces this week. In Hoekstra-Kelleher on board two it's a little closer, but Hoekstra still needs to perform a little better to give Carolina a chance for a, as my friend oogee would put it, "late-night rally" into the playoffs. Carolina is close to even on this board due to season play so far. On board 3 we have Riordan-Zaikov, Zaikov finally had a slip not too long ago, first losing and then drawing, but both were against tough opposition, especially for board 3 and I expect him to make a full recovery and have the edge in this game. On board 4 there's Jones-Martirosov. So far this season Martirosov has done well... except in his match against Carolina, and he plays the same opponent this week with the same color (due to them both moving down a board), still I expect him to recover, his opponent will have a slight edge. Look for boston to have a solid edge and not to slip regardless of their playoff lock before the playoffs.
Boston over Carolina 2.5-1.5
New York Knights vs Baltimore Kingfishers
With playoff races tight all across the league except the hard-fighting Tennesee Tempo, all matches this week have serious playoff implications to make for some real excitement in Week 9. This week the 3rd place Knights faceoff against the 2nd place Kingfishers who they trail only by half a GAME (not match) point in the standings. If the season were to end today, both teams would make the playoffs, but Philadelphia has been hot lately and even Carolina isn't out of it yet, so neither team has much room for a slip, especially with Philadelphia having a very solid tiebreak. Anyways to the match...
On board 1 Krush takes the place of her reigning-MVP boyfriend taking the white pieces against Bruci Lopez, she should have a very solid edge with the white pieces. On board 2 we have a battle of youth versus experience in Kaufman - Hess. This could be the key game of the match, I would give Kaufman the edge here, but youngsters are always ready to outperform their expectations. Board 3 features another Kaufman this time taking the black pieces against Bonin, Bonin is a really tough fighter and has a lot of expierience, he certainly has the edge in this game. On board four the game is Zimmer-Molner, Zimmer lost last week as part of Dallas' sweep over Baltimore against a much lower rated opponent, this week he faces a tougher one. My guess is he will have the edge despite his disaster last week. Do these two teams dare tie and allow Philadelphia to pass both of them in the standings with a win? I think Baltimore could be happy enough with that, unfortunately I think New York is going to have something to say.
New York over Baltimore 2.5-1.5
Dallas Destiny vs Philadelphia Masterminds
Jan Ehlvest takes the black pieces agianst Panchanathan this week who scored an excellent win last week leading a Dallas sweep over Baltimore. Still, it seems rare that Ehlvest has much trouble beating lower rated players and I have to give the edge to him this week. On board 2 Stopa takes black against Smith who has struggled against higher-rated opposition as I expect him to do this week so I give the edge to Stopa, even when he takes black. On board 3 the game is Zaremba - Costigan, in my mind, regardless of the MVP standings, Costigan has been of unquestionable value to his team this year, holding his own against much-higher rated opposition. A win this week might put him in position to take a shot at the much-deserved MVP title especially as he's playing up a meager 70 points as black and he luckily doesn't have to face the seemingly unstoppable Vavrak on board 3, edge to Costigan. On board 4 Wilson takes white against Lopez who had a nice victory last week, but with the black pieces his results haven't been as good, I give Philly the edge here. Overall I think Dallas is in for a tough match this week which both teams need wins badly. A win for Philadelphia will assure them to be in playoff position heading into the final week while Dallas needs a win to keep pace with Miami who has a proverbial week off againt Tennesee this week, Philadelphia is definitely looking like the favorite though.
Philadelphia over Dallas 3-1
Miami Sharks vs Tennesee Tempo
Well, I called this match a "week off" for Miami, but I guess they don't like to send in their best when it counts. In such a close race with Dallas and having to face San Francisco in week 10, I don't see how they don't take this match more seriously. I'm not saying they won't win, but they're not in position to garner some ever-valuable tiebreak either when they're sending out a lineup without MVP-leader Becerra. Let's break this one down:
On board 1 w have Moreno-Burnett. Moreno has struggled a bit this season and I thought this would be a good opportunity for Miami to keep him on board 2 and give him some easier opposition and help build some confidence, anyways he instead has to take board 1 agianst Burnett, with the white pieces he should be the favorite, but he's been struggling lately and sometimes these things take a while to break. Board 1 is a tossup in my mind. On board 2 we see Andrews - Espino, if anything should make Tennesee excited it is finally having a rating advantage on board 2. Andrews holds only a half-point to his name this season and is likely eager to change that stat in this game, fortunately for him he has the white pieces and a lower rated opponent, the edge goes to Andrews this week. On board 3 the game is Torres-Wheeler, Torres makes only his second appearance this season a board above where he came in last time (he also played against Tennesee in that match). He caught his opponent in an opening trap last time, but I don't see him winning so easily this week, but he should still have a slight edge in this game. On board 4 Larson takes white against Barredo who two weeks ago pulled a spectacular come-from-behind win against Dallas' Nelson Lopez. This game will likely be a tossup, possibly a slight edge to Larson with the white pieces where he looked impressive earlier this season against Naroditsky. Overall I think this match will be close, but I think it's clear that Tennesee wants it more. If they can't make the playoffs, they might as well affect the playoffs, right? You heard it here first:
Tennesee over Miami 2.5-1.5
SF over Sea 2.5-1.5
Bos over Car 2.5-1.5
NY over Bal 2.5-1.5
Phi over Dal 3-1
Ten over Mia 2.5-1.5