Tuesday, November 28, 2006

US Chess League Championships!!! My completely biased predictions

Okay, for the 2nd week in a row, I will be writing completely biased predictions which will be criticized and then end up being criticized for being biased even though I never claimed otherwise.

Board 1: IM Friedel - GM Charbonneau
Friedel has been untouchable this season as white except one game where he was defending and probably lost, but saved a draw after some middlegame inaccuracies. Will Charbonneau dare repeat this line with Josh having another chance to prepare? My guess is he'll probably play another 2.. e6 sicilian, but maybe a different setup this time, that one he played last time is actually one I faced this weekend and I have the feeling the very early d5 might be a little dubious. Edge still goes to Friedel who is always tough as white.

Board 2: IM Krush - IM Pruess
Krush has done quite well this season whereas Pruess' season hasn't been as good as he's hoped, but he came off a very strong result this weekend at the American Open and will come in with good confindence. I think stylistically this matchup should be very interesting, both players are strong calculators, I give Pruess the edge due to his strong recent results.

Board 3: IM Zilberstein - FM Hess
Hess has managed to save some tough positions this season, but Zilberstein is probably the second toughest opponent he's faced all season and Zilberstein is also coming off a strong showing at the American Open. Also Zilberstein has been quite strong this season, his only loss was to Vavrak who has been incredibly tough in the US Chess League. This is also only Zilberstein's 2nd game as white this season. My guess is Hess will put up a good fight, but Zilberstein will grind out the "W".

Board 4: Herman - NM Shankland
I think this time control works well for Shankland, he's capable of putting his opponents under pressure without suffering from the lack of time. As long as Shankland is well prepared I expect he'll have good chances, but Herman has also been tough, I'll rule this one a toss-up.

Okay, so we'll assume somehow NY gets their best possible result:
San Francisco over NY 3-1.

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