Saturday, September 30, 2006

Week 6 Monday Night Prediction

San Francisco Mechanics vs New York Knights

This is probably one of the most exciting Monday Night Matchups of the season. Two chess powerhouse cities face of in San Francisco vs New York. On board one we have Friedel - Charbonneau, Friedel is a really tough player to face, particularly when he has the white pieces. So far this season Charbonneau has whipped out the Classical Sicilian and the Dragon Sicilian, both of which seems suicidal to play against Friedel, I don't know what Charbonneau's going to try, but he'll be uncomfortable or in trouble likely, I give a big edge to Friedel here. On board 2 we have Krush - Bhat, Bhat had some nice preparation in week 1, but he holds the black pieces this week. Bhat is a solid player with excellent preparation, I don't know what we'll see this week, Krush can definitely fire with both guns, but I think all three results are possible. Board 3 we have Pruess- Molner, this has got to be a huge edge for the Mechanics with the rating edge and white. Board for we have Priman - Pinto, New York has the white pieces and the rating edge, but Pinto looked impressive in his debut this season and is undefeated in the league, the edge has to go to New York but don't rule anything out. I think the color matchups work out well for San Francisco this week and I particularly like the board 1 matchup for them, my prediction:
SF over NY 2.5-1.5

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Week 5 Prediction Results

Week 5 Results:
NY over SEA 3-1
Bos over Car 3-1
Phi over Bal 2.5-1.5
Dal TIE Miami
SF over Tennessee 3-1

JG +2
Arun +2
Ron +0

Car vs Bos
+4 JG/Arun
+2 Ron

Phi vs Bal
+2 JG
+0 Ron/Arun

Dal vs Mia
+3 JG
+0 Ron/Arun

SF vs Tenn
+4 All

That's right, for those of you not paying attention, I picked ALL 5 RESULTS!!!!!

So this weeks totals are:
JG +15
Arun +10
Ron +6

1st: Josh 43 points
2nd: Arun 29 points
3rd: Ron 27 points (Thanks for the correction, so much for Caltech graduates being able to add)

It's a good thing that they're official, otherwise they'd look pretty terrible right now.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If you want to join them, beat them

Okay, this is probably a less well known version of that famous saying. For the second week in a row I defeated a master in the Tuesday Night Marathon at Mechanics Institute. This time I beat my 25.5 move win last week with 16.5 move win this week, that's some efficient disposal of masters. Considering in the FIDE rated tournament I played recently in I had a few wins over 70 moves, this is a nice change of pace. I actually spotted a reasonably nice tactical justification (which my opponent blundered into) for a positional move I wanted to play that won the game for me (even he my opponent didn't blunder, my position was quite good). So even with my mixed results lately I still manage to put together some reasonable results. I need to start drilling my tactics more though as I've missed some pathetically easy stuff (even if I found a decent shot today).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rest of week 5 predictions

The rest of the week 5 predictions

Carolina Cobras v Boston Blitz:
Boston sending out what is probably their premier line-up and Carolina without Zaikov who is the current leader in the MVP races and is 4-0 so far in the league. Maybe it's specific preparation, but this doesn't seem to be their strongest lineup. I would definitely favor Boston.
Boston over Carolina 3-1

Philadelphia Masterminds v Baltimore Kingfishers
Philly has looked better and better each week and all without the return of their future board 1 star GM Jan Ehlvest who is in Europe for the first half of the season and still Baltimore has the nerve to send out a weakened line-up? Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Philly is looking GREAT this week. Please note that while they currently stand 0-4, they have scored exactly 1.5-2.5 every week, even against much stronger lineups.
Philly over Baltimore 3-1

Dallas Destiny v Miami Sharks:
Miami sending out the same line-up again which has done well for them in the league lately. I think these teams are a pretty close matchup in general, but I think Dallas will hurt missing out on GM Panchanthan on board one. However, Dallas' top few boards in this lineup are underrated I think due to having few USCF rated events, I think this tandem of Eastern European last names will serve them well. I think overall the balance is there, but certainly all 3 results are possible.
Dallas ties Miami 2-2

San Francisco v Tennessee Tempo:
San Francisco sending out a strong line-up this week giving Zilberstein a much needed week's rest after having consecutive weeks of tough games which lets them bring Pruess down to board 3 and the tough Naroditsky on board 4 to wrap up the lineup. Tennessee has grown more solid over the season (kind of) but somehow managed to turn what could have been a tie against Seattle last week into a 3.5-0.5 route which worked out well for my predictions not to do worse than the official prognosticators. Friedel finally gets white this week so I'm sure he's eager to show his attacking skill. I'll be modest in my predictions, but I'm hoping for a sweep anyways.
San Francisco over Tennessee 3-1

New York over Seattle 2.5-1.5
Boston over Carolina 3-1
Philly over Baltimore 3-1
Miami ties Dallas 2-2
San Francisco over Tennessee 3-1

East Bay Chess Club September Swiss

So this tournament started out as an absolute disaster for me. I was playing down roughly 300 points in round one and after having a much better position from the opening I was lucky not to lose, but I could not find a reasonable way of playing on down the exchange so I took the perpetual and drew. In round 2 I played this kid (who had an excellent result in the tournament) in a Najdorf. I got nothing from the opening (maybe less) and was fortunate he fell for a tactical trick where I won 2 pawns and a queen for a Bishop and Rook, unfortunately he had his own tactical tricks that I missed with his very active pieces and managed to simplify into a drawn same color bishop endgame (which he played the first few moves of quite well) which we drew shortly. Round 3 was another comedy, this one with a less tragic ending to it when I got a much better position right from the opening then my opponent "sacrificed" an exchange after which I missed a simple fork to win ANOTHER exchange, but it didn't matter much as I quickly won the technical position that arose, still not particularly promising that I went to sleep for the second game in a row once I had a winning position. Especially when it caused me to miss a tactic few 1200s would miss even 1 out of 20 games. The last round was bad in one glaring way, I failed to see a relatively simple tactic to win a WHOLE PIECE on move 14, I declined 2 separate draw offers during the game, the first in a complicated position where I was fairly convinced I wouldn't lose under normal circumstances, the second in a position where I already felt I was truly better and really from that point I felt I ground out a nice win. In the final position I'm up only a pawn but shredder showed an evaluation of -5 (I was black again) after thinking for a while even though there was no immediate win and the position involved paralysis which is one of my favorite chess themes to implement (probably too much). Anyways, somehow with my terrible play I managed to score an undefeated 3/4 and not lose too many rating points. My guess is I'll drop somewhere between 2-6 rating points for the tournament which considering my play I consider a tremendous success. I was particularly happy in my NOT TAKING DRAWS FROM BETTER POSITIONS, now I just need to do this against higher rated players.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monday Night Predictions: Week 5

Well, without time to leave more details: NY 2.5-1.5 (might be more wishful thinking).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

USCL Week 4 Predictions: Aftermath

Miami over Baltimore 2.5-1.5
Seattle over Tennessee 3.5-.5
SF TIE Dallas
Boston over Philly 2.5-1.5
NY over Carolina 2.5-1.5

Mia vs Bal 2.5-1.5
JG +3
Ron/Arun +0

Sea vs Tenn 3.5-0.5
All +2

Dal vs SF 2 - 2
Arun +3
Ron/JG +0

Bos vs Phi 2.5-1.5
All +3

NY v Car
Ron +3
Arun +2
JG +0

Arun +10
Ron +8
JG +8

1st: Josh 28 points
2nd: Ron 21 points
3rd: Arun 19 points

They're chipping away at my lead. I still hold I got unlucky as SF looked in good shape all match, unfortunately they had to scrape out a draw at the end. I also don't understand Milman's collapse, but I won't complain about that one as Zaikov played 1. a3 and got the totally busted position he deserved for such a move but somehow found a way to win it to move to 4-0 and top the MVP leaderboard. Maybe he was hoping that if he played 1. a3 he'd get the bonus point for being black in a win or draw, no such luck.

Cat and Mouse Game (TNM round 5)

So the Sveshinkov was an opening I feared facing as the ideas can be farely subtle and it's not easy for white to get an advantage at all. Players such as myself feared facing it enough that attempts such as 3. Bb5 and 3. Nc3 had become more popular. I recently played 3. Bb5 in a game trying to avoid the Sveshnikov (although I realized it was probably a bad decision to trade one line I didn't understand for another line I didn't understand). But for this week's Tuesday Night Marathon game I decided I would spend some time studying ideas in the Sveshnikov. Overall I was quite satisfied with the work I had done and was eager to take another crack at the Sveshnikov. However! I arrived at the board on Tuesday, sat across from WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and played 1. e4, and she somewhat surprised me with her response: 1..e5 . I can't say I was completley shocked, I have learned through experience that when you prepare a line, not only is it possible you won't face that variation, it's possible things will deviate much, much earlier. I remember one time preparing a line of the french for a game against my friend only to see 1. c4 on the first move.

So anyways I continued 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5! the first time I have played this move in over 2 years (I was U1600 the last time). 3..a6 and now I had a real decision to make. I had tossed around the idea of playing the exchange variation for a while as I think it kind of fits my style, but after doing some analysis, I wasn't completley happy with whites positions and I had thought I should abandon this for Ba4, however, I also realized here that my opponent probably had studied the main lines first (logically) and might not have gotten to the sidelines yet as she has not played 1..e5 in any recent tournament so I played 4. Bxc6!? and after about a minute, I realized that this was a great decision as she was still thinking, after about a 5 minute think she played bxc6 which is a slightly dubious move, but possibly trying to avoid my preparation. Anyways, it's curious how many decisions in this game in the first 4 moves alone were made that were not necessarily objective decisions, but instead practical decisions. Normally I try to avoid making "practical" decisions this early in the game, but it was interesting really knowing all this was happening at the board. 1.. e5, 3. Bb5 4. Bxc6 and 4.. bxc6 I would say were all "moments" during the game.

I did go on and win a spectacular (but flawed) attacking game after missing a knockout fairly early in the game. Oh well, such is chess, not all games will be perfect, but my goal is to just make fewer mistakes which I don't think I made too many of this game.

Monday, September 18, 2006

"16. Bf5 is the move of the week"

- FM Robert Hess commenting on the Becerra-Blehm game from this weeks Monday Night US Chess League matchup. We'll have to wait and see if he's correct as I've decided upon his inspiration to have my own US Chess League featured move of the week. Hopefully I can keep this exciting and it'll give me something to look forward to if nothing else every week in the US Chess League.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

US Chess League Week 4 Predictions

The link above links to this weeks lineups. So here are my predictions:

Miami Sharks vs. Baltimore Kingfishers:
The Monday night matchup this week features a rematch of last year's championshp. Miami has the rating edge and the white pieces on boards 1 and 3 which should promise a solid result there and on boards 2 and 4 things are less clear. Probably Baltimore is favored on board 4, but I think things will be much closer on board 3. I think Miami definitely has the edge this week looking to make up for their slow start.
Prediction: Miami wins 2.5-1.5

Seattle Sluggers vs. Tennessee Tempo
This is a rematch of the week one route where Tennessee never seemed to get out of the starting block. I think Seattle once again has a big edge this week, but I think Tennessee is going to make a much better showing with reasonably competative matchups on all 4 boards.
Seattle wins 2.5-1.5

Dallas Destiny vs San Francisco
Another rematch of a week one division rivalry matchup. Dallas is sending out a strong lineup hoping to make up ground from their slow start. IM Friedel has the honor of taking on the black pieces on board 1 for the 3rd week in a row, but I think I will ignore rating and go with my completely unbiased opinion that San Francisco is untouchable. In fact, I think this match could certainly get ugly and San Francisco is capable of scoring on all boards.
San Francisco wins 3-1

Boston Blitz vs Philadelphia Masterminds
Perelshteyn heads a strong Boston lineup this week, but I think Philly will be surprisingly competative this week. I've been quite impressed by the play of quite a few of their players so far in the league. I'm also wondering if their first board this week was brought up as a Perelshteyn stopper. Either way, I think Boston is looking strong and I think they're favored in this match.
Boston wins 2.5-1.5

Carolina Cobras vs New York Knights
I'm going to call this the matchup of the week. Carolina coming off their first win after a slow start, New York Knights probably fuming after their crushing loss to division and classic rivals in the Boston Blitz. Unfortunatley for New York Carolina gets to grab white in the two closest matchups of the week. I'm predicting a 2.5-1.5 victory for Carolina.
Carolina wins 2.5-1.5

Mia over Bal 2.5-1.5
Sea over Tenn 2.5-1.5
SF over Dal 3-1
Bos over Phi 2.5-1.5
Car over NY 2.5-1.5

Tuesday Night Marathon Halfway update

After 4 rounds out of 8 of the Mechanics Institute Tuesday Night Marathon I'm in a 6-way tie for 1st place with 3.5/4 after a draw against FM Frank Thornally in round 4. I can't say I've been too happy with my play, I got a nice advantage out of the opening in round 4 and was unable to figure out a proper continuation from a tricky position. In round 3 I was busted in a position where I missed that my opponent could force me to sacrifice a piece for 3 pawns but then swindled out the win in an endgame where I still had the 3 pawns for the bishop.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Week 3 Prediction /Results

This weeks results (winner)
Bos v NY 3-1 (BOS)
Car v Bal 2.5-1.5 (CAR)
Mia v Tenn 3.5-.5 (MIA)
SF v Phi 2.5-1.5 (SF)
Sea v Dal 2.5-1.5 (SEA)

Bos v NY +2
Car v Bal +3
Mia v Tenn +2
SF v Phi +2
Sea v Dal +0

Bos v NY +0
Car v Bal +0
Mia v Tenn +2
SF v Phi +2
Sea v Dal +2

Bos v NY +2
Car v Bal +0
Mia v Tenn +2
SF v Phi +3
Sea v Dal +3

So Ron won this week, but the overall standings are now:
1st: Josh 20 points
2nd: Ron 13 points
3rd: Arun 9 points

Okay, so I'm no longer better than both of them combined, but they also didn't both go 1/5 this week it was going to be hard to continue. For now I still have a sizeable lead. I still don't think my predictions were terrible, in fact, I don't think I would've changed going back, well, maybe I'll have a perfect week eventually.

Almost, Almost Famous

You've heard the great news I see... I'm almost famous, almost. So I was reading some USCL news and I saw they linked to a post from the Boylston Chess Club Weblog which mentioned my powers of ESP... N-like predictions. Now if only they would just let me post straight on the USChessLeague site, then maybe I'd really be almost famous, for now I'll have to settle being where I am. Maybe my opportunity is not so far as I logged onto ICC the other day only to see "curtains" had put me on his notify list (For those of you who don't know, curtains is USCL commissioner IM Greg Shahade), but then it seems he removed me from his list without any comment. Oh well, my regular readers (Do you exist??) know that this is the only place worth coming to for US Chess League predictions, I encourage you all to check out tonight's US Chess League games and support the league.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rest of US Chess League Predictions for 9/10

So, as a review, I predicted in my last post Boston over New York 2.5-1.5.

Now that the lineups for the other 4 matchups are online at the US Chess League website I will give the rest of my predictions with a little more inside view of my predictions.

Baltimore vs Carolina
It's feeling tough to go against Baltimore after they whooped on NY 3.5-.5 in their last week's match, but they walk out this weak with a weaker lineup. In the meantime maybe going to class is getting away in the performances on the top 3 boards for the Cobras, but I'm still going to give the edge to carolina who should be able to use the rating advantage to negate some of the unfavorable color splits that are lined up.
Carolina over Baltimore 2.5-1.5

Tennessee Tempo vs Miami Sharks
Tennessee, despite its 75 point team ratind disadvantage manages to outrate their opponents on 1 board. I'm sure Burnett could have good chances to draw Becerra on board 1 if htat was his goal, but since match points are what counts on this league my guess is he's going to push hard. White on boards 2 and 4 should work well along with their rating edge there for Miami.
Miami over Tennesee 3-1

Philadelphia Masterminds vs San Francisco Mechanics
I really like this matchup for San Francisco this week. Friedel is quite capable of defeating his lower rated opponent as black and there are also big edges for the mechanics on boards 2 and 3, board three is a much closer matchup that it would appear on paper. I know first hand that Naroditsky is a tough opponent with white. Obviously things happen over the course of a match and I'm not going to say mechanics win on all boards by any stretch. My guess is things average out a little, but don't ask me on which boards.
San Francisco over Philadelphia 3-1

Seattle Sluggers vs Dallas Destiny
Well, Serper is definitely going to have a huge edge in experience, rating, and also with the white pieces on board 1. Tangborn gets to face off against the Destiny's newest player in what I would consider to be an unfavorable matchup for him. Seattle also has a solid edge on board 3, but I'm not sure if Seattle will have the matchups to allow them to break through overall.
Seattle TIES Dallas 2-2

So as a recap for Week 3 in the USCL, my predictions are:
Bos over NY 2.5 -1.5
Car over Bal 2.5-1.5
Mia over Tenn 3-1
SF over Phi 3-1
Sea TIE Dal 2-2

I'll let you know how I do.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Monday Night.... Chess

So I must continue my impecable record for predictions. The line-ups for the Wednesday matchups are not online yet, but the Monday matchup seeds Boston against New York, truly an epic rivalry through many sports. Boston has a top-heavy line-up this week and for some reason the pundits see this as a big opportunity for Boston, but I'm a little more concerned with the rating differential on the bottom two boards. I'd say the chances of Boston breaking through on the bottom 2 boards are probably a little better than the chances of New York breaking through on the top 2 boards. I'm going to predict a 2.5-1.5 Boston victory like the pundits, but I won't be too surprised by a tie, what can I do, I must predict one result.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I out-predict the pros

So for those of you too lazy to click on the like above, here were the results:

1. Philadelphia Masterminds vs Boston Blitz Boston 2.5-1.5
2. Baltimore Kingfishers vs New York Knights Baltimore 3.5-1.5
3. Dallas Destiny vs Tennessee Tempo TIE 2-2
4. Miami Sharks vs San Francisco Mechanics San Francisco 3-1
5. Seattle Sluggers vs Carolina Cobras Seattle 3-1

And if we go through and check the scoring we see the following:

Bos vs Phi
Arun +3
Ron +3
JG +2
Bal vs NY
All +0
Dal vs Tenn
JG +3
Arun/Ron +0
Mia vs SF
JG +4
Arun/Ron +0
Sea vs Car
JG +2
Arun/Ron +0

1st: JG 11 points
T2nd: Arun 3 points
T3rd: Ron 3 points

US Chess League Predictions

Check the link above to see some prediction race that a few US Chess League writers have been working on. If you're not familiar with the US Chess League you can check it out at .

Here are their predictions, and the scoring rules for the rest of the season, I am going to see if I can top them as we all know I'm a skilled fortune teller from my US Championship Coverage. (sarcasm)

Philadelphia vs Boston
Bos 2.5-1.5
Bos 2.5-1.5
Baltimore vs New York
NY 2.5-1.5
TIE 2-2
Dallas vs Tennessee
Ten 2.5-1.5
Ten 3-1
Miami vs San Francisco
Mia 2.5-1.5
Mia 2.5-1.5
Seattle vs Carolina
TIE 2-2
Car 2.5-1.5
Scoring works as follows:

Predictors get 2 points for each correct result (picking the correct winner or a tie)
Predictors get 1 bonus point for picking the correct score in 2.5-1.5 match or 2-2 tie
Predictors get 2 bonus points for picking the correct score in a 3-1 match (or 3.5-0.5/4-0)

So here are my predictions:
Bos over Phi 3-1
Dal tie Tenn 2-2
NY over Bal 2.5-0.5
SF over Mia 3-1
Sea over Car 2.5-1.5

Let's see if they can touch this!

Cal Chess Labor Day Championships

The result certainly wasn't great with 1.5/6 in the "master" section where I played 4 experts. I broke my new year's resolution of not accepting draws where only I was playing for a win where I took a draw thinking there was a perp for my opponent but in fact there is no perp and I'm winning. I played 4 experts who certainly did not play badly in our games and I had various interesting games. I lost many rating points, but I think the games will provide very interesting study material for myself. I also played my 3rd game in the ongoing Tuesday Night Marathon (TNM) at the mechanics institute where I pulled a swindle in a game where I was completely busted against an 1800, oh well, things like this happen, as long as I keep fighting, I'll give myself the most chances to recover. I have had a few nice swindles lately, unfortunately didn't manage to get any of those this weekend. Anyways, next week in the TNM I'll finally play up against a low master.

Rating change: 2137 -> 2116 :-(
Going to make my goals tougher.