Monday, October 30, 2006

USCL Week 10 predictions

Philadelphia Masterminds vs New York Knights
Unfortunately for this hot playoff race in the east Jan Ehlvest is unavailable it seems for Philly this week so it looks like they'll be in a tough position trying to get that final playoff spot with their late season rally. I definitely would rule them out just because of their rating trouble, they have dangerous players on their bottom 2 boards and a very solid player on board 2. Still I think New York has a solid edge on boards 1 and 2 and probably board 3 is a close one. My prediction gives New York the edge.
New York over Philadelphia 2.5-1.5

Baltimore Kingfishers vs Boston Blitz
This is an interesting situation, Baltimore still needs to defend their season to make the playoffs in their own control whereas Boston is sending out a lineup without a GM for the first time I can remember this season. On board 1 Baltimore should have a slight edge, but i wouldn't oversell the title. On board 2 it should be a fairly close game, Kelleher looked strong last week, but Enkhbat would be in MVP contention had he actually been playing this season. On board 3 Kaufman should have a pretty good edge over Riordan, but on board 4 I think I would pick Martirosov over the struggling Rohonyan.
Baltimore over Boston 2.5-1.5

Carolina Cobras vs Tennessee Tempo
Likely Carolina's playoff destiny will not be in their own hands, but if they want to give themselves real chances they have to win this one big and as they've been struggling all season I'm sure they're looking to give themselves every chance to make it. The lineup Carolina is bringing out tihs week looks like it should give them a chance to win on all 4 boards, but don't expect Tennessee to lay down after being excited after their first ever USCL victory. Still, I expect Carolina to take this match by a solid margin.
Carolina over Tennessee 3.5-0.5

San Francisco Mechanics vs Miami Sharks
San Francisco pulled a huge win last week to clinch the division over the division-rival sluggers and this week they're giving a few of their regular guns a rest (they'll also have week 1 in the playoffs off). For Miami however they can't hold back anything in this match. Dallas has a tough match against Seattle, but due to tie-break issues Miami MUST WIN this match in order to advance to the playoffs and they need Dallas to lose to Seattle. I expect Becerra to come out firing with black, but McCambridge has been really tough to beat in the USCL, especially this season. I think Becerra has the edge, but I wouldn't be surprised to see McCambridge put him away in the clean style we've seen from him earlier this season. On board 2 Zilberstein is seeing some time higher in the lineup than he's used to and he's looking at some tough competition so I'll have to give Lugo a slight edge with the white pieces. On board three Mark Pinto, another "Trusty Trustee" as Donaldson put it, is playign against NM Espino, but mark has the white pieces and has been deadly even in his 2 games as black this year, I expect Pinto to show up ready to do some damage, I'd give him the slight edge. On board 4 Sam Shankland faces off against Luis Barredo, on paper he's the lower-rated player, but only due to some old supplements used for the US Chess League to help teams set lineups, I expect Sam will be eager to show his form and I give him the edge here even with the black pieces. Overall I think it will be a close match that could easily go all 3 ways, but I think there's a lot more danger on the Mechanics side as Miami has a lot more to fear in this match. I'd say all 3 results are about equal so I'll be nice to the official USCL prognosticators and pick the relatively dangerous draw. (I can predict Mechanics to not win when all they have to protect right now is an undefeated season)
Mechanics tie Sharks 2-2

Dallas Destiny vs Seattle Sluggers
Seattle doesn't have too much they can gain from this match other than getting to pick their colors in the finals under some rare scenarios, but they're still bringing out one of their tougher lineups for the final week proving they really are playing to win every week. Also I doubt they want to go into the playoffs with consecutive losses. Still it might not be unreasonable not to give away too much against Dallas, if Seattle loses this week they'll likely see the same lineup in week 1 of the playoffs. On board one Stopa faces off against Serper, I think Serper should have an edge even with black, but definitely wouldn't rule Stopa out, he's been solid for Dallas all season. On board 2 Vavrak, who according the USCL page, is undefeated in 2 seasons of play and holds a perfect record this season faces off against Mikhailuk. Vavrak has black, but has been incredibly dangerous so far in the USCL so I have to give him the edge on board 2. On board 3 Zaremba faces Milat, it's a pretty close pairing, but I think Zaremba should have a slight edge as white. On board 4 Kiewra faces Koons in a battle of relatively young masters. This match has huge playoff implications in some sense for both teams, Seattle looking not to give up any psychological edge and Dallas wanting to score to make the playoffs. A draw would suit both teams quite nicely, clinching a playoff spot for Dallas and proving Seattle can do what it takes to move onto the Division Championship next week. I expect no love lost in the match.
Dallas ties Seattle 2-2

NY over Phi 2.5-1.5
Bal over Bos 2.5-1.5
Car over Ten 3.5-0.5
SF tie Mia 2-2
Dal tie Sea 2-2

JJ Dolan Memorial

So I had an interesting tournament in this g/45 event. I was definitely not adequately considering my opponents moves in all games which is why I blundered material in 3 different games, luckily I was playing down far enough that I had chances to recover except in my 4th round game against De Guzman where I actually missed a chance to continue, but still in serious trouble. Just a sign I need to slow down when thinking about my moves and also work on my tactics some more. My 3rd round game against an opponent who will remain nameless I managed to win an exchange with a nice opening novelty that Donaldson and I discovered during a lesson and he had negative compensation, but I played a few bad moves and then a terrible move which allowed my queen to get trapped. I was forced to sacrifice the queen and I had just a rook and 2 pawns for the queen, but some very light threats that could be stopped right away which my opponent managed not to do and instead opted for "safer" moves which kept threats for me, but to be fair was still completely winning for him, but I had continual mating threats and finally he made some mistakes and was in serious trouble and lost in short order, was one of my favorite re-swindles ever.

Estimated rating change: 2121->2130
A decent rating recover, time to continue hard work and not depending on incredible luck.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mechanics Clinch!

The San Francisco Mechanics clinched with a 2.5-1.5 victory over the Seattle Sluggers. There were quite a few interesting games, Zilberstein was likely losing his game for a while, but then got down into a 4v3 rook ending that really should have been lost, but gave drawing chances and honestly considering the situation with just 30 seconds per move he defended spectacularly for a draw. IM Bhat won a nice game to end IM Orlov's undefeated status in a very complicated game. On board 4 NM Shankland got revenge against the Slugger's Michael Lee in a Chinese Dragon. So what happened on board 1? Well, at a quick glance it would appear that Serper won fairly smoothly after getting a slight edge from the opening where he had a nagging endgame advantage. Well, it's kind of hard to agree with you when in fact, amazingly he was losing for one move. The following is the position after white's 29th move, he played Kc3-d4:
Position after 29. Kd4??

Here, believe it or not, black is completely winning with the move 29... b6!! it makes sense when you see that it's tactically justified, but it's really hard to believe such a move exists and in fact wins! Check out the variations below:

29...b6!! 30.Kc3 a) 30.e3 Be5#; b) 30.h4 Be5+ 31.Ke3 Bc3 32.f3[] Nd5+ 33.Kf2 e3+ 34.Kf1 gxh4 35.gxh4 Bb2-+; c) 30.g4+ hxg4 31.hxg4+ Kxg4! (31...Kf4?? 32.e3+[] Kxg4[] 33.Bxe4[] Nxe4[] 34.Kxe4[] Bc7[] 35.f4[] Kh5!? 36.fxg5 Kxg5 37.Bxb6! and draw) 32.Bxe4[] (32.Bxb6 e5+ 33.Kc3 Nd5+) 32...Nxe4 33.Kxe4 Bc7 34.e3 Kh3 35.Kd3 g4 36.Ke2 Kg2 37.e4 e5 38.Ke1 Kf3-+; d) 30.Bxb6 e5+ 31.Kc3 Nd5+-+; 30...Nd5+ 31.Kb3 Bc7 in most non-critical lines black just worms his king back go b7 32.e3 Ne7 33.Bf1 Nc8 34.Bxb6 Nxb6 35.Bxb5 Nd5-+ for example 36.Be8 g4 37.h4 Nxe3 38.fxe3 Bxg3

Instead in the game Friedel played 29... e5, certainly it's impossible to blame him for missing this move with a couple of minutes on his clock, but I can't imagine being white in this position, playing the reasonable looking Kd4 and suddenly seeing b6 on the board in utter shock to find out I was losing! An interesting missed opportunity. My congrats to the Mechanics on their victory and clinching a first week playoff bye and draw odds in the division championship. What a victory and what great Monday Night Chess, truly what Shahade was hoping for when he added this feature in season 2 of the US Chess League.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rest of Week 9 USCL Predictions

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

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Week 9 Monday Night Predictions

This is the last and probably the most exciting Monday night match of the season. This week we have:
Seattle Sluggers vs San Francisco Mechanics
On board 1 there is the rematch of two weeks ago when Friedel defeated Serper. This week Serper takes the white pieces where he can be a really tough opponent. I'm guessing a benko from Friedel based on a few games where Serper has mostly avoided it. Still I think Serper has a moderate edge in this matchup, hopefully Friedel will prove me wrong. On board 2 the game is Bhat - Orlov. This game was touted on the USCL site as a matchup between two players undefeated in US Chess League history. Orlov sports a 2-0-0 record against some tough opposition while Bhat is 3-0-3 against strong opposition. Who will win? Well, I can't say for sure, but I think with the white pieces Bhat should hold a slight to solid edge since he has only failed to win as white once against the especially tough GM Becerra. On board 3 the game is Readey-Zilberstein should be another close matchup. Zilberstein should have a slight edge, but this game has a real 3 result possibility. On board 4 we have a rematch of 2 weeks ago where Shankland made one mis-step in the middlegame and then was suffering. With white this seems less likely to happen and I think he's ready to show his class, especially with the white pieces. I give a moderate edge to Shankland. Overally I think this match will be very close, all kinds of things can happen, but I think San Francisco is more likely to break through.
San Francisco over Seattle 2.5-1.5

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Week 8 Prediction Results

Phi over Car
Arun/JG +3

NY tie BOS
Arun +3
JG +0

Dal over Bal
Arun/ JG +0

SF over Tenn
JG +4
Arun +2

Sea over Miami
Arun +3
JG +0

This week:
Arun +11
JG +7

JG: 64 points
Arun: 49 points

[Update: I'll trust the official site since despite my math skills I am completley unable to do simple arithmetic. Damn all this math with no numbers.
The totals from the official site are:
Arun: 46 points
Ron: 42 points

If anybody finds an error in the addition of my points (preferably that brings it higher), let me know.]

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rest of Week 8 Predictions:

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

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monday Night Prediction: Week 8

Philadelphia Masterminds vs Carolina Cobras:
This matchup is a repeat of the one from 2 weeks ago with the debut of GM Jaan Ehlvest. This time he faces Milman with the white pieces which likely is better for Carolina as this means they get white on boards where the matchup is closer. I think both white's have a slight edge on boards 2 and 3, but nothing too significant and I think it'll really come down to the story on board 3. Michael Shahade has been solid for the Masterminds so far this season and if he continues this Philly shouldn't have much problem winning the match.
Philadelphia over Carolina 2.5-1.5

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Results: Week 7 Predictions

I think I've caught whatever disease the official prognosticators have as I went only 1/5 this week picking a 5-1 team over a 0.5-5.5 team. However, picking the correct score in this matchup did help.

Miami over Dallas 2.5-1.5
Carolina over New York 2.5-1.5
Baltimore ties Philadelphia 2-2
Boston over Tennessee 3.5-0.5
San Francisco ties Seattle 2-2

This Week:
Ron +5
JG +4
Arun +2

Nailing the Tennessee/Boston match sure helped me.

1st: JG (a.k.a. "Mystery Blog Guy") 57 points
2nd: Arun 38 points
3rd: Ron 34 points

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rest of Week 7 Predictions

Rest of Week 7 Predictions:

New York Knights vs Carolina Cobras:
This should be an interesting matchup. The Cobras have been struggling this season and really need to make a late push if they want a hope of getting a playoff spot. On board 1 Charbonneau has white against Milman, the last time these two matched up it was a disgusting slaughter by Charbonneau, this time he gets the white pieces, but sometimes it can be a little easier to prepare as black, still I must give the edge to Charbonneau here. Hoekstra-Krush on board 2 probably favors the more experienced Krush, but not by too much. On board 3 we have Bonin-Zaikov where I think it's close to a wash, Zaikov started hot, but got cooled by Philly last week, but as a whole the team did well to hold against Philadelphia. On 4th board again I think the slight edge goes to New York in Jones-Shahade. I think the key board in this match will likely be board 1. I think if Charbonneau wins, the match will almost certainly belong to New York.
New York over Carolina 3-1

Baltimore Kingfishers vs Philadelphia Masterminds
Again Jan Ehlvest is in the lineup which makes Philadephia a dangerous team. He's a very tricky player and can definitely put up the point as black. Baltimore was a team that Philly managed to beat even without Ehlvest and I'm personally of the opinion that they get good "rating-value" out of Costigan on board 3, but I think the match will be relatively close.
Philly over Baltimore 2.5-1.5

Tennessee Tempo vs Boston Blitz
Tennessee has had a tough season so far, meanwhile Boston doesn't seem to be holding too much back inthis week's lineup, things could really get ugly if Tennessee doesn't score some upsets. Boston looks to clinch or almost-clinch a playoff spot this week. I'm expecting a route here especially with the way Tennessee has shown their ability to collapse. Some of the Boston fans seemed to be upset with me picking them to lose this week, so I'll do them a favor this one...
Boston over Tennessee 3.5 - 0.5

San Francisco Mechanics vs Seattle Sluggers
Probably one of the most anticipated matches this season. The only undefeated team left in the league goes up against a tough Seattle team led by GM Serper. Friedel has the white pieces this week, but Serper knows his systems well, I think this will be a close encounter with all 3 results possible. Board 2 features Tangborn - Bhat. Tangborn has been featuring the English so far this season, but Bhat seems to know his defenses as black quite well, I think this one is probably also a wash, but if anyone has a slight edge I think it's Bhat. Board 3 is Pruess - Mikhailuk, I only recently met Pruess, but I can tell you he is unhappy with anything less than a win no matter who his opponent is, but his opponent this week is a tough one in FM Mikhailuk, but I think the edge has to go to Pruess when he's holding the white pieces. On board 4 we have a youngster matchup in Lee - Shankland. Shankland is a fighting player, but Lee has been a tough nut to crack this season. I think Shankland will come out with something to prove and the edge has to go to him with his killer instinct and higher rating.
San Francisco over Seattle 2.5-1.5

[Update: Mikhailuk is moving up to Board 2 and Readey is on Board 3, I think this makes San Francisco a lot more solid in my prediction likely wavering between 2.5 and 3 instead of 2.5 and 2, so I'm updating my pick for San Francisco to win 3-1]

Dal over Mia 2.5-1.5 (already wrong)
NY over Car 3-1
Phi over Bal 2.5-1.5
Bos over Tenn 3.5-0.5
SF over Sea 2.5-1.5 [Updated SF over Sea 3-1 due to changed Sea roster]

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Week 7 Monday Night Predictions

Miami Sharks vs Dallas Destiny

We have an interesting matchup this week for monday night between 2 teams vying for that 3rd and final playoff spot. On Board 1 we have experienced GM Becerra against a younger GM in Panchanathan, but with Becerra having the white pieces and being the stronger player, definitely a slight edge to Becerra this week. On board 2 the tides are turned with Dallas having an edge in rating and the white pieces. Board 3 is a little tighter, probably a slight edge to Dallas with Marcel being on a bit of a losing streak (my sympathies after Reno) and likely board 4 is similar news. Overall I give the edge to Dallas.
Dallas over Miami 2.5-1.5

Reno Results

I played Serper in round 1, got a promising position, but went astray near time control and my position was toast. The rest of the tournament was a disaster, I probably lost over 20 points in 5 rounds, managing draws in 3 of the remaining 4 games while playing down in 3 of them. Oh well, lightning stikes twice in the open section and I have plenty to work on.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Week 6 prediction results

Week 6 results:

San Francisco over New York 2.5-1.5
Carolina ties Philly 2-2
Baltimore over Boston 2.5-1.5
Dallas over Tennessee 3-1
Seattle over Miami 3.5-0.5

Even after Boston's loss, they still have a 2 point lead in the east with only 4 matches left, shouldn't be too much of a struggle to hold it. In the west however, things are much closer. The Sluggers trail the Mechanics by only half a point and the two west-coast rivals face off next week for their first match of the season. Likely the winner of the season-series with current draw odds to San Francisco will take the division and get the first round bye plus draw odds in the division championship match. Neither team is in real jeopardy of missing the playoffs with the closest trailers being at 2.5-3.5 and facing eachother next week. If you live in the San Francisco area I would highly recommend coming down to the mechanics institute next wednesday and checking out the delayed commentary by GM Yermolinsky and watch one of the most important matches this season.

And the game by game scores:

San Francisco over New York 2.5-1.5
JG +3
Arun/Ron +0

Carolina ties Philly 2-2
All +0

Baltimore over Boston 2.5-1.5
JG/Arun +3
Ron +0

Dallas over Tennessee 3-1
JG/Arun +4
Ron +2

Seattle over Miami 3.5-0.5
All +0

This weeks scores:
JG +10
Arun +7
Ron +2

1st: JG (a.k.a. "Mystery Blog Guy") 53 points
2nd: Arun 36 points
3rd: Ron 29

So I'm almost a perfect week (that is picking five 3-1 victories all correctly in a week for 20 points) ahead of Arun who gained a solid lead of Ron. Arun did wisely this week to mimic some of my more controversial picks although I think I had a few too many this week. I started off trying to pick Miami over Seattle and I was figuring out exactly how this would happen, couldn't really figure it out so I then picked tie, but probably the fact that I couldn't figure out how Miami wins should have set off warning bells. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Week 7 Tuesday Night Marathon Game

Well, I continued my winning ways this week. My opponent played a dubious move in the opening and he soon found his knight trapped. Second week in a row I was up a piece by move 20, this time my opponent played on, I will say my technique was not optimal, but I don't think the win was every in question. This puts me at 6.5/7 for a full point lead on the field going into the last round. I will likely face a weak expert or A player in the last round and I have the white pieces so the situation is definitely good. I would like to win the game anyways, but I won't be doing anything too stupid hopefully. I leave for Reno on Thursday night to play in the Western States Open so hopefully I can continue my winning ways in the open section there, if not, at least it will be good experience.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rest of Week 6 Predictions

Rest of Week 6 Predictions:

(Note: I have a feeling I'm getting too confident in my predictions, but I think my predictions seem to have a bigger effect on the outcome than the outcome on my predictions.)

Carolina Cobras vs Philadelphia Masterminds
Jan Ehlvest makes his debut in the US Chess League this week after much anticipation enabling Philly to send out by far their strongest lineup this season. The undefeated Boston got lucky by getting out both matchups against Philly out of the way in the first half of the season, however what Ehlvest really brings to the team is enabling them to put strong players on the lower boards and have a 2400+ lineup (because Ehlvest only counts as 2590 for the team despite his 2665 rating). However, I wouldn't rule Milman out this week entirely on board 1, he's a tough fighter and is probably looking to improve his results, particularly when he's getting the white pieces this week. With Philly's solid players below I have to give them the nod this week even with Zaikov back in the lineup.
Philly over Carolina 2.5-1.5

Boston Blitz vs Baltimore Kingfishers
Boston has the only perfect score (but not the only undefeated score) left in the league, but Baltimore is certainly looking to end this claim altogether this week sending out a power-punched lineup unlike the ridiculous thing the sent out last week. Christiansen likely has the nod over Blehm this week, but there are many close matchups. I think the problem for the Blitz might be their board 4 star this year Krasik is running into WGM Rohonyan who while being only rated 2260 USCF holds a fide of 2354. I think it'll be a tough match this week, but I give a slight edge to Baltimore. Maybe I'll just prove that I didn't do my sanity check before making this move.
Baltimore over Boston 2.5-1.5

Tennessee Tempo vs Dallas Destiny
Dallas holds the honor of being the only team to give up any match points to Tennessee, however I don't think they're quite ready to repeat this feat. I would give Dallas a slight edge on boards 1 and 3 and a big edge on board 2, board 3 is a tossup, but at the same time Tennessee is becoming famous for their collapses. Dallas isn't sending out their strongest lineup this week, but it still should be plenty to win.
Dallas over Tennessee 3-1

Seattle Sluggers vs Miami Sharks
Seattle suffered their first loss of the season last Monday after various close calls, thsi week they go up against a cruising Miami team that hasn't lost in 3 weeks. There are relatively tight matchups on all 5 boards of this match, but I have a feeling Ballard did more to create some unwanted looseness in his team than fight by blaming the internet connection (regardless of its responsibility) for the failures during the match. However, both teams are sending out strong lineups this week and I think the "events" will balance themselves out.
Seattle TIES Miami 2-2

SF over NY 2.5-1.5
Phi over Car 2.5-1.5
Bal over Bos 2.5-1.5
Dal over Tenn 3-1
Sea tie Mia 2-2