Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bombino, Young Fathers and Fantastic Negrito at Central Park SummerStage on 7/25!

Yesterday I visited Central Park's SummerStage for a free Bombino/Young Fathers show. Fantastic Negrito was the opener. I could not help but reminisce of the last time I was at SummerStage for a Phil and Friends show in May of 2014.

Fantastic Negrito, an up and coming singer from Oakland, CA  was the first act. For the most part, his band was a good African style rock band. Their song "Night has Turned to Day" actually reminded me of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Similarly to how Sharon  Jones shared her experience of overcoming pancreatic cancer, Fantastic Negrito described how he woke up after a coma.  A few of the band's songs were unnecessarily too loud, but overall it was a great set. They'd be a welcome addition to a festival yesterday. At the end of the show, Fantastic Negrito shared how just one year ago he was playing for tips at Washington Park in Oakland (not to be confused for Washington Square Park in NY, as I was at first:), he was playing for a large crowd in Central Park on a double bill with Bombino. 

Fantastic Negrito's Guitarist:  I'm a sucker for Rickenbacker guitars 
Fantastic Negrito and I after his set! 

I honestly thought the second band Young Fathers was pretty lackluster. It is made up  of three singers and one drummer. I am not into hip-hop that much; however it wasn't just the genre. The band's volume was way too many octaves high for no reason.



with my chess friends Leif and Nathan (both Fide Masters) in between bands
.I haven't heard of Bombino before Summerstage announced its line up, but the fact that his biography mentioned Hendrix and Knopfler influences, I figured I'd check his band out!  With a style that bridged African music, jam bands and blues, his band far exceeded my expectations. Bombino started almost every song with a cool riff or solo.  


Bambino's back up guitarist pulled of some Derek Trucks slide solos! 

Bambino's bassist with pink strings! 

Bow after the encore! 

Photo op with Bombino after the show! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tedeschi Trucks with Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and Doyle Bramhall II Show Boston What's up!

On Wednesday, July 22nd I went with my friends Neil, Becky and Jon to see Tedeschi Trucks at Boston's Blue Hills Pavillion. I was excited as I have not seen the band since its two-night run at Boston's House of Blues last December. Meanwhile, I saw Derek Trucks as a guest for Clapton at Madison Square Garden in May, where they did a jammin' "Let it Rain". For those of you haven't been, definitely consider going to a show at the Blue Hills Pavillion. Definitely grab food and drinks beforehand as their food and liquor prices are even higher than other venues, but its a pleasant outdoor venue right on the Boston Harbor. Here's a picture of us in between sets:

You could see me wearing a shirt from Tedeschi Trucks' free show in Central Park in May. I actually couldn't make the show but one of my friends was nice enough to mail me it! 
Doyle Bramhall II kicked off the night's festivities. I was a little surprised as I didn't realize it was  double bill- Tedeschi Trucks and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, with Doyle being the opener. I expected Sharon Jones to open and Doyle be a guest. Havin been a relatively frequent guest for the Allman Brothers over the years, he's no stranger! The highlight of his set was a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Angel". 


Doyle Bramhall II on Guitar


Next up on the agenda was Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings' set. Midway through their set I remembered I saw them do a free show in Brooklyn a few years back. Sharon Jones is a wild funky vocalist who frequently dances on stage. My mind was all over the place thinking she was a mix of Angus Young with her frequent movement on stage and James Brown. She reminded me of seeing Lee Fields open up for Tedeschi Trucks the second show last December. I was startled when the band did a funky cover of "This Land is Your Land". To say the least, it was very different from the original song I used to frequently hear in elementary song. 



Tedeschi Trucks opened up with a number from its upcoming record, "The Letter", a John Cocker cover. The band then went into its last album's title track "Made up Mind", when Derek's infamous slide soloing kicked off. As the band does in almost every show, it played "Midnight in Harlem"; however, this time, there was a little twist with an extra long introduction.  Kofi Burbridge (for those of you that don't know, yes indeed Oteil Burbridge, The Allman Brothers bassist's brother) shined on flute during the Mountain Jamesque "Idle Wind", which lead into an extended drum solo. I experienced a flashback to The Rhythm Devils' drum solos back in Chicago. 

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and Doyle Bramhall II came back on stage for the two song encore, made up of "Tell Mama" and "Sing a Simple Song. It was a totally different funky type of band than your typical Tedeschi Trucks Band. 


Doyle and Derek 
This show conveyed how Tedeschi Trucks has truly become a top tier band over the last few years. It has come along way since I first saw the band at the NJ Performing Arts Center in early 2012. While you could see some Allman Brothers influence on the "Idle Wind" and "The Storm" jams, the band does not rest on anyone else's laurels. The band's performance Wednesday night emphasized how it could successfully play blues, rock and funk. Stay tuned for more Tedeschi Trucks reviews as the Beacon run in September!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead Shows!!



Prelude to Trip 

It's my first time writing in the blogosphere in two years. I have returned to share with you all my adventure to Chicago July 3rd to 6th for the three Fare the Well: 50 Years of the Grateful Dead shows! For the past year and half, the remaining Dead members have hinted towards something big for the 50th anniversary and in January the three Chicago shows were announced. Minutes after the announcement, which happened to be when I was in India, I messaged my concert partner-in-crime Neil that we were going and there was no refraining. The day after I returned to the U.S, I went to post office to send in our mail order for us, Neil's girlfriend Becky and a buddy we met at Peach Festival last year. Throughout February, we were stressed playing the waiting game. Every day I'd go home after work to check the mail, and message the crew that we were safe another day without a rejection letter. A month later, disaster struck as we saw the dreaded rejection letter. However, we got a true miracle when Becky got us tickets on Ticketmaster Day, February 28th. The stress wasn't over however, as hotel prices were through the roof. However, we luckily found a reasonably priced AirBNB near Wicker Park a few weeks later.

Dead Heads Takeover Chicago

After a two-night visit to a Brandeis friend's place in Indianapolis July 1-3, I was all set to go to Chicago.
Store in Fountain Square, Indianapolis 

At my friend Wei's Place before headed to the bus to Chicago!

I was planning on getting some sleep on the bus, but for better or worse, that was not meant to be! I ended up meeting two awesome Dead Heads on the bus and talking to them the majority of a time. When a non- Dead Head asked us what one of the most popular Dead songs, new buddy Greg disagreed with me that Casey Jones was one of the songs he would most likely know. 

As we arrived, us Dead Heads excitedly fist bumped and exchanged contact information. Dead Heads truly took over Chicago that weekend; you could not walk two blocks anywhere in the city without seeing at least one tie-die shirt. Many of the hotels, bars and restaurants displayed Grateful Dead pictures and special menus. I met several Dead Heads on the buses and trains around the city. 


Night 1: July 3rd 

Without further ado,  it's on to the music, as it has never stopped! After hanging out in the lot for a few hours, we went to our seats to see the show open with "Box of Rain". Trey Anastasio later lead vocals on "Bertha". It was  nice to see him highlighted in contrast to the Santa Clara shows where he didn't solo or sing nearly as much.  Bruce Hornsby than killed the vocals on Fire on the Mountain. Him being one of the only two out of six I've never seen live beforehand (along with Mickey Hart), I was impressed. With his piano playing and charismatic voice, he reminded me a lot of Steve Winwood. Bob Weir took out his acoustic guitar, one of two times the whole run, for the "Ripple" encore. The band did not repeat any songs from the Santa Clara shows. 

With my roommates Neil and Becky in the lot! 



Star-Spangled Show on July 4th 


The band did not waste and time to arouse excitement with a "Shakedown Street" opener. The first repeat of the Fare Thee Well run, happened when we got " Cumberland Blues". I started to wonder if they'd start repeating a lot of songs, but the rest of the songs for the night have not been played. The longest, most exciting jam of the first set was during Jerry's "Deal". As most people expected, they played " One More Saturday Night" as a final song and " U.S Blues" for an encore. As the Midnight hour struck, we got fire works to end the 4th and lead into my 25th birthday on the 5th. 

With Greg and his buddy Scoot(with Braves Hat) before the 1st set


Birthday Show on July 5th 

I  heard the first three songs China Cat Sunflower- I Know You Rider- Estimated Prophet outside as I waiting for two girls I met the previous night to get miracle tickets. After a while, I made a tough decision and left them for my friends inside and got in the stadium in time for "Built to Last" (Luckily I found out later, they did ultimately get in!:)). We stood in a camera man's section and had plenty of space to dance! During "Samson and Delilah", it was great hearing 69,999 other Dead Heads chanting " If I had my way, I would tear this whole  building down!" Before the second set, we got a surprise series of fireworks. Well, it wasn't 100% a surprise for my friends and I as the camera man told us it would happen a few minutes prior but OK. The second set then began with the only other repeat of the whole run, "Truckn"!

What a long, strange trip it really has been! Two other songs that stood out were "Cassidy" and "Althea". Trey's solos during "Althea" were more heavy than the ones John Mayer did when he played "Althea" with Weir during the Tonight Show earlier this year. The biggest highlight of the run came during the "Not Fade Away" encore. 30 minutes after the second "Attics of My Life" encore, the fans continued doing the typical clap and singing " Love is Real, Not Fade Away", as we walked out of Soldier Field.


With my new friends waiting for them to get miracles!  

Fireworks before the second set!

The aftermath- crowds after the final "Attics of My Life" encore!
Conclusion 

I literally could not have had a better 25th birthday weekend than being in Chicago for these three shows. I also got to explore Chicago a bit, seeing a sample of the chess scene, the beach, sculptures, parks and the highly recommended Architecture Tour. 

Agora- a bunch of headless sculptures near Soldiers Field!

Look into My Dreams, Awilda" by Jaume Plens in Millennium Park

The Beam! Look closely you can see your loyal blogger with his phone!


Thanks to Dr. Daaim Shabazz, of The Chess Drum, I knew to visit Starbucks on North Ave for the chess scene! 


My new Dead Head friend Jaimie on the Architecture Boat Cruise: I took an educated guess that she was part of the Grateful Family on line to buy a ticket and I was correct:) 
The Willis Tower and Franklin (AT&T) Tower- an example of modern and post-modern architecture side-by-side! 
However, It was a bittersweet that this would at least on paper be the last hurrah for the Grateful Dead. That said, I am looking forward to seeing Bob Weir and Billy The Kids ( along with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers) next month at the Peach Festival. I had similar feelings about the final Allman Brothers Beacon run last October, but the Road does truly go on forever. (I'll also be 6/7 Allman Brothers at Peach!)


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jerry Graham's Recollections of the Marshall Chess Club

It's been a while since I've posted anything on the blog and and intend to blog semi-regularly again. While I think of topics I'd like to cover, I thought I'd share a nice personal essay my good friend Jerry wrote about his experiences at the Marshall Chess Club:

My one main criticism, is that he titled the essay "Marshall Chess Divan." However, he will never admit that the place is a club, not a divan.



The Marshall Chess Divan - Modified 6/24/13

I doubt it was coincidence that I lived across the street from the club.  My father and Dr. Vitanza were business partners with GM Reuben Fine.   I think that's what got Dr. Vitanza involved in chess, and he very likely saw the building for sale (they would buy 10 West 10th Street) while visiting the club.  I still have some pieces from the wooden set Dr. Vitanza gave me many decades ago.  Dr. Vitanza helped increase my interest in chess, though I was taught by my mother, and I was also inspired by my great-uncle, Ben Ferstadt, who was from the town of Berestechko in the Ukraine.


I played chess in junior high school.  Our faculty adviser was Mr. Vinocore.  In our junior high school club was future US Women's Champion Rachel Crotto.  I didn't show up for the first scholastic tournament I was registered for.  My first actual rated chess tournament was the last rated chess tournament ever to be held at Chess House on 72nd Street.  While Chess House was owned by NM Charles Hidalgo, the tournament was run by Louis Brockman, who later ran tournaments with his father Henry in Flushing.



I first met FM Asa Hoffmann at Chess House.  My first visit to the Marshall was when I was a young teenager and me and my friend Howard (not Howard Prince. A different Howard) got lost on the way back from my second tournament in Elizabeth New Jersey, where I first met Goichberg and Joe Lux.  I think we had run out of money and asked both of them to lend us enough money to get home, and neither of them did.  Probably Joe didn't have too much back then. We were all teenagers. Me and Howard had just enough money to take the PATH back to Manhattan. I lived uptown in those days with my mother.  After trying to find my father and visiting the Marshall, we started walking uptown, and a cop let us into the subway at 23rd Street.


When we went into the Marshall, only Bill Slater was there, or maybe one or two other people.  I first played my friend Howard and he beat me.  Then Bill Slater played my friend, but refused to play me because I was supposedly too weak.  Some day someone will write about some of our most minor deeds.


I got elected to the board I think in my early twenties after I already had had my own chess tournament business.  I am still the Governor who got elected at the all-time youngest age.  Goldwater was president (http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/goldwat1.html).  I didn't know the club was broke until many years later. I think the other governors knew but they didn't tell me.  As far as I know, I was the second governor in the club's history to be nominated by petition, the first being Alex Sheldon.  Peter Sepulveda, who was like an annoying big brother to me, encouraged me and signed my petition.   I heard from him recently, but he rarely comes to the club unfortunately.  Dr. Milton Hanauer also encouraged me a great deal. 


Then World Champion, GM Robert J. Fischer made his last public appearance in New York at the Marshall Chess Club.  He was seated on the bench nearest to the front East window.  With him was Betty Buscemi, who was night manager before IM Jay Bonin.


I was night manager after IM Bonin.  I left the board and my job there during the aftermath of throwing Goichberg's tournaments out of the club.  It was during the time of the Goichberg tournaments that most of the club's valuable trophies were stolen.   There was no security in place, not even locks.   Goldwater was an anarchist and didn't believe in locks. The only locks were on the front door of the building and the office.  The club's antique chess sets on display in the back room were sold off.  NM Leslie Braun helped Mr. Goldwater pack them up and take them to Southerbees. 


Someone broke into the office with a pickaxe.  I found the pickaxe in the basement. Someone was planning to break into the office over and over again.   Dr. Vitanza broke the pickaxe handle into small pieces with a larger pickaxe, and left the pieces in front of the club in the hopes it would leave a message to the thief that his efforts were unwelcome.  One of the other members, Bob Lukasik, repaired the door and reinforced it with a thick wooden board which remains there to this day. Someone stole the bust of Frank Marshall as a joke but later returned it.



The last years of the Goldwater administration were awful.  Some of the elderly members had left when Goichberg's tournaments came in.  Even though Goichberg's tournaments were only on the weekends, these elderly members liked to play every day.  The club was still active though, due to the high concentration of tournament players.  When Goichberg was thrown out, there was no equivalent tournament program put in place at the Marshall.  Almost all of the tournament players went to Goichberg's new place on 14th Street, the Bar Point.  The Bar Point, I believe,  eventually became the Chess Center of New York, under the ownership of Steve Immitt.



Mr. Goldwater was sick with leukemia.  Unfortunately most of the board members were afraid to come forward to take up the leadership of the club for fear of Mr. Goldwater, who everyone assumed would leave the club a great deal of money.   Goldwater left the club no money at all, and I don't blame him.  There was no one around to protect it and put it to good use.


Dr. Finkelstein became president pro-temp and then president.  I don't know how that happened, but usually one president appoints the next president, just a new board members usually come on the board on the suggestion of other board members.   Dr. Finkelstein and Dr. Hanauer were once co-principals and best friends, but it seemed to me that they were two very different men.  Dr. Hanauer was one of the first pioneers of scholastic chess long before everyone was doing it.  


I don't know much about Dr. Finkelstein's administrations. I wasn't there.  I heard later that there was an untoward attempt to sell the building which was headed off at the last minute.  Those who go far enough to the Haft administration know that there were three plaques that sat together on the mantle of the middle fireplace.   One was Dr. Finkelstein, one was Alex Weber.  I forget who the third was.   I heard that Alex Weber was one of the great men who stopped the sale of the building.   If it were not for him we would not have a club today.   There would be no club for GM Magnus Carlsen to visit, for us to play in tournaments, or any of the good things that are happening these days.



Another person who was instrumental in saving the club was Peter Sepulveda.  Peter was never president, but he brought many new people on to the board over a period of several decades.   He had a great deal of influence other who the presidents would be.  I believe he played a major role, not only in selecting Gary Sperling, but also in replacing him with Marianna Bellizzi.   From what I've heard, Sperling reactivated the system of committees which traditionally ran the club, but he was too autocratic, and was replaced by Marianna Bellizzi, who was president for many years.   When she got tired of being president, Peter helped bring in Leon Haft. 



I had been at the Manhattan and rejoined the Marshall when Leon Haft hired my friend FM Ron Young as manager.   Leon wasn't crazy about me.  In fact Leon threw me out of the office a couple of times.  While he never apologized for throwing me out of the office, many years later he found a letter I had written him, and when he saw me at the club he complemented me on it. 



During the Haft years, Steve Immitt was invited in to increase the chess activity in the club.  All I can remember was that the club was very active and fun during those years.  Later I would find out that Leon had taken out a balloon mortgage on the building and had used it to operate the club.  When the mortgage came due during the Prince years we were mad at Haft for having done that, but now I think he did the right thing in that.  I actually liked the club's decor, or the lack thereof. It was just something I had grown up with.



Haft was controversial for a number of reasons.  During the Haft administration, the club failed to make its annual tax filings.  The tax filings had been entrusted to Isadore Rothman, who was very sick with the cancer that eventually killed him.   Rothman was given full blame.  Jack Henry eventually talked the IRS into lowering or eliminating the fines.   Leon left before his term was up, and with no active officers, Ron Young had to handle the club's business pretty much on his own.  Steve helped out from time to time.  Ed Kopieki was the night manager.   Despite all of these problems, which most of the members didn't know about, the club was very active during Haft's time. There were internationals run Dr. Eric Schiller and Eric Moskow, MD.  There was also a series of internationals that included Josh Waitzkin and some of his contemporaries, including GM Maurice Ashley.  Bob Dunnigan was a very active volunteer through most of the Haft administration.



We had a big orange cat in those days named Marshall Gambit.   He was a perfect cat for the chess club.  He didn't like dogs or other non-members.   When we had internationals, he didn't like to be excluded from the room, he wanted to watch his friend FM Ron Young play.  We would fight him over this, but he usually got in anyhow.   To my knowledge he only walked across a game in progress one time.  It was during an international, and he knocked over one of Ron's rooks.  I think Ron asked his opponent if he had to say "j'adoube" before placing the rook back on the board.   Sadly the cat left the planet the same week as NM Leslie Braun.


It wasn't until later when Howard Prince was president that GM Bill Lombardy encouraged me to run for the board again.  Actually the year before Howard agreed to make me assistant treasurer.  During that year, I not only learned how little money the club had, but also that membership was plummeting due to an ill-timed dues increase.   The building actually wasn't doing that badly at the time even though some of the apartments were rent stabilized.   In fact, we were putting money in the bank.  The club had a very low budget due to the decline in membership, but I still remember those as good years.


After I became assistant treasurer and then treasurer, I saw that the club didn't and shouldn't get too much cash from tournaments.  The best source of revenue is Resident memberships.   I think the club had a tradition of not encouraging professional players, because the original idea was that GM Marshall would be the only chess professional there.  Unfortunately the idea of not encouraging professional chessplayers went on for decades even after Marshall died. For many years in a row, the strong GM Andy Soltis won the club championship. Until he was outscored one year by then NM Brian Hulse.  The idea of not encouraging professional players still lives on in the policy of not allowing titled players to vote.


The times when NM Doug Bellizzi was manager were great.  One of the great attractions was Israel Zilber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Zilber), a strong player who had beaten Tal twice.  In Tal's game collection book, the Game #1 is a game Tal had played with Zilber when Tal was 12 and Zilber was 15.  Mr. Zilber suffered from schizophrenia.  He always wore a elaborate sea captain's uniform.  He stored a large number of these uniforms on the coat racks we then had at the club.  People would come from everywhere to play him.  Everyone from the legendary NM Peter Winston (http://observer.com/2012/07/the-mysterious-disappearance-of-peter-winston/) to Vincent Livermore came.  It was during this period that NM Winston played in his last rapids before his disappearance.  Zilber was sleeping at the club.   This was forbidden by the administration (which I was not part of at the time) and they kept on taking away his key to the front door.  I kept making copies of the key and giving them to him.  That's just how I am. 
Magnus Carlsen at the Club


Outside of Marshall
Better Late than never!- Jerry's Bar Mitzvah the club!
 Friday Night Rapids circa 2002: Your Loyal Blogger Evan Rabin, Paul Pressman, Leif Pressman, Jerry Graham, Fabiano Caruana, Ralph Itale and others 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Shall Philadelphia or Seattle win the 2012 USCL Championship?!



The end of the 2012 USCL season is here; tomorrow night the Philadelphia Inventors and the Seattle Sluggers will fight for all the glory tomorrow, December 1 at 4 PM! With that in mind, I give you Rabin's final set of predictions for 2012!

GM Erenburg- GM Akobian 1/2-1/2 These guys drew at the Philadelphia Open back in April in a topsy-turvy affair. Erenburg had a slight advantage, blundered a piece in time pressure, and was miraculously able to draw. Akobian has been a fire this year, but as FM Mike Klein mentioned in his interview with GM Erenburg, four out of his five games this year was with the white pieces.

IM Orlov- SM Fisher 1-0 Fisher is known to perennially pull off upsets in the league and the truth of the matter is I wouldn't be all that surprised if he did here too, but with his recent wins against GMs Kraai and Holt, I think Orlov shall remain a favorite!

FM Gorman- Sinanan 1-0 FM Gorman has been a straight up beast this season, enough said!

Feng- IM Costigan 1/2-1/2 In a battle between youth and age, I think Costigan will equalize in the opening and not push for much more!

and a 2-2 Tied Match will lead to a tiebreaker that Seattle will win!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Results-to-be of the 2012 USCL Semifinals!

Unfortunately, luck wasn't on my side last Wednesday, as I got 0/2 match predictions and only 3/8 or 37.5% of game predictions correct. Hopefully I can turn things around for the semifinals!

Wednesday night, I will be seeing Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler at the Barclays Center. Here's a video of a rendition of "Things Have Changed" that they performed a few months ago in Rome!



A Repeat of the 2011 Eastern Division Quarterfinals: The Manhattan Applesauce give Draw Odds to the Philadelphia Inventors 

GM Romanenko- GM Erenburg 1/2-1/2 Erenburg won their week 7 encounter but that was with the white pieces; Romanenko is a rock with white!

IM Bartell- IM Vovsha 1/2-1/2 Vovsha is 2-0 against Bartell in league history, but he was white both times. Bartell is pretty solid as white too!

Shvartsman- FM Gorman 1/2-1/2 two solid players, why not draw?!

IM Costigan- King 1/2-1/2

and a match of four hard fought draws will send Philadelphia to the championship, Drawn Match 2-2

The Seattle Sluggers Yield Draw Odds to the Arizona Scorpions due to Inferior Tiebreaks ( Both Teams had 6.5-4.5 regular season records)

GM Akobian- IM Molner 1-0 a repeat result of week 3!

IM Altounian- IM Orlov 1/2-1/2- Altounian is a rock!

Sinanan- IM Mohandesi 1/2-1/2 solid guys!

Chakraborty-Lessler 1-0

and we shall see another Drawn Match 2-2

and Philadelphia and Arizona will both benefit from draw odds to face off in the 2012 USCL Championship!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rabin's Prognostics for the 2012 USCL Western Division's Quaterfinals!

I did a pretty lame job predicting the Eastern Quarterfinals. I have to give Manhattan some credit for defeating my beloved Knights in a topsy-turvy match. Manager Shaun Smith was talking a lot of smack about the match and I requested I write an apology for predicting New York would win, if they lost. While I refuse to apologize, I thought I'd at least share our conversation!

 I also got a mere 1/8 or 12.75% of game predictions correct but will take the consolation that I least predicted the correct outcome of the Philadelphia- Baltimore match. 

Let's hope things are better for tonight! It's nice to have some competition now with Ron Young being back with his famous jumbles! 

For my acclaimed Youtube video, I give you Phil Lesh and Friends' encore from last night's show, a rendition of "Not Fade Away." Expect a review of that show to a blog near you soon! 


The Two-Time USCL Champions, The Dallas Destiny vs the Veteran Seattle Sluggers Who Never Quite Made it to the End 

GM Sadorra- GM Akobian 1/2-1/2 Akobian will equalize in a theoretical opening and a draw will be the ultimate result! 

IM Orlov- GM Holt 0-1 Orlov is certainly capable of drawing or beating Holt, especially as he shocked the crowds a few weeks ago, defeating GM Kraai. However, Holt is pretty good at creating complications to win with black. I also think Kraai didn't play his best in that game; out of the opening, it seemed as if he lost the two bishops for no real reason.

Safin- Sinanan 1-0 Anything can happen.. Safin has an incredible 4/4 record this season, while Sinanan has an excellent 5/7 record. With a slightly better record, a higher rating and the white pieces I'll give Safin an edge. 

Lessler- Guenther 1-0 

and Dallas will end Seattle's Season, Dallas Wins 2.5-1.5 

The Experienced Arizona Scorpions Take on the USCL Post-Season Newbies, The St. Louis Archbishops 

IM Molner- GM Diamant 1/2-1/2 They drew in week 9, why not draw again?! 

IM Kannappan- IM Altounian 1/2-1/2 I think Kannappan is a slight favorite to win, but Altounian very rarely loses USCL games! 

IM Mohandesi- IM Bregadze 1/2-1/2 Similar note the above game! I thought Bregadze was a favorite in their week 9 match up, and that was with the white pieces. They drew then, so another one seems likely!

Hendrickson- Chakraborty 1-0 Time for Revenge!

and Hendrickson will lead the newbies to victory! St. Louis Wins 2.5-1.5