If you from either of the Boston area teams, U'd sure know: the infamous Murray Turnbul at Havard Square. I went to play the action tournament at the Boylston today and was unfortunately one the two players to show up so no cigar for a tournament, so I decided to head over to Harvard Square before my journey back to Brandeis... 2 1/2 years ago when I told IM Jay Bonin I was going to college in Boston, the first thing he told me was to go to Harvard Square and play the guy in the straw hat... Thats one thing of my bucket list of things to do around Boston:) See my Bucketlist review from my Tokyo flight post a few months back:
Anyway, on to the important stuff!! With four more matches left, play off spots are in the making!
Monday Night Matches
The Vicious Carolina Cobras looking for an upset vs my previously beloved NY Knights:
Bd 1: A solid IM holds down The Georgian GM who once told me that all chess players should make at least IM easily... That was a pretty heavy statement... Im gonna go with Giorgi here.
Bd 2: Lenderman squeezes Simpson with a Catalan... With white, I think Simpson has upset potential as clearly seen in the last few weeks, but with white, Alex has to be a favorite... 2-0 for NY.
Bd 3. Agner- Getz... Agners an underdog by rating but has the white pieces... Getz isn't the most agressive player meaning a draw is likely here.
Bd 4: The Board 4 killer Craig Jones with a 2505 performance rating of 2505 vs newly crowned master Justus Williams... If I had to guess experience will take over here, but things can go either way...
Overall, The Big Apple ( not to be confused with the silly name "The Manhattan Applesauce" wins 2.5-1.5
The team with a silly name, which needs to win to have play-off potential vs the slightly ahead of the pack Baltimore
Stripunsky- Erenburg- a rematch with a reversal of colors... Erenburg shall hold down the fort and the game will end in a treaty.
Kaufman-Milman- as I predicted last week against Rensch, Kaufman will have another prepared Rybka novelty and cruise to victory although Milman is a very strong IM and has a rating edge.. Close call here.
Zimmer- Vovsha.. Zimmer came through with an impressive win last week but with almost a 300 pt rating disadvantage its hard to go against Vovsha winning..
Black vs Balasubramanian - Im gonna go with Balasubramania winning here after a sharp tactical struggle mainly due to more experience at longer time controls and a nice rating edge...
Overall Baltimore shall win 2.5- 1.5 leaving Manhattan in the black for a playoffs spot
The Miami Sharks ( whom to this day don't understand why they fit in the West division but thats another story) vs the ever-dangerous Dallas Destiny... These teams are now tied 5.5-5.5 lifetime and have identical average ratings this week so this will be a very interesting match.
Rock Solid Becerra vs slightly more agressive Ramirez- A tough call: I think Becerra will look to grind down Ramirez for many moves before conceding the 1/2 pt.
GM Gonzalez fights with the black peices vs IM Fernandez during his 2010 USCL debut.... With Gonzalez's more recent practice and GM title I expect him to come out with the victory. However, with Fernandez's dismal lifetime USCL record, change is due at some point... Will this be the time?
The battle of FMs on board 3: Martinez vs Kiewra: I expect Martinez to pull through with the rating edge and white pieces ( perhaps I over-estimate the importance of colors)
Dallas board 4 superstar Zorigt vs Miami new recruit Rosenthal: With her great USCL experience and a heavy rating edge.. Im going with Zorigt cruising to victory here.
Overall thats a 2.5-1.5 victory for Miami keeping their playoff hopes alive... Things were looking much more grim for them a few weeks ago.
The Battle for 1st/2nd/3r place ( depending on Chicago's result): SF vs AZ
GM Kraai vs might as well be GM Barcenilla... From past results , it seems like both of these players are considerably stronger with the white pieces .... Kraai should get a slight edge out of the opening and squeeze it out to victory..
IM Pruess vs IM Rensch- two solid IMS, one who relatively recently made the push to the title.. Its a close call here, but with a phenomenal record so far this season, and the white peices, Im gonna go with Rensch winning ( assuming he can recover well from his loss last week)
Young Positional Master/recent author FM Naroditsky vs more experienced FM Adamson Both have solid records so far this season.. Mainly cause of the white pieces, I expect Naroditsky to pull through with a 1-0 but a draw is a likely result as well..
On board 4, two of the most talented kids are dueling with one another.. Its a toss up in reality, but Im gonna prdict Liou wins due to his success on the all-star team last year
Overall thats a 3-1 victory for SF------> with room for error 2.5-1.5
Wednesday NIght Matches
The Heavy-hitter Catdog team commonly known as the Boston Blitz vs the Revenge seeking NJ Knockouts
Two multi-US Champ title holders duke out for the second time this season with colors reversed... for the same result.. Larry will try to squeeze Joel in a Caro-Kann advanced variation as he did against Shankland but to no cigar. 1/2-1/2
US/USSSR Champ GM Gulko takes on fellow Blitz player Shmelov..... I have to give Gulko an edge here and a likely victory although, I will certainly not count out Shmelov out. I am sure he will have something prepared in the Nimzo....
Another rematch: Martirosov takes on Kapengut... I doubt Kapengut was very pleased to draw Martirosov with white the last time and will take some chances as black... He has a rather solid 3.5 score in the league but was white 3 out of those games... I'm expecting another draw here.
Finally on to my replacement ( from the last NJ match) Krasik versus Matlin.... I doubt Krasik will play a London system like me not knowing exactly what I was doing... Im not quite sure what opening to expect for that matter but I do expect Krasik to bring out the full point...
All in all - thats a 2-2 tie ( I tried to be as objective as possible on this prediction)
A suprisingly watered down Philly team vs our Crosstown rivals leading the pack..
The- Ex-NY Knight/ player to beat more GMS than any non-GM Bonin vs Hungaski... In the words of Jay himself, I think he will achieve a " full-bone"... Thats 1 pt for Philly ( However, Hungaski is a very strong ( near GM if not fully there strength IM) so I think this game is definitely a toss-up.
FM Dehmelt faces ex Chicago star IM Van De Mortel as black: Here, I think the white pieces, and the 150 rating pt gap will kick in with IM Van De Mortel coming through with a victory... However, as FM Dehmelt demonstrated to me when I played him in PA over the summer, he is very solid and can hold resistance.
IM Costigan faces the higher rated solid FM Riordan... I could see Riordan equalizing out of the opening but not gaining much more afterwards: a draw is in order.
A rematch with the same colors: Wilson vs Cherniack: I think this will be the deciding result and this one can go either way... I predict another long draw in a QID.
Despite a 100 point rating edge, Im gonna go with a tie, especially as NE has a clear lead and won't want to take too many chances.
ST Louis with Naka Back in town vs Chicago the 1st place team that admitted an upcoming hard match (http://www.chicagoblazechess.com/2010/09/indecisively-decisive/)
Naka coming back from a solid Olympiad rematches GM Gurevich.... If he beat him last time with black, I can't imagine Naka not winning whith the white pieces.. One for ST Louis.
GM Amanov makes his USCL debut at the right time against GM Finegold... This game will partially depend on how Amanov adjusts to ICC... Assuming he could get the handle of it., I wouldn't be surprised if he goes for the win with white... That'll equate Naka's Win.
Battle of Ims Brooks and Felecan on bd 3.. I am not very familiar with either of their play but Felecan came to my mind as I am sure many others minds as a sharp IM when he beat Shulman with black in week 2 winning GOTW... I say Felecan will go ahead and pick up this point too.
FInegold JR seeks revenge against Cindy Tsai with white again.. I am sure he will have something up his sleeves in the Sicillian... however, I am sure Tsai will as well... The winner will likely be the one who prepares better, but I'm gonna go with the rating favorite Tsai...
All in all, I see a 2.5 victory for Chicago despite a minimal rating disadvantage... The 40 points isnt that great a difference considering SL's ratings points are mostly coming from one basket with Naka's edge on Gurevich.
Last but not least, I shall attempt to predict the result of the scramble between the Vibe and the Sluggers for a share of 4th place.
The Vibe assigned FM Kretchetov bd 1 duties despite his lower rating than Banawa likely as he is more experienced and can play solid with the white pieces.. However, playing our Olympiad captain Akobian is no easy task... I predict Akobian to wheel in the full point for Seattle.
Next, we have FM Milkhaiulk taking on the aforementioned Banawa with the white pieces.. As mentioned on the Seattle blog,
Milkhaiulk has not been doing so well so far this season, but he is facing slightly lower rated competition this week with the white pieces.. I see Milkhaiulk coming through with his first win of the season.
Board 3 sees Konstantin Kavutskiy, previously nicknamed Mclovin, fighting against Rohonyan.. I know next nothing about "Mclovin"'s play as he only played one game so far this year, but with a 80 point rating edge, Rohonyan will pull through a victory.
Then we see a show down of Gupta who is slightly higher rated and Sinanan who has substantial USCL experience.. THis a toss up to me but,, Ill somehow predict Gupta to win this game... Overall, I expect Seattle to win this match 3-1, although, Id say this is the match I feel lest confident about in my predictions.
Last week, I did reasonable in my predictions.. Im hoping to do better this time... It definitely adds more excitement to watching the matches.