Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Watching my team win from Nowhere Land

"He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody."
Ok, I had some predictions, but I was no where to be seen watching the USCL games.. Normally, the USCL is a big distraction... Half the time time USCL games are on, I'll be "studying" with my friends with several ICC windows open on my comp. screen. Friends will think I am crazy playing multiple games at once... When I tell them, I am actually watching several games live, they just look at me on awe..

This time around was different: While four of teammates were sweating away ( or not- don't quite know) at the Harvard Astrophysics center dueling the SF Mechanics, I was sweating away dancing at the Brandeis Chabad for Shemini Atzeret with no eyes on the games until afterwards... Here am now at 3 am sleeping like a normal human being ( I mean writing this blog post)

To start off here's my failure/sucesss in my predictions
I can't complain about my predictions for the night: 3/4 results correct... Different margins but it turns out Ron Young predicted the exact same results as me: Nyers think alike:)

Heres my results on individual match ups:

New England: 2/4: Shankland and Chase won.. Vigorito won, which I predicted was going to be a draw. Theil drew but it seems to me, he offered a draw since NE was already winning the match... I wasn't watching the match though so correct me if I'm wrong:)

Boston Blitz: Larry won in a nice attack as expected... I definitely underestimated the Catdog/ Havard square power of Marc on Bd 2... Heavy ( GOTW maybe) material there! Corke didn't manage to draw.... and Krasik drew rather than winning.... Overall, I only scored 1/4 on individual match ups but got the right result:)

Seattle: I think all the predictors got this one wrong:) With a rating edge, 1 Gm and 2 IMs vs 3 FMS it was hard to pick against NJ. The one match I predicted wrong: I got 1/4 of the results right here as Finn-Guo went exactly the way I said it would with Finn going for an all-out attack..... Cozianu shows he is a serious fighter and is clearly IM strength.

Baltimore Kingfishers:3/4 predictions right ( best of all) : Barcenilla drew as expected.. ok not too quick as I said before but there weren't too many fireworks in the game. Rensch lost to Kaufman who seemingly prepared well and had a very strong attack out of the opening.. Harper- Kaufman was my one mishap here... and Zimmer played a slow positional game with 1.Nf3 and his experience took over against Adelberg..

Overall Game Predictions correct: 7/18 -

Now on to the Blitz's Damage for the night! :

As I was sweating away dancing at the Chabad of Brandeis for shemini atzeret understanding maybe 15% of the Hebrew being chanted, 4 of my teammates were doing business against SF.


On board 1, Larry won with a typical one of his attacks... He played an off beat 2.b3 against Kraai's French and after move 5, the game was completely out of theory: even unnormal for USCL games to go out of book that fast!

On board 2, Marc ( Cat Dog gives no draws) Esserman takes the full point from IM Zilberstein:



I am at fault for underestimating the great powers of Catdog... I never knew he knew how to play with taking pawns... I thought he only knew how to sack them!

Board 3: Corke as far as I can see didn't get much of an advantage from the opening and got outplayed.

Board 4. Krasik plays Dragon but many possible fireworks didn't occur and ultimately peace was the result.

A solid match victory overall bringing us to 2nd place... Next stop is not letting NJ get revenge next week!

My first crack at USCL Predictions

After a topsy-turvy affair last week which ended in Boston's favor, I am sitting on the sidelines this week. Here I go with my 1st set of published predictions:

Our local "enemies" the New New England Nor-easters vs the St Louis Archbishops-Naka-Shulman

With St Louis's weaker line up this week ( only 2228) I can't imagine NE having a tough time winning this match.... My fellow Brandeis student Shankland shall at least draw Finegold with the white pieces. The battle of IMs Vigorito and Brooks, two experienced previous US champ players should lead to a draw. Chase and Theil will win against their 200+ lower rated players...

All in all 3-1 New England.

My newly beloved Boston Blitz vs Shankland's old team the Mechanics

Experienced several time US Champ winner vs relatively new GM.... Expect a sharp attack by Larry 1-0

Catdog Esserman fights Zilberstein as Black- Less crazy attacks here with the black pieces... Expect mayhem anyhow that somehow leads to peace

Underrated college student vs high school star-- Less of mayhem than Zilberstein- Esserman and another draw...

Boston's greatest talker vs underrated kid from SF: Experience takes over ( albeit being lower rated by 1 pt)

Thats Boston wins 3-1----- Margin of Error Adjustment ( using Marketing/Accounting skills) 2.5-1.5

Seattle vs New Jersey ( the battle of the teams needing to win to make the playoffs)

Unknown ( at least to me) very high rated FM Cozianu vs Benjamin- cant help thinking Benjamin is a favorite here: 1 pt for NJ

FM Mikhailuk vs Newly formed IM Mac Molner:

I first heard of Mikhailuk's power when he beat Shabalov with black last year.... This year he has been struggling though with a score of 0-3... With the white pieces and rating edge I expect Molner to squeeze out the victory..... Thats two pts for NJ.

FM Michael Lee vs Albert Kapengut: Up and coming youngster vs experienced IM coming off of a crazy draw against teamate Martirosov... I predict a draw here as Kapengut will play solidly as black and Lee won't push too hard.

Guo vs Finn.....
I haven't seen much of Guo's games and have seen FInn's crazy sacrificial games in the past.. Guo is playing well this year: 2 wins with the french... Seattle shall get their lone win of the match on this board as Guo will take advantage of Finn's material deficit after an all-out gruesome looking attack

In the long Run... NJ wins 2.5-1.5 and its playoff hopes stay alive with a -1 record of 2.5 3.5

The leaders in the West named the Scorpions vs the Middle of the Pack in the East also known as the Kingfishers

IM ( GM Strength) Barcenilla vs Erenburg : I expect peace relatively early as Barcenilla won't try for much.

IM Rensch vs GM Larry Rybka Kaufman- Rensch this is year is making up for his previously struggles in the league with an outstanding 3-0 record/2794 performance rating.... However, with the white peices and the outstanding Rybka-based preperation that I expect, I see Larry coming out with the full point.

FM Harper vs Kaufman JR ( IM Ray Kaufman):

Kaufman will outplay Harper in a QID ala his previous game this season against Dehmelt but Harper will hold out the draw ( The Kaufmans will score 1.5/2 in total)

Another up and coming Adelberg vs Zimmer... Busy student vs busy father.... Im gonnga go on a whim and expect the experience to take over here....

Baltimore wins 2.5-1.5 ( although a lot has to do with how Arizona will play after their loss last week: I know for me one of the hardest things to do in chess psychologically is to play after a loss)

Thats 4-0 for the East: Quite a reversal of Monday night's results with the West winning 3.5/4.. Lets see how much of these predictions hold true:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Success in Albany

Adventure to Albany:
After my first full week of school, do I stay on campus like a normal student would?- NO.. It seems as over the summer I became addicted to traveling and can not stay in one place. Before Albany, I haven't played in a few weeks since the the Continental Open, where I finished with a modest but solid performance of 3/6 gaining 3 rating points. My final calling was my 2199 rating for September. I had a string of bad results in July and figured it couldn't hurt to try and take advantage of the rating so I decided to enter the u2200.

For now, I will show my 1st round game, where I won rather convincingly. Other than one significant mishap, I won rather smoothly. I played Ernest Johnson, someone I knew for a long time as he is a friend of my old coach and team-ate Alan Kantor but we had never played before. Speaking of which look what I found in a nice pile of Chess Lifes:
Yes the one actual National title I won was the USATE of 2007 along with Alan, Evan Turtel, James Critelli and Nick Panico.. LONG LIVE BEAVIS AND BUTVINNIK!:)

Anyway back to my road to a NY State title:
After this game. I thought I was playing decent chess.. Except for the one relatively major mishap with f4, I thought I calculated pretty well and was prepared in the opening. After this game however, I was dead lost in my next two rounds, and both games ended in draws so although I had a decent score 2/3 the quality of my games were not very high. After I drew Lohrman, an interesting opportunity arose. There were only two people playing in the 2 day schedule so I was offered to re-enter for free. Although many people thought I was crazy to play 4 games in one day, I figured it couldn't hurt to take the opportunity. Luckily, it went well as I finished the 2-day portion of the day with 2.5/3 ( taking a bye in the 1st round).

After that, I won with the black pieces with Chandran and became a half point ahead of the field with 3.5/4 as Ainsworth drew Guevara after drawing Chandran in the morning.

In round five I played Ainsworth, a clearly forced pairing as I was the only 3.5 and he was the only 3. It was annoying however, as it meant my third black in a row. I had prepared to play white but then realized him playing black would mean 4 blacks out of 5 games. It was aggravating to get my third black in a row but after Goichberg and Immit showed me the color priorities in the rules, I knew it was a fair pairing. He played passively in the opening in another Nimzo Indian and ultimately the game petered out to a draw after 70 moves. Of course the last twenty of moves were nothing moves in an opposite-colored bishops endgame. Of course, I was stubborn and didn't want to give a draw.

I will be very blunt and say it was because I don't like it when lower-rated players play for a draw from near the start of the game, especially with the white pieces. Now, I may be somewhat of a hypocrite as in the last round against Guevara I didn't take many chances as white, considering the fact that I was a half point ahead of the field and a draw meant at least a share of first place. However, I made sure I developed a slight advantage rather than sacking a pawn to trade into a bishops of opposite color endgame.

In the long run however, Ainsworth played very solidly and well and deserved a tie first as he demonstrated in his last round against Sells. Not only did he tie for first, but he was playing up a section and cracked expert for the first time.


Thanks to Polly Wright ( Castlingqueenside.blogspot.com) for the pictures.

I must also point out that all of the three-member Boston contingent did well ( Yes, I am a New Yorker as conveyed through the pic YANKEES STILL IN 1st!!!!) but I did come from school in Boston and am a member of the Boston Blitz which is coming back to business witha 2-1 score! Catdog Esserman used his newly Harvard Square wisdom to destroy the Open and his student Daniel Bromberg cracked 1700 for the first time.. Being 1597, he didn't wimp out lie me playing in the u2200 and played in the u1800 as he was 1671 unofficial. He had a poor start 0-2 but then turned the tables going wining 4 in a row to earn a respectable 4/6. HEAVY