Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rd. 2 vs. New York Knights

Crossing division lines in week 2 of the USCL seems a bit odd, but that is the schedule for Seattle and New York. These teams have a bit of a rivalry as they have played each of the past 3 seasons ( all 3 of Seattle's seasons in the league ). New York won the first 2 and Seattle won last year. This is surely a critical match for each team as the Knights lost in the first round and Seattle failed to win in round 1. Let's have a look...

Nakamura plays for the first time this year for Seattle and faces veteran GM Kacheishvilli. Nakamura is establishing his place in world chess and will no doubt look to further that in this match. Still, Kacheishvilli is no pushover.

Board 2 harkens back to the first time these teams met as GM Charbonneau had white against GM Serper in that match also. Having white favors Charbonneau, while Serper just broke a similar stretch last week as Black against Freidel.

Rising star Michael Lee will have white against veteran Bonin on third board. On paper this would favor Seattle, but Bonin is very cagey and will certainly have something in mind to misdirect the Seattle wunderkind.

A double indoctrination is the setup on board 4 as Raven Sturt for New York and Howard CHen for Seattle will face off. This is a board where the help of other team members could decide the affair. Last year Seattle won when first timer Andy May came better prepared in an obscure line of the Caro, likely the result of work with a team mate. That might favor the Knights a bit.

This looks like a case of White being the favorite on each board, so a tie would be a likely result. If I was betting on this I would break it down to 2 matches. Seattle should win on board 1 and has good chances of holding on 2. Board 3 has the best chances of ending peacefully while 4 is a complete guess. Also, I would suspect that Serper is in much better form this season than last and will likely produce some quite good results.

Actually, I wouldn't go through all that. I would simply say that the middle 2 boards are likely to offset, Seattle on 1 and NY on 4. I think a 2 - 2 tie is likely.

The other 2 Tuesday night matches will do quite a lot to determine the pecking order in the East. Queens lost last week to Boston and this week face a Baltimore team that was victorious in round 1. If the Pioneers lose another they will be in trouble, like 2 par secs into Borg space kind of trouble. New Jersey beat their nemesis New York last week and now will face a Philadelphia team that was predicted to do a lot, but lost in the first round. If the Knockouts win again this week they will be off to a fast start with some groing confidence. Philadelphia is probably the favorite, but not winning this week wil raise a lot of questions. So, all in all it should be quite an interesting evening.

1 comment:

Mulfish said...

Board 1 - which Nakamura shows up? If its the dynamo who rolled through the US Championship field in St. Louis, great. If it's the guy who played in the Experience vs. Rising Stars match, I'd be more nervous. Hikaru will kick off the season successfully.

Board 2 - last time these two met in USCL play Serper lost on time after a last-move blunder. This match is at G/60+increment, the fastest time control the USCL uses. That's not a good omen. Fortunately, that was in 2006, and a lot of things change. Perhaps we can get another player to channel a Sharma-esque Nxe6? move again. Probably not. But Serper will hold the draw.

Board 3 - The Experience vs Rising Stars match demonstrated conclusively that Unkel Vik was right when he declared youth was basically unsound. Let's get a second opinion here. Michael's no kid anymore. He's not even the youngest one in the lineup. Michael wins.

Board 4 - HA81 is absolutely right - on this board we can only guess. Sturt has the White pieces, gets to spar regularly with fierce competition and has a ost of a wealth of strong players to help with preparation. That translates into a Knight win.

Last week one Slugger partisan shot me a short note about my incorrect pessimistic prediction. Hey, I'm glad to be wrong if the result is better. This time, I am more fearless. In a match with matchups such that either team could win 3-1, the Sluggers eke one out by the slimmest of margins, putting the Knights in their customary early-season hole.