Dallas v. Seattle
This is a matchup in the Power rankings (updated thank's to BionicLime between the #6 and # 2 teams. This could go a ways in weeding out contenders in the West.
Bd. 1 Bartholomew is white against Nakamura. There is a weird thing being a Seattle fan with Nakamura on first board, I almost feel guilty picking him to win each week. This will be the second black in a row (Dallas was listed first on the sheet), but Nakamura seems to have even more flair playing with the black pieces. I am a bit surprised that Dallas wouldn't try Stopa or Zivanic on board one as a more solid approach.
Bd. 2 Mikhailuk versus Ludwig. This is a good matchup for Seattle as Slava isn't likely to get involved in any theory, real or imaginary. He plays what he plays. Also, Slava has some history with the Destiny... check the last time they lost a playoff match.
Bd. 3 Kiewra up against Lee. This is certainly a prepared pairing. Kiewra seems to play the White pieces against the Sicilian with a certain aplomb. This could be a problem for Lee, it will certainly be a telling board for the match.
Bd. 4 is Sinanan - Zorigt. This could be a real tough game to watch. I know that the players will give a lot, but I don't believe either of them goes to a lot of effort to either have a prepared surprise in the opening or to seek complications. (note to Eddie: please don't have Slava and Josh both playing White in the same match... young children are likely to get the wrong idea about chess... or even middle aged people for that matter).
Dallas is going to try to sneak this match past on boards 2 and 3. If they win both, Seattle is kaput. If Josh and Michael score a point between them then Seattle will win. I really think this is one of the easiest Seattle matches to handicap. I am leaning toward a tie, but 2.5 is certainly possible for the Sluggers.
All of the Emmy categories I like are done, so I will give my thoughts on the other matches this week.
Chicago (10) v. SF (1) - The Blaze are a plucky lot, you gotta say that. To make this short though, an important saying I learned when I was young, "you don't throw rocks at people with machine guns!" SF has some machine guns. SF 3-1
Baltimore (14) v. Arizona (7) - First time meeting. I think the Kingfishers are a bit surprised by their current standing and look at this match as quite important. Arizona is pretty confident that they are a contender and just look at this as another match they should win. One thing to note is that this is the only match where both teams rating average is below 2400. This will be decided by the experience of the older Kingfishers
Baltimore 2.5 - Arizona 1.5
Miami (4) v. Tennessee (8) - This looks like a trap to me. Simply put I think that Tennessee will win this match 2.5 - 1.5
New Jersey (3) v. New York (5) - Knights revenge. NJ isn't better on the top 2, no jumbo lineup with Ippolito, New York has a score to settle, Stonewallamania! 2.5 -1.5 NY
Carolina (13) v. Queens (12) - Ok, explain to me how a team with 3 2500 players is number 12? If you can't explain it to me, then explain it to the Cobras. This could be a wipeout, I mean a really ugly wipeout. 3-1 Queens
Boston (11) v. Philadelphia (9) - I really gotta think that 3rd board is critical here. If Bartell holds then the Inventors win. Actually, I don't think that anything has gone well for either of these squads yet this season. No reason to see this as the turn around point. Tie
So, that is all for now. ttyl