Predictors Foiled by Wontons
The USCL predictors didn’t see the chameleon nature of the Scorpions in Week 9 – we came up hissing.
Ed Scimia wrote, “Chicago vs. Arizona: This is a huge match for the Blaze, while the Scorpions are only mathematically alive for a playoff spot. Much like Seattle, I think Chicago will come up big knowing they need the win. Prediction: Chicago 2.5, Arizona 1.5 “ But a chess match is just four guys playing four games – no way for the squad to cross-energize itself with stunning coups.
The Lime of the Bionic variety similarly went astray predicting Chicago 3 Arizona 1. Newcomer MatanP picked Chicago 2.5, and Ron Young hedges his with “probably” but went for Chicago 2.5 also. Arun Sharma said, “Like previous matches, it’s clear who this match holds more meaning for given each team’s respective playoff hopes. Add to that the fact that Van de Mortel and Tate have both been playing quite well this season, and Ginsburg and Rensch have been struggling, I think this one’s easy to call. Chicago 3 – 1.” Indeed, on paper, it was easy to call. But we had an “X” factor!
What none of them knew was that our team ate a marvelous Chinese food meal before the game! This boosted us (well, almost all of us) by adding 150 ELO points to each player. Crab wontons, shrimp with orange peel, and other gourmet items normally only seen in World Championship matches. It is absolutely critical to eat well (but not eat too much) before a match! I am not advocating here Feldsteinian eating-noisily-and-messily-at-the-board. This “X” factor propelled us (well, three of us) into other-worldly Caissic strength. So the next time a Scimia or a Young or a Sharma or even a “MatanP” (who??) sits down and ponders, ponder this: will we be nourished by crab wontons?
The matches themselves
Chicago vs Arizona
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0-0-0 Nxd4 9…d5 is a whole other story. I witnessed a game Josh Friedel-Warren Harper where white won fairly convincingly after 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 e5 13. Bc5. I don’t know the last word, though.
10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Rfc8 14.Rc1 Qd7 15.g4 b5 16.c4 Black is theoretically OK after 16. g5. 16. h4 is possible but after 16…Qb7 I only see 17. c4 transposing back to the game.
16…Qb7 17.h4 bxc4 18.Bxc4 Rc7 The daring 18…Nxd5!? looks to be playable. After 19. Bxg7 Nb6! 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. Bc3 the computer says, believe it or not, 21…Ke8!? to hit f3. It’s hard to believe, but the king seems to be finding light square safety on d7. On the other hand, 18…a5?! 19. h5! looks good for white.
19.b3?! Not very impressive. The non-human 19. Qa5! is a good choice. The direct 19. h5!? Rac8 20. Qd3 is also possible with very sharp play. If 20. Qd3 Qb4 21. a3 Qa4 22. Bb5! gives white a good ending.
19…Rac8 19…a5!? 20. h5 a4!? with a crazy position is thematic.
20.Qb2 h5? This is a game-ending mistake. 20…a5! is correct.
21.gxh5 Nxh5 22.Bxg7 Nxg7 23.h5! Now white wins.
23…Rxc4 The point is 23…gxh5 24. Rhg1 (or 24. Rcg1) f6 25. Rxg7+! Kxg7 26. Rg1+ and white mates after 26…Kf7 27. Qg2. White wins a piece and the game after the prosaic 26…Kh8 27. Qc1 e5 28. Qh6+ Rh7 29. Qxf6+ Rg7 30. Ba6!
24.Rxc4 Rxc4 25.bxc4? White could have saved time and energy with 25. h6! Nh5 26. bxc4 Qxb2+ 27. Kxb2 Kh7 28. Re1! and it’s over. I didn’t spot the nice 25. h6! at all.
25…Qxb2+ 26.Kxb2 gxh5 27.Kb3 Going for the a-pawn is simple enough. Black is not in time.
27… Kh7 28.Kb4 Kg6 29.Kb5 Nf5 30.Ka6 Ne3 31.Kxa7 Nxc4 32.a4 e6 33.Ka6 Kg5 34.Kb5 exd5 35.a5 Nxa5 36.Kxa5 h4 37.Kb4 Kf4 38.Rxh4+ Kxf3 39.Kc3 f5 40.Kd2 f4 41.Rh6 Kg2 42.Rg6+ Kf3 43.Rxd6 Ke4 44.Ke2 f3+ 45.Kf2 d4 46.Rd8 d3 47.Rd7 Black resigns 1-0
were fairly interesting. I will go over some of them in a day or two after I recover from the verdammt drive to and from Mesa, AZ.
For a jaw-dropping sleaze maneuver, see this non-profit’s victimization tale. It’s hard to believe people would behave like this (perhaps learned in a bad MBA program or the perpetrator is otherwise hard-up for cash?). Symptomatic of society in general or just an aberrant small piece of poop dropped on Illinois Chess by a diseased seagull?
Corporate Chess and Bridge News
In merger talks certain to doom both companies, National Master Stephen Feinberg and his Cerberus private equity firm are trying to merge Chryster and GM. This ‘maneuver’ is another question mark following the question mark move of Cerberus acquiring Chryster in the first place (and a share of the toxic GMAC). And I cannot understand how bridge player Warren Spector avoided being on Anderson Cooper’s heavily watched video series “10 Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse.” A young guy groomed to be the successor of the (now down-in-flames) Bear Stearns (with plenty of aloof energy) is more to blame than his sedentary bridge-playing boss, Jimmy Cayne. Have you noticed a trend? Chess and bridge are disasters in the corporate setting.
Update: Chrysler Doomed – Checkmate
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Chrysler LLC plans to reduce its white-collar workforce by 25% by the end of the year, the company said in an announcement Friday.
The cuts, about 5,000 workers in total, will come from Chrysler’s salaried and supplemental workforce. Chrysler has about 18,500 white-collar workers.
Do Cerberus cronies suffer? I think not.
“As I mentioned last week, the Cerberus infatuation with the auto biz is so done that they can’t wait to unload Chrysler, a humiliating admission from the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe and an emphatic indictment of the formerly unimpeachable Cerberus brain trust/posse. That the automobile business is unlike any other in the world was completely lost on Cerberus managers. And the fact that they entered the fray at the exact wrong moment in history is indisputable. But more on that in a moment.”
At least chess gets some good PR here – masters of some sort of Universe.