The Fabulous 00s: The 2008 USCL Round 2

And this fresh on YouTube

This.

Week 1 GOTW Judging Missteps

Even if the judges aren’t good players (and even good players have a hard time if they are not actually playing the game; it’s hard to read players’ thoughts), they need to consult a database/engine (or ask someone!) to see if an outright blunder occurred.  Unfortunately, they did not consult and were “wowed” because a high-rated player played a sacrifice, reminiscent of the monkeys gathering around the obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The move-order blunder occurred right after the sacrifice and then white had no chance.  There were many more competitive games in Round 1.  But not very good quality – murky GOTW territory!

They didn’t know (insufficient inquiry) that it was a simple move-order mistake. This thing actually happens all the time in chess when the writers don’t have much time (a deadline).  GM Wolff did know…

The bottom line is the GOTW should feature a tough (not one-sided) battle where both players demonstrate ideas and the game is not essentially decided by an opening omission.  But of course if the judges are laboring under a strict deadline then it gets tougher.  Actually talking to the players helps when that is possible.  Notice though there were very few such games in week 1.  The Altounian game was marred by a resource that could have turned the tables for his opponent.

“Patrick Wolff said…
I am puzzled by this choice for game of the week. Shabalov obviously just forgot to play Bg4 before Qc2, and his move order blunder was easily exploited. I think Black played well to drive the point home but I don’t think it is a “game of the week.”

Greg Braylovskiy said…
I agree with Patrick. In Jorge’s game, first 15 moves are theory; moves 16 to 22 are very close to being forced; and then Alex is just lost. Not sure what’s being rewarded here.”

The fix:  don’t go on the opponents’ ratings and the first impression that someone strong gave up a piece, this guarantees a long fight with interesting chances for both sides- it ain’t so.  Go on the actual moves in the game.

Round 2

Can the spectators really stand more USCL excitement?  It’s almost too much already!

Updates as of Sunday August 31 having just seen the actual rosters.

My Week 2 Predictions

WEEK 2: Wednesday, September 3rd

1. New Jersey Knockouts vs Queens Pioneers               2-2   Both teams are strong.  So there.  My prediction:  numerous fear/respect draw offers that float by unseen and unanswered as strong players get low on time and start flipping out.  Much sturm und drang followed by pax.

Update having seen the roster:

New Jersey Knockouts Queens Pioneers
GM Joel Benjamin: 2644 IM Dmitry Schneider: 2508
NM Mackenzie Molner: 2397 IM Eli Vovsha: 2532
NM Evan Ju: 2292 IM Alex Lenderman: 2528
NM Victor Shen: 2265 Benjamin Katz: 2108
Predicted: 2
2

2. Philadelphia Inventors vs Baltimore Kingfishers      1.5 – 2.5

Update having seen the roster:

Philadelphia Inventors Baltimore Kingfishers
GM Sergey Kudrin: 2600 GM Sergey Erenburg: 2592
FM Thomas Bartell: 2386 IM Larry Kaufman: 2424
NM Daniel Yeager: 2349 FM Ray Kaufman: 2348
NM Elvin Wilson: 2240 FM Ralph Zimmer: 2328
Predicted result: 2


2

3. Boston Blitz vs Carolina Cobras                               2.5 – 1.5 or 3-1  Ratings don’t always matter that much. Carolina will score a nominal upset on one of the boards and may pull off a nominal ‘draw upset’ on another board.

Amusing side-note:  The Lime puts this as Boston 3.5 – Carolina 0.5.  That’s not happening 🙂

Update having seen the roster – the match will be closer than I envisioned and Carolina actually has chances of the ‘mini-upset’ drawn match:

Boston Blitz Carolina Cobras
GM Larry Christiansen: 2670 IM Lev Milman: 2502
SM Denys Shmelov: 2446 FM Oleg Zaikov: 2376
NM Charles Riordan: 2326 FM Ron Simpson: 2346
NM Marc Esserman: 2307 NM Craig Jones: 2320
Predicted: 2.5
1.5

4. Miami Sharks vs New York Knights                    1.5 – 2.5    NY is out to avenge its sickening performance in round 1.  Have a pre-match prep/strategy session, guys!  Don’t play into the opponents’ strengths!  Less talk and more pawns!  More team and less individual!  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  JFern, this means more than bringing snacks.

Update – who the heck is on board 2 for Miami?  The answer (or non-answer) impacts the result greatly:

Miami Sharks
New York Knights
GM Julio Becerra: 2640 GM Pascal Charbonneau: 2524
FM Osmany Perea: 2453 IM Irina Krush: 2534
FM Charles Galofre: 2326 SM Gregory Braylovsky: 2445
NM Eric Rodriguez: 2242 NM Matthew Herman: 2271
Predicted: 1.5
2.5

5. Chicago Blaze vs San Francisco Mechanics               1.5 – 2.5  Chicago is always competitive.  Hopefully Shankland’s opponent will appear this week.

Staring at the actual rosters, I predict a minor “upset” in the form of a 2-2 tie.

Chicago Blaze San Francisco Mechanics
FM Florin Felecan: 2449 IM Josh Friedel: 2595
IM Emory Tate: 2392 IM Vinay Bhat: 2481
FM Mehmed Pasalic: 2375 FM Sam Shankland: 2364
IM Angelo Young: 2356 FM Daniel Naroditsky: 2321
Predicted Upset: 2


2

6. Tennessee Tempo vs Seattle Sluggers                       1.5 – 2.5  Similar to the NY story, Seattle is out to redeem itself.  But the road is not always easy to hoe against the Tempoiacs.  Todd Andrews just needs to be a little more mindful of pins before going hogwild and taking juicy pawns that turn out to be poisoned. Let’s see if GM Jaan “Cornpone” Ehlvest enters the fray to push some pawns, chew some chaw, and choke down some hominy grits.  I apologize in advance for the grotesque substitution of Alabama for Tennessee here.  If Seattle is dead-set on not winning this match and being the Great Bust of 2008, I think they can succeed.  Digression:  unrelated to the team result (1-3), Readey missed a sweet mate on move 31 vs Lugo in Week 1.

Update with roster:- Seattle should cruise (but they have to do something about their graphic logo, the cartoony knight has a mentally ill expression):

ennessee Tempo Seattle Sluggers
FM Todd Andrews: 2350 GM Gregory Serper: 2592
FM Peter Bereolos: 2304 FM Slava Mikhailuk: 2437
FM John Bick: 2249 FM John Readey: 2296
FM Jerry Wheeler: 2204 NM Michael Lee: 2314
Predicted: 1
3

7. Dallas Destiny vs Arizona Scorpions                         2-2    If Levon (or another board 1 we choose to employ) can neutralize in the best style of Petrosian and our board 4 is solid.   The hissing Scorpions will be quite happy to avoid being stepped out in this match (note, Scorpions sometimes survive a direct human step; they just don’t like being smashed by rocks very much).

Update with roster:  This is going to be ultra-tense.  I still see 2-2 as most likely.  The pressure is really on our boards 2 and 4, well, all our boards really.  Whoah. I am really at a loss, btw, to explain why other pundits such as the Lime, Youngovich, and the Sharmanator are picking us as favorites.  I see it as completely equal.

Dallas Destiny Arizona Scorpions
IM Drasko Boskovic: 2504 IM Levon Altounian: 2535
IM John Bartholomew: 2488 FM Danny Rensch: 2411
FM Igor Schneider: 2396 FM Robby Adamson: 2377
WFM Bayaraa Zorigt: 2217 NM Warren Harper: 2351

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One Response to “The Fabulous 00s: The 2008 USCL Round 2”

  1. Scourge Says:

    Just so ya know…. Yeager for Philadelphia is an FM. If memory serves me correctly, he defeated Alexander Stripunsky in this year’s World Open.

    I had a freaky premonition both Kaufmans would lose again. And so they did, quite brilliantly! Kudos to Bartell and Yaeger.
    I also had a premonition Chicago would tie SF. And they almost won that match!

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