Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blitz by Numbers

In 1996, Bill Parcells, then coach of the New England Patriots, was asked if his 0-3 football team was in fact better than the record indicated. "You are what you are," Parcells shot back, a simple but surprisingly perceptive response. "We may look like a Super Bowl team on paper, but we're playing like an 0-3 team. And that's just not good enough."

This seems like the appropriate perspective to take in evaluating the results of the Boston Blitz's performance in the inaugural season of the US Chess League. Sure, the season started with great optimism, excitement about GM Chritiansen's participation on the team and talk of under-rated players lying in wait to upset higher-rated opponents. But, in the end, the hometown team finished out of the playoffs, in third place in the Eastern Division, with a record of 4-6 (2 wins, 4 draws, 4 losses). "You are what you are."

In keeping with this tautological theme, I thought I'd focus my season wrap-up on the "Numbers" with limited editorial adornment.

Performance Ratings

With the teams so closely matched rating-wise each week, successful teams needed to consistently perform above their official USCL ratings. Unfortunately, only one player on the Blitz was able to do this and a few performed well below. Data Format - [Player Name: Win-Loss Record, Performance Rating, Performance Rating - USCL Rating].

IM Perelshteyn: 2.5-0.5, 2823, +247
NM Riordan: 3-3, 2304, +32
FM Winer: 1-1, 2421, +32
GM Christiansen: 3-1, 2599, +3
Krasik: 3-5, 2094, -29
IM Friedel: 3.5-5.5, 2382, -65
FM MacIntyre: 1.5-2.5, 2229, -88
FM Kelleher: 0.5-3.5, 2108, -275

Full Team: 18-22, 2327, -31

Performance by Board

Given that the Blitz primarily employed a top-heavy line-up strategy throughout the season, the results on Board 2 were particularly problematic. Data Format - [Board #: Number of points scored by Boston (out of 10), Boston rank among USCL teams (out of 8), Top Team].

Board 1: 6, tied 2nd-4th, New York
Board 2: 4, 6th, New York
Board 3: 4, 5th, San Francisco
Board 4: 4, 6th, Philadelphia

Performance by Color

League-wide White had a 54% to 46% advantage over Black. New York had the best record with White (70%). Baltimore and New York shared the honors with Black (58%). Data Format - [Color: Boston % score, Boston rank among USCL teams (out of 8)].

White: 58%, 4th
Black: 33%, 8th

Hat Tip: USCL for the Board and Color stats (even though they have the Board 3 stats for the Blitz wrong)

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