Monday, September 25, 2006

Boston Blitz Notebook

Boston Blitz logo
The US Chess League website notes that the Washington Times published an article covering the league. While that is technically true, it would be more accurate to say that the piece reported on the Boston Blitz. The article is entitled "Boston blitzes into lead" and starts out as follows:
The Red Sox may be fading, but the Blitz are doing their best to uphold Boston's honor in the never-ending rivalry with New York.

The second season of the U.S. Chess League is in full swing after a highly promising inaugural campaign won by the Baltimore Kingfishers. The Boston Blitz, anchored by GMs Larry Christiansen and Eugene Perelshteyn, have taken the early lead in the tough Eastern Division by winning their first four matches.
The article also offers annotations to Ilya Krasik's Game of the Week win over New York's FM Privman.

Sure, some of the other teams in the league are mentioned in passing, but you can easily skip over those parts. :)
Globular's Blog announced the Blitz's intent to bring out the double-barreled shotgun line-up this week. While one can hardly complain about a team with two GMs at the top, I was wondering if Carolina might counter with a balanced line-up that could offer them significant rating advantages on the lower boards. Unfortunately for them, their roster doesn't really offer that kind of option.

As a result, this week's matchups look quite favorable for the Blitz (Boston has White on Boards 2 & 4):

GM Larry Christiansen - 2633 vs. IM Lev Milman - 2523
GM Eugene Perelshteyn - 2614 vs. FM Matthew Hoekstra - 2401
NM Vadim Martirosov - 2259 vs. NM Craig Jones - 2280
NM Ilya Krasik - 2162 vs. NM John Kirby - 2222

While anything can happen when the games are played on Wednesday evening, it's difficult to see in advance how the Cobras win this match. Even if they manage to nick one of the GMs for a draw, it seems highly unlikely that they could shutout Vadim and Ilya on the lower boards.

Well, now that I've gone out on a limb, let's hope the team doesn't do anything that would force me to eat my words.

Update #2: The two "official" USCL prognosticators pick Boston 2.5-1.5 and 3-1 respectively.
Clint Ballard began the silliness by claiming that having a non-Master team manager was the key to success in the USCL. Now Jen Shahade suggests that the great starts of Boston, Seattle and San Francisco can be attributed to the fact that each team receives full-time coverage in the chess blogosphere. To improve the prospects of her team, the New York Knights, she has committed to posting about them every week.

Of course, it's not hard to poke holes in Jen's theory -- just consider the Blitz's 2005 campaign or this 2006 example. Boston should be in excellent shape to capture the division title if New York's comeback strategy depends on voodoo.

No comments: