Saturday, September 09, 2006

We need TIVO for the ICC

The officials at US Chess League headquarters couldn't possibly be aware of all the other chess events planned across the country, so they can hardly be blamed for scheduling this Monday's Boston-New York match head-to-head with the first round of the Boylston Chess Club Championship. While the league is growing in popularity in its second year and the local excitement level has increased with the Blitz's 2-0 start, we Bostonians remain a parochial, tradition bound bunch. Keep in mind, we're talking about 87 years of official history (116 including the "informal" days).

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that current BCC Champion Charles Riordan won't be playing for the Blitz this week; he'll be defending his title. On the other hand, BCC member GM Christiansen will be on the squad. Even the reigning Champion knows who the best player in the room is when Larry stops by the club.

As for your trusty reporter, I'll be playing in the Hauptturnier -- our concurrent poor-man's championship for non-masters who do not qualify for the main event. As a result, this week's coverage won't include any live blogging or crowd reaction descriptions. Sure, one can play over the games after the fact, but at least for me, it's not the same experience as watching live on the internet. That's why we need ICC TIVO -- can you hear me in Pennsylvania?

As for the match itself, there are a couple of story lines to look for:
Here are the line-ups for the match (Boston has White on boards 1 & 3):

GM Larry Christiansen - 2633 vs. GM Pascal Charbonneau - 2500

GM Eugene Perelshteyn - 2614 vs. FM Robert Hess - 2369

NM Vadim Martirosov - 2259 vs. NM Mackenzie Molner - 2367

NM Ilya Krasik - 2162 vs. FM Boris Privman - 2338

That's right, the Blitz are sending out both their big guns this time. As a result, we have a classic clash between a top heavy and a balanced line-up. In my view, the match will likely be won or lost on Boards 1 & 3 and since Boston has White on both I'm inclined to give them a slight edge.

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