Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Will Kelleher be odd man out for the Blitz?

With less than a week to go before the start of the 2007 US Chess League season, an analysis of the Boston Blitz's roster suggests that FM Bill Kelleher is likely to have a light workload this season; that is, if Manager Matt Phelps attempts to put his highest average rating lineups on the boards each week. On the other hand, the team's decision to use the October '06 rating supplement will likely mean a heavy workload for NM Denys Shmelov, whose rating for USCL purposes (2251) is almost well over 100 points below his current playing strength.

As a reminder, four person teams must have an average rating less than 2401 for USCL matches. In addition, for 2007, players rated above 2580 count as 2580 for average rating purposes. With these rules in mind, let's take a look at the lineup options Manager Phelps will be mulling over each week.

Two GM Options

If GMs Christiansen and Perelshteyn are on the team, then there are no legal lineups which include IM Sammour-Hasbun, FM Kelleher or NM Martirosov. Therefore, there are only three feasible two GM teams, including one that clocks in between 2400-2401:
  • Christiansen, Perelshteyn, Shmelov, Krasik - 2400.5
  • Christiansen, Perelshteyn, Shmelov, Williams - 2396.5
  • Christiansen, Perelshteyn, Krasik, Williams - 2381.5
One GM Options

Replacing one of the GMs with IM Sammour-Hasbun brings NM Martirosov into play, but lineups with FM Kelleher are still not feasible:
  • Either GM, Sammour-Hasbun, Martirosov, Krasik - 2400
  • Either GM, Sammour-Hasbun, Martirosov, Williams - 2395.75
  • Either GM, Sammour-Hasbun, Shmelov, Krasik -2395
  • Either GM, Sammour-Hasbun, Shmelov, Williams - 2391
  • Either GM, Sammour-Hasbun, Krasik, Williams - 2376
With one GM and FM Kelleher on Board 2, there is only one feasible option with an average rating above 2360. While it is not as strong on paper as any of the lineups above, the idea of playing NM Shmelov on Board 4 may be intriguing against certain opponents:
  • Either GM, Kelleher, Martirosov, Shmelov - 2371
No GM Options

The best lineup for the Blitz which includes no GMs has a lower average rating than all of the teams mentioned above. I suspect it will be used only if neither GM is available and not by design:
  • Sammour-Hasbun, Kelleher, Martirosov, Shmelov - 2365.5
Other Options

I've not considered the flexibility that using the alternates - IM Foygel and NM Riordan - might provide, though under the rules it is important to use them judiciously, if at all. However, there is one more obscure possibility which might be legal under the rules. According to League Rule A6:
Any team will be allowed to use a player rated Under 2000 for any match even if they are not on the team roster. This will add flexibility in case there is some emergency. Please note that this should only occur in case of emergency and should never be a calculated decision.
Now, I have no reason to know when or why there might be an emergency with the Blitz, but if you are rated 1885, you might want to drop Phelps a line:
  • Christiansen, Perelshteyn, Sammour-Hasbun, Unknown Player rated 1885 - 2400.75
You can't get any closer than that!

Disclaimer: BCC Weblog provides independent coverage of the United States Chess League. It is not affiliated with the USCL or the Boston Blitz.

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