Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blitz seek Canadian pest removal service

Before you give them a call, I just want to be clear that Boston's US Chess League team is not looking for a company from Canada that sprays for cockroaches, but instead, someone or something that can help them remove a Canadian pest from New York City.

We are going on three years now, and still Boston has no answer for GM Pascal Charbonneau. So, in spite of solid efforts across the boards on Monday night, the Blitz could only come away with a drawn match after Pascal managed a win over GM Perelshteyn. Boston still leads the East and New York remains two and a half points behind, but in a league where it doesn't take much to make the playoffs, fans can't be too comfortable about the fact that New York has one player the Blitz simply can not defeat.
Enough is enough, I say. Let's stop beating our heads against a wall trying to take Pascal down over the board and, instead, start brainstorming ideas to ensure that Boston won't have to face Pascal on the Knights in the future. Here are a few thoughts:

Trade - Get the Knights to trade Charbonneau to Tennessee for the entire Tempo's roster. New York will gain a large number of middle board options and surely the Tempo players will benefit from a change of scenery. Tennessee fans won't notice much difference, as their new one-man team will still lose most every match by a 3-1 score or greater.

Bribery - It's tough to make a living as a chess professional, so I have to imagine that Pascal has his price. If all Blitz fans were willing to donate to a Pascal Charbonneau support fund, I'm sure we could a raise enough to get him to leave the Knights. Sign me up for $50.

Rule Change - This is the United States Chess League. Let's make foreign born players compete in their own league. It's true that this would impact many players on many teams, but in support of this important goal, some collateral damage is acceptable.

Government Intervention - Encourage the US Congress to declare war on Canada. Pascal will either feel compelled to return home to defend his country or else we'll be able to hold him indefinitely as an enemy combatant.

Coercion - Break into his apartment and leave a horse head in his bed. He must have watched movies growing up, so I'm sure he'll get the message.

That's a starter list for Blitz management to work with. Help them out with more ideas.
In case you haven't seen it yet (links have been previously posted in the comments here and at USCL news and gossip), check out this musical homage to Blitz 4th Board NM Chris Williams. Lizzy mentioned her favorite lines from the song, but I was most amused by this sentence on the page itself: "Chris is Awesome has 0 friends."
With the Bionic Lime legal troubles behind us, we've been able to get back to work on the Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings. This week we introduce version 2 of the methodology.

With several weeks of data now available, we can now incorporate the concept of momentum -- how well has a team been doing recently. To accommodate this new variable, we've eliminated Game Score with Black, which many people thought wasn't all that relevant to begin with and which was rarely a deciding factor in rankings anyway. Here are the Week 4 rankings under this new methodology:

Original US Chess League Quantitative Power Rankings v.2
After Week 4
Format - (Match Record, Scaled Score, Last Week's Rank)
  1. Boston (3.5, .893, 1st)

  2. Seattle (3.0, .842, 2nd) - Now I don't want to claim that the QPRs have predictive value, but it's worth noting that we had the Sluggers ranked #2 last week when their match record was below the Destiny's. Everyone else's rankings are just catching up to their strength this week.

  3. Dallas (3.0, .715, 3rd)

  4. Carolina (2.5, .610, 5th) - The Cobras have been quietly moving up the list.

  5. Baltimore (2.5, .607, 7th)

  6. San Francisco (2.0, .499, 4th)

  7. Queens (1.5, .380, 9th)

  8. Philadelphia (2.0, .366, 6th) - The Inventors are the first victim of the new momentum variable, having gone 0-2 in the past two weeks.

  9. New Jersey (1.5, .308, 8th)

  10. New York (1.0, .278, 10th) - Despite two draws in a row, Paul Hoffman's despair still seems warranted.

  11. Miami (1.0, .216, 12th)

  12. Tennessee (0.5, .063, 11th) - I guess it was inevitable.
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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