Friday, February 09, 2007

USCL folds! NY Metro Chess League announced

I can imagine what they might be saying on Washington State's Bainbridge Island:
"For two years, despite his best efforts the commissioner has been unable to swing a Championship over to his beloved New York Knights. So in desperation he has decided to stack the deck by having 25% of the league hail from the Big Apple and its surrounding environs."
I'm not sure if I could get behind such "Clint"onian thinking, but it is interesting to note that the two new US Chess League expansion teams share the same subway and commuter rail systems as the Knights. Welcome Queens and New Jersey.

First off, let's forget the idea that the league is intended to pit players from different cities against each other. This notion had already been stretched thin by teams like Tennessee, which needed to scour an entire state to put together a competitively challenged team, and Carolina, which while still probably in James Taylor's mind is nonetheless not even a state at all. So now we can add New Jersey (wink! wink!) to the mix -- as if players from Cherry Hill will be making the weekly trek to the team's playing site.

And what about Queens? It's a borough! That's a New York term for a big neighborhood, for those of you in flyover country. It's like forming a second Boston team in Dorchester or Allston. Yes, I know all about the Brooklyn Dodgers, but where are they now?
The geographic centricity of the new teams also required a realignment of the division structure. For 2007, Carolina will be moving back to the Western Division. Now I ask you, how can a division with teams from Miami and Carolina be called the Western Division? West of what? Bermuda? Nova Scotia? Even the Tennesseans realize that their patch of land hasn't been considered the frontier for over 150 years.

Perhaps the commissioner should consider some alternative Division naming conventions:
  1. Refined Geographic - The Northeast Division and the South & West Division

  2. Political - The Blue Division and the Purple Division (Purple? It comprises both red and blue states)

  3. "Ballard"ian - The Biased For Division and the Biased Against Division
And while we're on the topic of names, Globular has posted some suggestions for the new teams. I was thinking Queens could play off of old descriptive notation and try something like Queens Bishop, Queens Rook or Queens Knight Pawn. Frankly Queens Knight sounds best to me though obviously this would be a problem. But come to think of it, with a new team in Queens shouldn't New York be changing their name to Manhattan anyway? So if New York gives Knight to Queens, they can call themselves the Manhattan Transfer. Don't like that one? They could move their playing site to Wall Street and call themselves the Manhattan Exchange.

As for the Garden Staters, why not use their most famous export? The New Jersey Barriers!

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