Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week Five, part two

Philadelphia vs. Queens:

I'm going to guess that this is the closest matchup in USCL history in terms of average rating difference on each board. Will Kudrin get off the schneid, where it is so comfortable? Will I have to solve my own jumble? I will say that it is cool the way Greg always writes "'releases' his latest jumble", rather than "posts". "Releases" evokes an expectant crowd, such as the ones that used to line up/camp out in front of the record store in order to buy the long-awaited next album by the hot group at the earliest opportunity. "Posts", in contrast, suggests another guy with too much time on his hands.

Anyway, too close to call really. So I'll pick Queens, because I live closer to them, which means they live closer to me. Queens, 2.5-1.5.

New Jersey vs. Chicago:

Make new friends, share a few laughs along the way, and win, lose, or draw, be sure to enjoy the game. New Jersey, 3-1.

New York vs. San Francisco:

They're both pretty good. Too bad they have to play each other. At chess, no less. I'll pick New York because it's good for chess when they win. New York, 2.5-1.5.

Arizona vs. Dallas

_ _OO_

O_ _OO

OOO_ _ _

_OO_ _O

Arizona's fans need not have feared, because.......

"_ _ _ _ _ _ _" was "_ _ _ _ "

Arizona, 2.5-1.5.

Seattle vs. Tennessee:

Strong lineup for Tennessee but how will they react to a last-minute lineup switch that leaves them facing Nakamura? I expect they are ready for it. Tennessee, 2.5-1.5.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week Five, part one

Baltimore vs. Boston

Not much to choose from as far as records, momentum, and incentive so I'll cast the forecasters crutches aside and let pure insight be my guide. Boston is rated slightly higher. Boston, 2.5-1.5.

Miami vs. Carolina

OO_ _ _


O_ _OO_

O_ _ _OO

Answer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ THE "_ _ _ _"

But that isn't easy. Miami, 2.5-1.5

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week Four, part two

New Jersey vs. New York

It's no fun if New Jersey wins. Well maybe it is, assuming they are safe enough for the postseason anyway, and a record-setting regular season could heighten playoff fever later. So alright, I guess that's ok. We'll have NJ win this one, 2.5-1.5.

Carolina vs. Queens

OO_ _ _

OO_ _ _

_ _O_OO

O_O_ _O

Coach Jones' top priority was to get his team...

_ _ _ THE _ _ _ _ _ _ _ *

Boston vs. Philadelphia:

Kudrin scored with the Dragon last time, as Jorge got all pinned and shit. But he knows better now. And there's a fair rating edge on 4. Boston by a point.

Dallas vs. Seattle:

Seattle has the champion of the whole USA playing for them. That's about a one-in-75 million probability, the way I figure. That's pretty cool, isn't it. I think so. Seattle, 2.5-1.5

*But maybe not just yet. Queens, 3-1.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week Four, part one

Miami vs. Tennessee:

HAL-le BER-ry. Miami, 2.5-1.5.

Baltimore vs. Arizona:

The war's begun, Alvin Tostig has a son today and he shall be Levon and he shall be a good man. Plus the usual Mountain Time edge. Arizona, 2.5-1.5.

Chicago vs. San Francisco:

If you think the Game of the Week bunch is mesmerized by titles, my eyelids are getting heavy just looking at San Francisco's lineup. Which brings me to my next topic (and the Nics by a point)........

Of all the talents that I lack, the one I most envy in those who possess it is the ability to accomplish things while asleep. I can't count the number of times I've been working on some problem or other, gone to bed in high hope the solution would come to me in my sleep, only to wake up as clueless as ever.

Some people, though, seem to have the knack. Elias Howe came up with the idea that made his sewing machine work in a dream. Coleridge scribbled down "Kubla Khan" directly upon waking from a dream (albeit an opium-fueled one). Paul McCartney woke up one morning with the tune that became "Yesterday" in his head.

In chess, David Bronstein came up with an opening novelty in his sleep that was a smashing success in its oneiric debut. Karpov once dreamt of a strong line for his opponent from an adjourned position and so was able to study it some before resuming the game.

I often have dreams in which I am playing chess but generally there is something very improbable about the game. Very often, I somehow am playing Black in a game where I had been White a few moments earlier. In one recent dream, there were clams on the board where one would normally expect pawns. However, last night I played a game that made more sense than any other game I remember dreaming and since it is the only game I have played in a while I thought I'd share it here. I am playing White and my opponent is Larry Christiansen.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.e5 d4

The move order may have been different, but this is where we were after four moves. Now I played something like Qb3 and a friend who was reading an openings book told me that Leonid Stein called my move "lackluster", and I can't really argue with him. I don't remember if my friend then told me the right move or if I figured it out myself, but I think it was the latter.

5. Qc2!

To appreciate the strength of this move, you have to understand that White's h-pawn is suddenly off the board and so is Black's f-pawn, and Black's e- and d- pawns are somehow back on their original squares (see diagram).

On ...Nh6, 6.Bd3 is pretty crushing. I don't know if I saw this at the time but I assume that Stein did.

5....g6 6.Rxh7 Rxh7 7.Qxg6+ Rf7 8.e6! dxe 9.Ne5! Nh6 10.d4

...and Black will be defenseless after ...Nd7 (or ...Nc6) 11. Bb5, which I would certainly have played if I had stayed asleep any longer.

So don't give up on your dreams. One of these nights, you might get lucky.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week Three

Dallas vs. Boston:

It turns out that if you lean over and look at the side on this computer, there are various outlets and drives, and one of them accommodates a mouse. So I had the use of a mouse this week and was able to go all Raphael.

O_ _ _O


_OOO_ _

OO_ _O_

THE MIGHTY _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _/ _ _ _ DEEP

(Dallas, 2.5-1.5)

Queens vs. New York:

There hasn't been a more dependable Stonewall since the 18th North Carolina emptied their rifles on the Old Mountain Road in Chancellorsville. New York, 2.5-1.5. Yeeeeee-haw!

Baltimore vs. Philadelphia:

If David Zwerling of Portland, Oregon, followed the USCL, he wouldn't have had to write "Parade" magazine to ask "are there any women chess masters?" But though he would then have saved himself a stamp, "Walter Scott" might not have felt he was really earning his $300,000 a year, so maybe it's for the best after all.

As for this match, I don't like to talk about teams that are "due", so I won't. But come on, Philly can't really lose again*. 2.5-1.5, Inventors.

Tennessee vs. Chicago:

Break up the Tempo. Or change it, if that works better. Either way they are making a mockery of the competitive balance this league was supposedly built on. Meanwhile, my job is easier, so there's some silver lining. Tennessee, 2.5-1.5

Miami vs. San Francisco:

I see the Mechanics putting their grip on the match and dealing the Sharks their first losing session. Frisco (yes I'm not a native. I think it sounds cool), 2.5-1.5.

Arizona vs. Seattle:

Assuming Hikaru is over the most famous cold since Napoleon's at Borodino, Seattle looks a comfortable favorite. Scorpions get slugged, 2.5-1.5.

*. can they?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week Two, part two

Please don't link to this until there is more here. I'm just putting this up for the record and will edit it later. My picks won't change, though, they are Chicago SF Boston and Arizona by the same 2.5-1.5. I know the round has started, but I relayed them to Greg earlier through a third party, I hope, just to avert a scandal such as when Howard Cosell said "I think (Mr. X) probably won (Olympic boxing match) 3-2" but we'll see", just after he, along with the whole world watching on television, heard the ringside judge announce just that into a microphone.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Week Two, part one

I've decided to do a quick (albeit last-minute) jumble today because the other thing I thought maybe I'd do I think probably I won't, at least not right now.

_OO_ _


_ _ _OO_

O_O_ _O

Why was the captain worried? It was.....

A _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _

(The slash simply marks the space between words)

Philly, Baltimore, Seattle. Philly by two, the others by one.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week One, part two

First of all, I apologize that the art this week does not meet the high standards you have come to expect. I am drawing with a touchpad mouse, as I could not figure out how to upload from etch-a-sketch. Also the well is running dry but I figured I'd do a jumble this week at least since all the matches look kind of lopsided and I don't feel I should have to be different just for the sake of being different. Leave that to the wannabes still trying to make a name. I pick all the rating favorites (New York, Baltimore, Philly, Arizona) to win by the same 2.5-1.5 score.

OOO_ _

O_O_ _

_ _ _OOO

_ _O_OO

Cobra fans feared for their player's sanity seeing him try to handle.......

THE "_ _ _ _ _ _ _" _ _ _ _