Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week Nine, part two

I have postponed even thinking about these matches until an hour and a half before game time, as part of my new disciplined approach to life. The next step is to find something useful to do while I am avoiding this. Maybe next week.

Philadelphia vs. New Jersey:

Kudrin must be thirsting for revenge on the whole world but especially Benjamin. I say he gets it. Shahade kind of has to win for my upset special to work. But why shouldn't she? Back when pitchers used to go nine innings sometimes, people won with black sometimes. Philly by the length of Geno's low-fat menu.

New York vs. Baltimore:

I heard that Kacheishvili's wife was having a baby last time, so congrats and congrats and I hope you play better this week. New York by the breadth of Bloomberg's humility.

Boston vs. Miami:

I pick Boston to lose, but not to be shut out. The Sharks by the length of a Miami winter.

Seattle vs. Arizona





_ _ _ _ _ WAS _ _ _     _ _ _ _ HIS _ _ _ _

Seattle, 3-1.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week Nine, part one

Queens vs. Carolina:

In baseball, no one could care any less about a late-season game betwen two teams not going anywhere. But in chess, we know that each time we sit down to watch, we may witness the creation of a masterpiece that will be talked about long after Dempsey-Firpo, Ali-Foreman and Andrew-Krasik have been forgotten. I pick Queens to squeeze out the odd Botticelli.

Dallas vs. Chicago

I figured this should be the jumble match so I had to wait till last minute to allow for more lineup changes.

_ _OOO_

OOO_ _ _

O_O_ _


_ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _/_ _

So Chicago by a pizza crust.

San Francisco vs. Tennessee:

If you want to pull off a big upset, the first thing is to make sure you are outrated by as as much as possible. SO far so good. But I don't think the necessary intangibles are present tonight. SF by three lengths.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Week Eight

First, a note on winning margins: "vanishing neck", though its quality is recognized, does grow weaker with use, and things like "stroke", "wicket" and "point after touchdown" might even break the first time. So unless a specific other score is expressly given, 2.5-1.5 is always implied.

Monday, October 19:

New Jersey vs. Boston

USSR co-champion, USA champ, plus score vs. Kasparov, and now Board One in a USCL match. It's been some career for Boris Gulko. With all that, he can't really begrudge Boston a match victory. Boston.

Dallas vs. Miami:

It's hard to figure what to make of the various time odds in this match what with the increments added each move. I propose simple material odds in the future. In my own long career, I was fortunate in catching the latter days of the sealed move era but even I missed out on material odds, announcing checkmates, "gardez le dame" and abandoning games due to the lateness of the hour. That aside, my impression is that Miami has a lot of experience with time odds so I give them the edge here. Miami.

Chicago vs. Arizona

Arizona, because I don't need attention.

Wednesday, October 21:

New York vs. Carolina:

_ _O_O

O_ _OO

O_ _ _ _O

_ _ _OO_

...HE COULD NOT _ _ _ _ /"_ _ _ _ _"

(as usual, I need the slash to maintain the space. Also, I know this is contradicted by history but I don't want to be obvious about everything) New York.

Philadelphia vs. Baltimore

Shahade is making her season debut but Defibaugh is newer to me. I looked it (the name) up and found that it is an "Americanization" of something. Must have been pretty foreign before, eh? Actually, it apparently comes from "Dieffenbach", which must be either a custom-lobotomized version of Crafty, or German, and the Germans have been in this country long enough for Benjamin Franklin to...remark upon their qualities. But that's neither here nor there (note to that comic guy: no real person ever said "good to be hither"; it is ungrammatical and always has been). What is here and there, though, is that the Franklins hold the key to this match in their bifocals and you can put that in your stove and print it. Philadelphia.

San Francisco vs. Queens:

This match features the return of the immigrant to his second home. I think Queens will celebrate with a win, but in any case they will celebrate. Queens.

Tennessee vs. Seattle:

It is tough, I am sure, being from Tennessee and constantly ridiculed as a diverse bunch of cosmopolites, but I do think the hootenanny misses something without the balalaikas. Seattle, 3-1.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week Seven, part two

Though Monday night's match results did not do much for my batting average, they did at least remove the pressure of picking an "upset of the week", because that has already happened.

Boston vs. Queens:

I admit that I may have picked against Queens in the past because of the old rivalry between Queens and the Bronx over which is the lamest outer borough besides Staten Island (which doesn't really count). This week, though, it's because Boston is just better. The Blitz by a stroke.

Baltimore vs. New Jersey:

If you ever looked at this listing of old Soviet club championships, you were probably confused by the absence of the 1974 Spartak club championship. The results were suppressed because Kapengut and Nukhim Rashkovsky outscored Tigran Petrosian! Well, consider it suppressed no longer. Meanwhile, Geocities is about to experience some suppression of its own. How is that for poetic justice? The only thing that could make life better would be if Nukhim were on the team instead because that'd be some explosive Jumble material. New Jersey by a length.

Chicago vs. Tennessee

Tennessee may think they are only hurting themselves by underperforming but they are hurting me as well. STOP IT. The Tempo by one ply.

Seattle vs. Miami

Seattle, not because of the revenge factor but just because they are stronger. Next time, it'll be the revenge factor. The Sluggers by majority decision.

Arizona vs. San Francisco:





"_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _"/ _ _ _ _ _ _

(the slash is to make the separation clear)

And Arizona by a wicket.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week Seven, part one

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the Henry Hudson Parkway (for it is in New York City that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. Soon my mother's old Buick began to stall, and we were stranded somewhere around 130th Street hoping for help to arrive, or at least, nothing at all to happen.

Help arrived, we were towed to a side street and somehow eventually got to the Hell's Kitchen hotel just in time for me to avoid a first-round forfeit. I went on to beat the lower-rated blind guy, and then to share first place in the U1600 tourney for a prize of $2250. Meanwhile, in the concurrent NYC championship, Lev Alburt, Vitaly Zaltsman, Joel Benjamin et al. were fighting it out over nine days for $500. I felt like a kid at Woodrow Roosevelt High School, where the Joker had rigged the milk machine to dispense silver dollars (only where was Susie?). "Kid, there is no easy life in chess" advised the Hoffmann. Was he right? In Chou En-Lai's words, it is too soon to tell. In any case, thanks for the ride, Mom. And a million other things, but this is a chess blog and I'm not much of a memoirist. RIP. New York and Dallas, 3-1.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week Six

Before getting to this week's matches, I'd like to report that I got to make a risqué pun Sunday morning (and what did you accomplish?). I had rested my newspaper on the counter of the local coffee place while awaiting my order, and the girl behind it read the headline about how David Letterman had profaned the Ed Sullivan Theater with a "secret bedroom" that he sometimes shared with attractive young female employees. I was mildly surprised at her expression of disapproval, because firstly who cares, and secondly she is foreign-born and not always up on every aspect of basic American pop culture. So I asked, "disappointed?" and she said, yes, but supposed that it was just "a guy thing" (she does have the American idiom down). The middle-aged (i.e., older than me) woman on the customer side of the counter agreed, saying "it's in their genes", to which I replied "if only we could keep it there". Note that this pun would not have worked online due to the spelling difference. I guess real life still has its uses.

Monday, October 5:

New York vs. Baltimore:

If you've been paying attention lately, you'd have noticed that New York not only wins, but they win in ways that Keres, Smyslov, and Chess Challenger 7 could only dream of. I pick them to win here, 2.5-1.5, but only incidentally, as a means to a higher end.

Chicago vs. Philadelphia:

I don't want to overdramatize, so I'll say simply that nonstandard times call for nonstandard measures. Both teams desperately (oops, drama. Sorry!) need this match but Chicago went with a conventional kind of shakeup, where you add a grandmaster to the lineup, while Philly is trying something a bit off the beaten path. What, there's an elephant in this room? All right, even God had to rest after six days, and his were a lot more successful than Kudrin's first five. So Alex just did what Mike had to do, or vice-versa. Will it work? I say...yeah. 2.5.-1.5, Philly.

Arizona vs. New Jersey:

This is a rare opportunity to pick New Jersey to lose, so I have to take it. Nothing personal but they think the Statue of Liberty should belong to them yet you never hear them say anything about Staten Island. Arizona, 2.5-1.5.

Wednesday, October 7:

Carolina vs. Boston:

I had not heard of Anya Corke before but her Wikipedia page informs me that she is the top player from Hong Kong who is currently playing for England. And as you know, that is saying something (only...what?). Boston, 3-1.

Tennessee vs. Dallas:

I know it is generally fallacious to think that somebody losing last week is now "due" to win and therefore a better bet than he'd have been had he won. Again, though, "generally". I think Shabalov is the exception and he really will bear down this time and no fooling around. Last week, a certain grandmaster in the audience referred to three consecutive moves of Shaba's as "fishy" and "crazy" and "weak". I was tempted to say "oh, my!", but restrained myself. On a chess-related note, I was hoping that Mikhailuk in that game, rather than the simple recapture on move 44 (which did win a few moves later), would play ...Rxd1+ 45. Kxd1 Kxb6 46. Bd8+ Ka6 47. Bxa5 Kxa5 and Black promotes. But win first, please me second. Back to this week's match, Tennessee 2.5-1.5.

San Francisco vs. Miami:

O_ _O_



OO_ _ _O

"_ _ _ _ _ 'n' _ _ _ _ _"

(But...will he get his wish? I don't know...San Fran, 2.5-1.5)

Queens vs. Seattle:

I'm tired of always having to write "2.5-1.5" but unless I want to pick a tie (and if playing a tie is like kissing your sister, then predicting a tie is like daydreaming about it), then I kind of have to most of the time, because it takes a big superiority before 3-1 is likely and that gives me room to be really, really, wrong. So I'm going to start using different phrases to indicate a close match and trust that the reader is smart enough to get my meaning. Seattle by a vanishing neck.