Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week Five, part two

New York vs. Manhattan:

I once arrived about 40 minutes late for a game against Walter Shipman, and eventually lost. In the post-mortem he attributed the move that got me into trouble as likely due to the time I had sacrificed. I didn't see why time was so much likelier the culprit than faulty understanding, but I suspected it was his way of chiding me for being so late, even though outwardly he didn't act offended. Anyway, the lesson was clear, but apparently not to everyone. Manhattan.

Philadelphia vs. Baltimore:

Damon Runyon once wrote "the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet." At least, if you don't have to beat a point spread or lay money odds. I don't. Philadelphia.

Chicago vs. St. Louis:

This jumble came hard, and it is just as hard to say what the point of it is. Even so, I would be remiss in not thanking Yahoo's "search assist" feature for its help. I still use Yahoo as my home page, simply because my primary email is there, simply because it already was when Google started to take over and there didn't seem enough point in changing to change. It is likely that Google's search assist would have served just as well, but I don't think I need to thank it for what it would have done when it didn't actually do anything. One for the Ethicist's column.

The "surprise answer", to use the language of the newspaper Jumble™,® or whatever (to give them their due), is 7,6, though the end got slighty cut off in the picture. Chicago "FTW", as the kids say.

San Francisco vs. Seattle:

In the Cold War classic "How to Beat the Russians at Chess", the late Edmar Mednis wrote "the Russians, though far from invincible with White, are more likely to lose with Black". Twenty-two years after the Berlin Wall came down, I think we can recognize and state out loud that the Russians are people just as we are, and that we Americans too, though far from invincible with White, are more likely to lose with Black. I think that Kraai will not lose and that the Mechanics will win, but I only have to be right about the latter thing, and really, what's going to happen if I'm wrong twice?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week Five, part one

New England vs. Boston:

Last week's Kacheishvili-Sammour game was featured in the New York Times on Sunday the 25th (yesterday, if you are reading this hot off the press). It shared the space with a couple of other news items and there was a partial game from the recent Women's Grand Prix in Russia, but K-S was the star attraction. That, IMO, is even more prestigious than being the sole feature, because it makes clear that a choice was made and the USCL game deemed worthy of most attention.

I just noticed that this is already the second meeting of the year for these teams. Imagine if the Brooklyn Dodgers were done with the New York Giants by the end of May? Perhaps the league feared street riots in the event of a late-season showdown. Of course, if the Nor'easters don't step it up soon, this may turn out to be late-season after all, for practical purposes. I say they do. New England by a NECCO wafer.

New Jersey vs. Carolina:

The Cobras by a tongue-length.

Arizona vs. Miami:

Another rematch. Maybe the schedule maker is just not very imaginative. I take a certain satisfaction in the fact that I had the experience in my chess career of sealing a move before the green movement to save the envelope came along. But sadly, having a game adjudicated seems destined to remain unchecked on my bucket list. The Mateer-Pelaez game in Week One, though, finished just this way! In Anno Domini 2011, or this year, whatever your religious persuasion. I may have made this my jumble game had I noticed it earlier, but maybe next year. Anyway, I say Miami takes its revenge today. By a flagler.

Dallas vs. Los Angeles:

I guess when you're overwhelmed by such weird letters as C, Y, and J, it seems as though the order hardly matters, but I am pretty sure it is "Patrycza" and not "Patrcyza". However, I am not Polish, even though ten to fifteen thousand years ago a patrilineal ancestor of mine of European origin was born on the grassy steppes in the region of present-day Ukraine or Southern Russia, so I could well be mistaken. The Vibe by a shiver.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week Four, part two

Manhattan vs. New Jersey:

And the Sauce will be boss.

Carolina vs. New York:

Last week saw the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and there were many solemn commemorations, but I now will share a more light-hearted chess-related remembrance of the WTC. One day during the Kasparov-Anand world championship match, the day's game had just ended, and a woman asked where the bathroom was. She was pointed to a room with the word "black" taped to the door. This did in fact match her approximate skin color, but she was nonetheless taken aback, as it was already 1995 and she was comfortably north of the Mason-Dixon line. She briefly rationalized that a hundred-odd floors above street level, the winds of history might blow somewhat differently. Eventually, though, she realized that she had been directed to one of the player bathrooms, since they began to shut down the space as soon as the day's game was over.

I allowed on Monday that to call my pick of New England over Philadelphia an "upset special" would be grossly hyperbolic, but in light of the 0.5-3.5 outcome, I have changed my mind. That was the "upset special". If you missed it, buy your ticket now for next week's. New York.

St. Louis vs. Arizona:

St. Louis's lineup of GM, IM, FM, Untitled is ├Žsthetically pleasing, but Arizona's IM, IM, FM, FM, while perhaps more commonplace, is nonetheless in quiet good taste. Scorpions.

Los Angeles vs. Chicago:

I may be missing a golden opportunity here, but I used "Amanov" in one of last year's jumbles. I do reserve the right, though, to use either Amanov's first name, if I learn how to pronounce them. On the other hand, maybe it's better not to learn the offical correct pronunciation, because that way, I get to decide. Anyway, let us hope that the losing Amanov deals with defeat better than I did when Angelo won the battle of the Youngs. Chicago.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week Four, part one

Philadelphia vs. New England:

I don't mean to get off cheaply on my promise by picking an upset that's not really an upset, but as I don't know Wednesday's lineups just now, I can't promise that won't happen. New England.

Baltimore vs. Boston:

Ironically, though the term "sneakers" for what are also known as "tennis shoes" is thought to have originated in Boston, it is Baltimore whose lineup spells out KEDS reading down. I therefore pick the latter to walk over the former.

Miami vs. San Francisco:

I know it's boring to pick just by adding numbers, but with three Mechanics having Wikipedia pages to just one Shark, it's too convenient to resist. San Francisco.

Seattle vs. Dallas:

Ok, this one is even a bit more strained than usual. But at least it's in color. Dallas.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week Three, part two

New York vs. Boston:

Are you ready to jummmmblllle? Well, you'll have to wait, because I'm going to begin with a riddle: what is black and white and green all over? Maybe next time, after somebody shows me how, I'll hide the answer in a spoiler box, but since I can't figure it out myself, I'm just going to give you the answer straight out, namely.....this jumble! I saved a sheet of paper by drawing this on the other side of last week's. Unfortunately, some of the old puzzle shows through and gives the new one sort of a dirty appearance. I cleaned it up a bit with the paint program but I stopped when it got complicated and I got tired, so I guess I won't repeat this experiment. Sorry, rain forest, I did try.

And New York by a (slightly dirty) sanchez.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia:

This looks closer than it looks, as far as I can see. But even if New Jersey is underrated, Philly may yet be accurately rated. Philadelphia by an erving.

Dallas vs. St. Louis:

In the old days on ICC, there was a particular clique within a particular demi-monde that used to talk about the "Hua", which I recall came from a Brazilian cartoon and was something like "the Force" in the Star Wars universe. But this is not Brazil, is certainly not a cartoon, and is totally not the old days. I pick Dallas by a spanarkle.

Los Angeles vs. San Francisco:

I think I should really try to pick at least one upset each week, to liven things up some. But as I've just decided this right now, I only have one match to choose from this week, and that isn't fair. Therefore, San Francisco by a cepeda.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week Three, part one

Manhattan vs. Carolina:

I have missed a couple of chances to look smart by picking Carolina. But I really would not like to be thought smarter than I am. Manhattan.

New England vs. Baltimore:

They say you're only as good as your last match, which would mean New England isn't very. But I say you're only as good as your next match. Wow, that's almost good enough to go into the fortune cookie business for. New England.

Seattle vs. Miami:

Seattle by a Mumphrey.

Arizona vs. Chicago:

In Winston Churchill's WW II memoir, he recounted a little chat he had with Stalin at one of the Big Three meetings in which he mentioned a one-day trip to NYC that Molotov had taken after a conference in Washington had broken up. He felt suddenly remorseful when he realized that he may have got Molotov in trouble with his boss. Churchill reports, though, that Stalin made a joke out of it, saying, "no no, you're wrong, he did not go to New York. He went to Chicago to be with his fellow gangsters." Everybody laughed, and Churchill felt relieved at apparently not having done any real damage. But in the book "Nikita Khrushchev Remembers", written during the author's forced-but-not-too-uncomfortable retirement, Khrushchev reports that ever afterward, Stalin suspected Molotov of being an American agent. And on the Dick Cavett show in the early 1970's, the French actor Alain Delon told of how at the age of about fifteen he had stowed (stown?) away on a ship to America, with plans to go to Chicago, which he associated with Dillinger and Capone. Unfortunately, Cavett, who had already corrected Delon on a couple of minor matters of pronunciation, corrected him yet again, as Delon had given the "g" in "Dillinger" the swallowing treatment, as in "swallowing". After this, Delon didn't feel like talking much and the interview suffered.

Anyway, the point is that I was thinking of making some comparison of Chicago and Arizona in which the former is the home of working gangsters in their prime while the latter is where they retire, thanks in part to the government's witness protection program HALLELUJAH, MY COMPUTER CRASHED BUT EVERYTHING HERE WAS SAVED because that seemed more interesting than simply pointing to Chicago's hundred-point average rating edge, but it wasn't coming together too easily and there are the twin considerations of certainly overdone and possibly offensive, but I thought I would illustrate just how wide-spread is Chicago's gangster image for the sake of anyone in the future who needs to fill space writing about Chicago. Chicago.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Week Two, part two

Boston vs. Manhattan:

And the prognosticator of the century picks Boston.

Baltimore vs. New Jersey:

New Jersey, because chess is 99% emotional.

Chicago vs. Miami:

Chicago still looks very good despite their late lineup switch and subsequent time odds. White pieces on the two boards where they have about a 300 point rating bulge looks like a great chance for a 2-0 lead and a 2-0 lead is a very promising start to a match. Bet Chi, and don’t be bashful about it.

San Francisco vs. Dallas:

If I were perfect, this matchup would put even my infallibility to the test. Pretty scary. But I’ll just close my eyes and pick Fs;;sd.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week Two, part one

New England vs. New York:

Now that the pressure of the never-losing-and-usually-winning streak is off, New England is free to deal with the pressure of possibly starting this season 0-2. I think there is a lesson here. New York by a hoffmann.

Philadelphia vs. Carolina:

Carolina's giving time odds was an unfortunate accident, but my picking them despite it would be an out-and-out dis. I am more respectful that that. Philadelphia by a rind.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles:

LA by a robert d. james.

Arizona vs. Seattle:

When Seattle is on the right, their boxing kangaroo logo faces away from the opponents. That's not very intimidating. Arizona by two shakeds of a scorp's tail.