Sunday, September 16, 2007

Monday Night Prediction -- Week 4

So for the first time in the USCL we have a double grandmaster duel scheduled in what I have a feeling will likely be the most watched match in the league’s short history. Based on the teams’ records an outsider might view this as a mismatch having in one corner the preseason, yet currently struggling, favorites the New York Knights who are treading very closely on the edge of a hole they very likely won’t be able to crawl out of should anything more go wrong. In the other corner, we have the red hot Boston Blitz, the only undefeated team in the league who including last season are a team which has been on a complete tear. While the records of these two teams may not be similar, there last season’s records weren’t exactly similar when they met in the semifinals with the Knights dismissing the Blitz’s regular season dominance with a fairly convincing win. Could it happen again here? Well let’s take a look at each board.

Board 1: Last week’s encounter between Bhat and Nakamura shattered the viewer record for any USCL game, and I have a feeling this week’s Nakamura vs. Christiansen battle may do one better. Not only two of the best players in the league (and country), but both with fairly aggressive styles, it seems likely we’ll be in for a very exciting struggle. I have a feeling Nakamura will be out for blood after his last week’s disappointment and that’s likely to add even more flavor to this game. I must as I almost always do, give the edge to the GM who has White though. (Edge NY)

Board 2: The second GM duel with Perelshteyn facing off against Charbonneau. When the two of them met last season, Perelshteyn had yet to lose a game in the league, but Charbonneau put an end to that in fairly convincing fashion. This of course is only one example of Charbonneau’s overall dominance of Boston since the league’s inception whether he has White or Black, and it seems foolish based on all recent events to discount history when evaluating any match. However, Charbonneau has yet to face Perelshteyn with Black in the league so who can be sure if he can continue to hold his mantra over them in this situation. Though I have to give the edge to Perelshteyn since he has White, due to the history I must think it’s only a very slight one. (Slight Edge BOS)

Board 3: Bonin facing off against Shmelov. This seems like an encounter which will be decided in large part what form Bonin happens to be in on this night as he seems to have some consistency issues, playing some great games and some fairly weak ones in the league. Shmelov on the other hand in his brief league stint has performed quite well so far and using current ratings, even has the rating edge in this game. Bonin does have White though, and given that this game might hinge on which Bonin shows up at the board, a factor I really am not prepared to speculate on here, I’ll just play it safe and call this one even. (Even)

Board 4: Finally we have Williams taking on Vicary. Vicary making her USCL debut and it really couldn’t be at a more important juncture for her team with them really unable to afford another defeat. Williams has looked very strong though in his first two games defeating two players (Lee and Wilson) who have very impressive league records and once again using current ratings, he seems to have a big edge there too. Boston definitely has to hold a fair edge on this board. (Edge BOS)

Overall, I’d be inclined to give a slight edge over the board to the Boston team, but of course judging by the fact that the Knights have seemed to have an edge over the board in all three of their matches and have yet to win one clearly shows there are other factors involved in any match’s result. Each week I’ve also picked the Knights to win also and somehow I haven’t scored any points in the prediction contest in those beliefs. It seems fairly certain based on my overall predicting record that if I choose to abandon them in that regard at this point that they’ll keep me scoreless in predicting their matches for spite by drawing or winning. Based on that and the fact that Charbonneau’s teams have shown a good ability to often rise above the odds especially in very important matches, I think I will call this a 2-2 tie.

(FM Ron Young picks Boston to win 2.5 - 1.5).

Prediction Results – Week 3

The fair non-impressiveness of us USCL prognosticators continues, but at least we seem to be making the contest amongst us interesting with our simultaneous lack of success.

Total after Week 3:

Arun Sharma (+6 This Week): 24
Ron Young (+9): 23
Josh Gutman (+4): 19

SF ties NY 2 - 2

AS/RY: NY 2.5 – 1.5 +0
JG: SF 2.5 – 1.5 +0

BOS over PHI 3.5 – 0.5

AS/RY: BOS 2.5 – 1.5 +2
JG: Tie +0

BAL ties NJ 2 - 2

JG/AS/RY: BAL 2.5 – 1.5 +0

CAR over MIA 2.5 – 1.5

RY: Correct +3
JG: Tie +0
AS: MIA 2.5 – 1.5 +0

DAL over QNS 3 - 1

JG/AS/RY: DAL 2.5 – 1.5 +2

SEA over TN 3.5 – 0.5

JG/AS/RY: SEA 3 - 1 +2

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