Sunday, September 14, 2008

Monday Night Predictions -- Week 4

Once again, two very good matches for Monday this week, with the only undefeated team, Queens, taking on the perhaps rejuvenated Kingfishers as well as two other hopefully surging teams, the Sluggers, who managed to draw as underdogs last week, and the Blaze, coming from having drawn against the powerful Mechanics and sweeping the Tempo, also squaring off. Let's jump right into examining both matches.

Baltimore vs Queens

Both times these two teams met last season, a fairly dominating 3 – 1 victory for Queens occurred, and if ratings are at all reliable, there may well be a repeat of that in this match, but let's look at it board by board.

Board 1: Blehm vs Vovsha. These two did meet in one of those two matches last year where they fought to a standstill. Rating-wise, I find little to find any advantage in, but just a slight one to the White pieces as normal. (Slight Edge BAL)

Board 2: Lenderman vs Enkhbat. Well Lenderman is 3 – 0 in the league thus far, has a large rating advantage, and the White pieces so you can probably guess how I'll score this one. Enkbhat is defintely a very solid player though and certainly one who could pull a surprise here so I doubt anyone should count this one before it actually ends, but you know where the advantage goes nonetheless. (Edge QNS)

Board 3: Zimmer vs Zhao. A very tricky game to call (and no, it's not because both players' last names happen to start with a Z and how rare that might be). I feel that way since I sort of have the sense that both players are really capable of playing at drastically different levels in the league. Zimmer, I think has shown that simply from his actual league play as he's had some tough games in the past, but last week had a spectacular effort against a player who very rarely loses in the league. I feel Zhao is probably similar due to his general style and the fact that he's a young player so that really makes this game quite an enigma. Zimmer does have the current rating advantage and the White pieces, but given Zhao's recent super impressive play (including last week's near GOTW winning game), I think I'll call this a wash. (Even)

Board 4: Thaler vs Harris. Not as much to really say here as Thaler has the rating advantage and the White pieces, but this time I'm hard pressed to find any hidden edge for the opposing side (the fact that this is Harris's USCL debut could have something to do with that). Once again, you know where the advantage is here. (Edge QNS)

So obviously I think Queens has the over the board edge. Typically I would then pick this as the narrow victory for them, but given their current hot streak, the fact that this match scored this way twice last year, and that I really need to change something if I want to remove the shame I feel from how badly I'm doing in the Prediction Contest, I'll go ahead and pick Queens 3 – 1

Seattle vs Chicago

Board 1: Nakamura vs Mitkov. First off, I should mention that Hikaru friendly contending that my last week's prediction about his team was stupid nearly traumatized me into not making a prediction about him or his team this week. Unfortunately, my employer didn't buy that the psychic trauma I endured as a result of this was a viable excuse to get out of work so I'm stuck doing it again this week regardless of the further consequences. Ok, now that I've cleared that up (so that everyone knows who's to blame if something goes wrong this week, and I end up in an institution), Hikaru has White and beat a very strong opponent last week, and history can often repeat itself. (Edge SEA)

Board 2: Van de Mortel vs Serper. Serper has been a near All Star in both his USCL years on the top board, and now Chicago is treated (for lack of finding a more appropriate term) to being the first team to see him on Board Two. Van de Mortel certainly won't be easy to take down especially with the White pieces, but I have to like Seattle still here. (Slight Edge SEA)

Board 3: Lee vs Tate. A game very similar to the Board Three of the other match, with a young player take on a player who's results can really vary. Obviously one can't really accurately call such a match, but one side has a bit of a rating edge and the other has White so I'll chicken out with the exact same thing I went with in the other match. (Even)

Board 4: Strunk vs May. A near mirror match we have here. How so? Well both these players are making their near league debuts (only one previous game for Strunk), their ratings are nearly identical, and they were born in the same year! What do you do when you have such symmetry in a game? Oh yeah, slight advantage for the one with White. (Slight Edge CHC)

Once again, I definitely think Seattle has an over the board edge, but as always it's never a very big one which might lead me to predict the usual 2.5 – 1.5 for them, but again I want to make some headway in predicting and since 3 – 1 has been the most common match score this year, why not here? Seattle 3 – 1

(FM Ron Young predicts both Queens and Seattle to win 2.5 – 1.5).

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