Sunday, September 21, 2008
Monday Night Predictions -- Week 5
To begin this Monday Night, the subway match between red hot Queens and reeling New York kicks things off. While the records of the respective teams (4 – 0 and 1 – 3) might lead one to a natural conclusion, this is definitely a league where nothing can ever be taken for granted, and like many sports when you have a match such as this, records and statistics can often be completely irrelevant as it's always a "backyard brawl". In the other matchup, we have Miami taking on Tennessee, both desperately needing a win this week, having both lost their last two, and the Tempo certainly aren't fooling around bringing in their big gun, Ehlvest, once again while Miami has reverted to a more balanced lineup, something which served them so well in Week 1. Let's look at each match board by board.
Queens vs New York
Board 1: Stripunsky vs Fedorowicz. You can never tell anything with these tricky GMs, you can only rest on the assumption that having White in such games is a much bigger advantage than it tends to be at the lower levels. (Slight Edge QNS)
Board 2: Krush vs Schneider. Ok, well maybe it's not right to use the same logic I used on Board 1 for this game as these two aren't GMs, but IM is the next best thing isn't it (not counting my fake title, DM, of course), and I really can't see any other way to find an edge here so there you go. (Slight Edge NY)
Board 3: Vovsha vs Bonin. Ah hah! Finally, one where I can make a reasonable call (but so could a five year old probably so maybe nothing to cheer about). But rating edge, White pieces, and better league record all belong to one of those two players so it's easy to tell where I anticipate this game to be at. (Edge QNS)
Board 4: Zenyuk vs Ostrovskiy. Another fairly easy one to call, as we have last year's top All Star on this board, facing off against a much lower rated player making his league debut. Of course, he is a youngster, and those youngsters can often surprise you, but you still know who has the advantage here. (Edge NY)
So like always, over the board there doesn't appear to be much of an edge anywhere, but I certainly can't in good conscience pick a draw, as this season has seen an extreme scarcity of those. Add to that the fact that we know which team is hot and which is not, and I'll pick Queens 2.5 – 1.5
Miami vs Tennessee
Board 1: Lopez vs Ehlvest. I can't deny that I'm somewhat disappointed to not see a Becerra vs Ehlvest showdown here, but I suppose there are some chess commitments which might be more important than the USCL (shocking, yes I know) so this will have to do. These two did meet however, back in 2006 in the shortest game in league history since Season Two so hopefully, for our audience's sake, this one goes a bit farther. While I would have called Lopez an underdog in Week 1 also, he suprised me there, and could well do so again here, but I still definitely can't bet against Ehlvest. (Slight Edge TEN)
Board 2: Burnett vs Lugo. These two definitely seem to have a contrast in styles with Burnett mostly playing solid setups while Lugo goes all out to attack. One can never really be sure what will happen when worlds collide, but you have to prefer the one with White pieces when you aren't sure. (Slight Edge TEN)
Board 3: Perea vs Bereolos. A time penalty for Miami rears its ugly head again, something I'm sure which they would have preferred to keep a distant memory from last season. However, in this instance the change that brought this about comes with a rating addition rather than a deficit and along with the White pieces, we all know what that means. (Edge MIA)
Board 4: Bick vs Rodriguez. A fairly tough one to call as Bick seems to vary greatly in strength from week to week, naturally making his games tough to call. Rodriguez has been as consistent as a Board Four reasonably could be expected to be probably, and aside from his most recent game, he's been very impressive also. I think I have to call this a wash. (Even)
Once again, this seems very even over the board, but for the reason mentioned above, I definitely can't predict a tie. At the same time, Tennessee has yet to deliver for me when I've predicted them to win (as I did last week), and I don't react well to disappointment (or being in last place) so I'll go with Miami 2.5 – 1.5
(FM Ron Young also predicts both Queens and Miami to win 2.5 – 1.5).