Wednesday, August 27, 2008

USCL Power Rankings Week 1

The Power Rankings have been computed for week 1. Of course, with a sample size of one week, the power rankings are extremely unreliable.

This year, I'm not going to give scores, but just a ranking from 1 to 14. If a team is tied from the calculation, the tie will be broken by calculating a team rating (which is not the average of the individual ratings, but think of it as if the team were an independent entity). Ties won't happen very often, except in the first few weeks.

Blah blah blah, let's get to the good stuff.

1 - Miami
2 - Boston
3 - New Jersey
4 - Carolina
5 - San Francisco
6 - Queens
7 - Arizona
8 - Dallas
9 - Philadelphia
10 - Chicago
11 - New York
12 - Baltimore
13 - Tennessee
14 - Seattle

Until next week!

USCL Ratings after Week 1 (UPDATED with Board Top 5)

After Week 1, here is the (unofficial) USCL ratings list. Once again, details of how the ratings are computed are here.

Note: Only players active in the 2008 season are included, and players must have played at least three lifetime games in the USCL (in any season).

Complete List
1 2619 Jorge Sammour-Hasbun
2 2576 Sergey Erenburg
3 2575 Patrick Wolff
4 2567 Sergey Kudrin
5 2555 Joel Benjamin
6 2538 Davorin Kuljasevic
7 2531 Eli Vovsha
8 2514 Gregory Serper
9 2509 Dean Ippolito
10 2501 Lev Milman
11 2500 Josh Friedel
12 2485 Dmitry Schneider
13 2477 Denis Shmelov
14 2452 Bryan Smith
15 2447 Gregory Braylovsky
16 2442 Bruci Lopez
17 2436 Jay Bonin
18 2433 Oleg Zaikov
19 2433 Sam Shankland
20 2431 Ron Burnett
21 2410 Eric Tangborn
22 2407 Marcel Martinez
23 2394 John Readey
24 2390 Blas Lugo
25 2386 Richard Costigan
26 2385 Elvin Wilson
27 2374 Mackenzie Molner
28 2371 Victor Shen
29 2369 Todd Andrews
30 2343 Eric Rodriguez
31 2336 Larry Kaufman
32 2318 Bayaraa Zorigt
33 2316 Ilya Krasik
34 2294 Igor Schneider
35 2284 Craig Jones
36 2273 Daniel Naroditsky
37 2251 Peter Bereolos
38 2250 Josh Sinanan
39 2243 Ray Kaufman
40 2234 Ralph Zimmer
41 2204 Evan Rosenberg

Board 1 - TOP 5
2619 Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS)
2576 Sergey Erenburg (BAL)
2575 Patrick Wolff (SFM)
2567 Sergey Kudrin (PHI)
2555 Joel Benjamin (NJK)

Board 2 - TOP 5
2538 Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL)
2531 Eli Vovsha (QUE)
2509 Dean Ippolito (NJK)
2500 Josh Friedel (SFM)
2452 Bryan Smith (PHI)

Board 3 - TOP 5
2477 Denis Shmelov (BOS)
2436 Jay Bonin (NYK)
2433 Sam Shankland (SFM)
2394 John Readey (SEA)
2390 Blas Lugo (MIA)

Board 4 - TOP 5
2385 Elvin Wilson (PHI)
2371 Victor Shen (NJK)
2343 Eric Rodriguez (MIA)
2318 Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL)
2316 Ilya Krasik (BOS)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

USCL Week One Predictions

No nonsense here. Just some straight up predictions.


Arizona over Chicago 3-1

See this.

UPDATE: Arizona won, but with 2.5


New York and Boston tie, 2-2

The top board Shabalov-Sammour Hasbun will be exciting, and likely the most watched match of the night. If USCL rookie and former US Champion Shabalov can hold off the Blitz powerhouse player (uncharacteristically playing first board), New York is in good shape. If he loses, watch out. Spectators should keep an eye on Jay "45,000 rated games a week" Bonin and Shmelov, who've had some entertaining encounters in past USCL games.

UPDATE: Watch out was right. Shabalov lost, and so went the Knights, losing 3-1.

New Jersey over Baltimore 2.5-1.5

With a year under their belt, the Knockouts ought to start the year off right. Benjamin and Erenburg both have had some OTB success this year. Look for a win from the KOs with White, either board two Dean Ippolito or board four, Victor Shen, which should put them over the top.

UPDATE: Well, both Shen and Ippolito won, so New Jersey won 3-1.

Philadelphia over Queens 2.5-1.5

The key here is newcomer to the USCL, Alex Lenderman. While he seemingly lives on ICC and is obviously used to the interface, he is taking on USCL veteran Richard Costigan, who tends to come up big in USCL play. If Lenderman draws (or loses), Queens will lose. If he wins, the match will be a tie.

UPDATE: Lenderman won, and Queens squeaked above Phildephia 2.5 - 1.5.

Carolina over Tennessee 3-1

The Battle of the Blue Ridge should see the Cobra desynch the Tempo. Wins are more likely to come from the edge boards, while the middle boards ought to slug it out.

UPDATE: The two top boards were decisive, but it was 3 - 1 Carolina.

San Francisco over Dallas 2.5-1.5

The Mechanics have a real good shot of taking down last year's champions Dallas. Chief Mechanic Patrick Wolff should gobble newcomer Marko Zivanic, while the bottom board is a toss-up, since World Champion Daniel Naroditsky has black, and the match is probably past his bedtime. A good longshot to bet on is for Dallas' second board Kulasevic to take down should-be-a-GM-any-day-now-if-FIDE-would-get-their-act-together Josh Friedel.

UPDATE: I got the score, but not the details. SF wins 2.5 - 1.5.

Seattle over Miami 2.5-1.5

This is probably the safest bet of the night; Seattle might even win 3-1 or 3.5-0.5. The top two boards for Miami are overmatched -- the Shark's perennial MVP Julio Becerra is off for the night. Miami can probably win one of the two games on the bottom boards, but not both.

UPDATE: Did I say this was the safest bet? You all knew I was kidding and wrote this on opposite day... All I can say is "oops". Miami a big winner at 3.5 - 0.5.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

USCL Season: Week 1 Monday Predictions

The United States Chess League season starts next week, and I have been asked to participate in this year's prediction contest! I am very excited and honored to be part of it.

For most of the games and matches, I will be drawing heavily from my unofficial USCL ratings list, which I am planning to maintain throughout the year.

However, since the Monday match is between the two expansion teams, nobody on those teams has a USCL rating.

So, I suppose, I could predict a 2-2 tie, but I think I'll do something a little more intelligently.

Both boards 1 and 3 of Arizona have white, and outrate (USCF ratings) their opponents by about 80 points or so. Therefore I expect at least 1.5 out of those boards.

On board 2, IM Mehmed Pasalic (Chicago) is white against IM Mark Ginsburg (Arizona). Although Ginsburg is a little higher rated, Pasalic plays a lot in the North America Chess Association's FIDE norm tournaments, so he's probably in a good form.

On board 4, Warren Harper outrates his opponent by over 150 points, and although he has black, he's got a better shot to pull it out.

Thus, my prediction is Arizona over Chicago 3-1.