Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Hey guys! This is my first blog, so I'll briefly introduce myself. I'm Matan Prilleltensky, sometime Miami Sharks bd 4. I grew up in Canada, Australia, and Nashville, and currently find myself in Miami, where I'm a senior at "The U". Awful writing; you're never supposed to "find yourself" anywhere. Whatever. After a bit of pestering IM Marcel Martinez (our captain/fearless leader), he decided to put me on the roster for this season.
In my first game against Dallas' Karina Vazirova, I was shocked to discover how much pressure playing in the US Chess League entails. The combination of the team element and the live ICC broadcasting seems to raise the stakes in a way that even a last round game doesn't compare to. Noticing my jangly nerves, our bd 1 and MVP, GM Julio Becerra assured that I should play without pressure, relax, etc. I managed to play a semireasonable game and press for the win, but couldn't find an appropriate plan in the ending and allowed my opponent to hold without much difficulty. Unfortunately, the team went down to a narrow defeat.
My last showing for the Sharks (again vs. Dallas' Vazirova) was wholly more successful for the team. The quality of my individual play was also higher than in my previous outing; I was far more relaxed and comfortable with the format. A highly resourceful win by Becerra on board 1 set the tone for the match, giving rise to an interesting team chess situation when my opponent offered me a draw from her slightly worse position. Noticing that Bruci Lopez was clearly better on his board (at least as far as I could see), I accepted the draw in order to bring us closer to the necessary 2.5 points. Interestingly, I wasn't even considering the realistic ways to make progress when my opponent offered the draw. I think I was so caught up in the narrative of "playing solidly with black" that the standard plan of expanding on the kingside (and slightly weakening my king in the process) didn't even occur to me. Either way, a definite advantage of playing with such strong players is having absolute confidence in your teammates. I was particularly impressed with how FM Osmany Perea managed to keep an extremely messy position under control to reel in the full point against IM John Bartholomew.
I figured I'd do what some other bloggers have taken to, and predict the results for tomorrow night's matches.
New York vs Baltimore:
Almost too close to call, as both sides field strong lineups. I'll give New York the nod, 2.5-1.5; after all, ratings have to count for something!
Philadelphia vs. Boston:
This looks like a big mismatch; Boston 3-1.
New Jersey vs. Miami:
I'll do what Arizona's Robby Adamson does, and just quietly predict a win for the good guys.
Dallas vs. San Francisco:
Both teams field strong lineups; San Francisco have to be slight favorites, but I think Dallas will escape with a 2-2 tie. That said, this year's San Francisco team is brutally strong.
Seattle vs. Tennessee:
Too close to call; 2-2. Nice to see the Tempo with such a strong lineup.
Chicago vs. Arizona:
I expect the Scorpions' struggles to continue here, by a 2.5-1.5 margin.
Alright, let me know what you think! Take care.