Queens also has an extremely flexible roster and like us they have chosen almost a completely different line up from what they had last week. Lets look at it board by board...
Board 1 IM Dmitry Schneider 2510 (QNS) vs. GM Sergey Erenburg 2616 (BAL):
This match will see Erenburg try to pick up from where he left off last season. Although he has played far less chess than he did last summer, it seems he has gotten some games in here and there. So hopefully he will be in good form. Meanwhile, can Schneider take over the reins from Stripunsky and lead the Pioneers down the long road to victory? It is hard to think that he will be prepared since it looks as if he hasn't played in a single tournament in quite a while. It will be difficult for him to pull through for his team if he is still shaking off the dust.
Board 2 IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat 2430 (BAL) vs. IM Yury Lapshun 2504 (QNS):
Queens' hopes for a win will fall on this board as this is where they hold the greatest rating advantage. Both players have been active lately which means they should both be playing well. I expect Lapshun will push hard for a win but if Enkhbat is able to hold a draw or better, it will probably guarantee Baltimore the win.
Board 3 FM Andrei Zaremba 2398 (QNS) vs. FM Shinsaku Uesugi 2354 (BAL):
No GM on board 3 for Baltimore this week as Larry Kaufman is participating in the US Senior Open. Good luck Larry! Zaremba returning to board 3 for Queens is not a real surprise as he is really the only player that fills the gap between the 2500's and the many experts on their team. He had a strong performance in Week 1 so it will be a tall order for Uesugi's first ever USCL match. However Uesugi has been improving rapidly so Zaremba will surely have his hands full.
Board 4 WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg 2265 (BAL) vs. WFM Elizabeth Vicary 2106 (QNS):
Week 2 sees the return of our team manager Tsagaan Battsetseg after not playing at all last season. She will surely be out for blood and a repeat performance of her previous encounter with Vicary at the 2007 US Women's Championships. Battsetseg holds a nice rating advantage on this board but I expect it to be an exciting struggle since Vicary has already indicated her intentions for revenge. By the way, I don't recall the last time two women faced off in the USCL. Does anyone know or is this a first? And what is the deal with Battsetseg only playing during odd years? I will have to investigate whether this is some sort of long term strategy or just a coincidence.
So I think I made enough bold predictions to last a while so I am not going to bother predicting the score on this one. However, for sure I can say that Tuesday's match between Queens and Baltimore will be a bloody affair. Queens will be looking to rebound from their loss against Boston while Baltimore will want to continue with their strong start by posting a second straight win. My first and only game in the USCL (up until now at least) was against Queens last year and we suffered a very unfortunate loss, so revenge is certainly in the air.