Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quarterfinals Preview: NJ-BAL

Board 1: GM Joel Benjamin (2641, NJ) - GM Sergey Erenburg (2616, BAL)
These two GMs faced off twice last year, with GM Erenburg going 2-0, in Weeks 1 and 6 (See viewer below), including the 5th place Game of the Year when GM Erenburg played as Black. Baltimore may need another masterpiece from GM Erenburg if they are going to overcome New Jersey's draw odds (and their donut-loving deities) in the match.

Board 2: IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2430, BAL) - IM Dean Ippolito (2535, NJ)
These two IMs have also faced each other twice in the USCL: Week 3 of 2007 and Week 6 of 2008. Though they were close games, IM Ippolito scored wins with the nice 46. Rxf7+ shot (viewer game 3) and after IM Enkhbat missed winning opportunities with the mouseslip 46. Ra7 & accidental premove 47. Ra8 (viewer game 4). However, this game will be IM Enkhbat's 7th white (in 8 games) and he is undefeated as white this year. Clearly, this game will hinge on white's 46th move.

Board 3: SM Mackenzie Molner (2446, NJ) - FM Shinsaku Uesugi (2354, BAL)
It does not appear that these two have played each other - USCL or otherwise. They both have even scores this year in the USCL, and they both defeated New York's NM Matthew Herman just before his 33rd move. However, SM Molner has a rating advantage and white, so FM Uesugi must look to avoid the famed Big Mac Attack.

Board 4: WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg (2265, BAL) - Sean Finn (2114, NJ)
These two have not played each other either. This is the only board on which Baltimore has a rating advantage, so WIM Battsetseg will be looking to score a victory here, but Finn is no slouch as he defeated the higher-rated WGM Jennifer Shahade (2301) in Week 9. Look for an exciting tactical finish here.

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