Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week 1 Lineup

Wednesday, 7:15 PM EDT
Time Control 90 min. with 30 sec. increment

Carolina Cobras vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
IM Jonathan Schroer (2429) - GM Leonid Kritz (2654)
FM Oleg Zaikov (2388) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2430)
FM Ron Simpson (2290) - GM Larry Kaufman (2444)
NM Craig Jones (2275) - Jared Defibaugh (2155)

Note: Players in bold have the white pieces.

'09 Season Outlook

What a competitive season this is shaping up to be! With so many excellent teams formed by USCL veterans and newly recruited rising stars, it is virtually impossible to predict what will transpire over the boards during the next few months. However, there is one thing that I know for sure. The Baltimore Kingfishers are back and better than ever!

This year we are fielding one of our most versatile line-ups to date. Our roster allows us several ways to place two very strong GMs on boards 1 + 2. Thus making it feasible for last year's board 1 All Star Sergey Erenburg to be relegated to board two, making him quite a force to be reckoned with should he continue at the pace he left off with last season. With both Kaufmans' as well as Enkhbat's acquisition of shiny new titles, we know that they are playing at very high levels. Couple that with the addition of great talents Kritz, Foisor and Uesugi and you have a fantastic team that Kingfisher fans will surely not want to miss in action.

We are looking forward to our opening match Wednesday night against the Carolina Cobras. Carolina holds a 4-2 lifetime record against us, however with serious advantages on boards 1-3 the Kingfishers hope to start the season strong and put a large dent in that record.

As for the rest of the season, who knows what will happen? Will Baltimore be able to return to its former inaugural season glory? Can we win our division and the championships? With our newly constructed team it certainly seems like a strong possibility. Admittedly it is still a long road for us to get there, but if we do, it would be the greatest turn around between seasons in USCL history.

Finally, I thought I might as well throw out a prediction for the final championship match.

Baltimore Kingfishers vs. San Francisco Mechanics....score: 3.5-0.5

Once we establish ourselves as champs once again, the only thing left for other teams to do is to ponder over how we came up with our name.

Season 5 Roster

Hello all! We're about to start Season 5 of the US Chess League with the Baltimore Kingfishers. Let's start with this year's team roster:

(Sept. 2008 Rating) [Current Rating]
  1. GM Leonid Kritz (2666) [2654]
  2. GM Sergey Erenburg (2621) [2614]
  3. IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2439) [2430]
  4. GM Larry Kaufman (2424) [2444]
  5. WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor (2404) [2390]
  6. FM Ralph Zimmer (2332) [2282]
  7. FM Shinsaku Uesugi (2298) [2354]
  8. WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg (2256) [2265]
  9. Jared Defibaugh (2143) [2155]
  1. IM Ray Kaufman (2344) [2297]
  2. Ian Harris (2076) [2172]

Congratulations to returning members Senior World Champion(!) GM Larry Kaufman, IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat, and IM Ray Kaufman for earning their titles in the off-season!

Let's also welcome new Kingfishers GM Leonid Kritz, WGM Sabina Foisor, and FM Shinsaku Uesugi!

Baltimore is now one of three teams to include 3 GM's in the roster (San Francisco has 4 and New York has 3), and GM Larry Kaufman could even play on Board 3! That could go a long way to eliminating what was last year's biggest weakness (1.5/10 on Board 3).