Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quarterfinals Lineup/Preview

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

Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Boston Blitz
GM Sergey Erenburg (2646) - GM Larry Christiansen (2665)
IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2425) - IM Marc Esserman (2492)
FM Ralph Zimmer (2279) - NM Vadim Martirosov (2248)
NM Adithya Balasubramanian (2255) - NM Ilya Krasik (2253)

Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.

The playoffs are finally here and we see a rematch of Week 9 between Baltimore and Boston. Boston receives draw odds and Baltimore chose white on Boards 1 and 3. Baltimore is using a similar lineup as in Week 9 (and the same as Week 10) but with IM Enkhbat replacing IM Kaplan on Board 2. Boston counters with a new lineup headed by their stalwart Board 1, GM Larry Christiansen.

Board 1: GM Sergey Erenburg vs. GM Larry Christiansen. GM Erenburg is (+2 =1) against Boston and (+4 =4) on the season while GM Christiansen is (+1 =2 -2) against Baltimore and (+3 =4 -1) on the season. This is the only pairing that has played before in the USCL and that was just 2 weeks ago. In that game, GM Christiansen surprised GM Erenburg with a rare Philidor's Defense variation that eventually went into a drawn rook ending. What's in store for this game is anybody's guess, but it has got to be more exciting especially since this is the playoffs!

Board 2: IM Marc Esserman vs. IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat. IM Esserman is (+1 =1) against Baltimore and (+2) this season. IM Enkhbat is (+2 -2) against Boston and (+2 =1 -2) this season. At 67 points, this game has the largest rating difference of the match. With a 75% (15.0/20) career scoring percentage, IM Esserman is one of the most successful players in the USCL. On the other side of the board, IM Enkhbat has a solid 51% (22.5/44) career scoring percentage. Expect IM Esserman to steer toward sharp play and press for a win here.

Board 3: FM Ralph Zimmer vs. NM Vadim Martirosov. FM Zimmer is (=1 -1) against Boston and (+1 =2 -2) on the season. NM Martirosov is (=2) against Baltimore and (+2 =3 -1) this season. This game is the first time since Week 6 that FM Zimmer has not been at a severe rating disadvantage. In fact, he has a 31 point advantage. If Baltimore wants to overcome Boston's draw odds, FM Zimmer may have to push for a victory.

Board 4: NM Ilya Krasik vs. NM Adithya Balasubramanian. NM Krasik is (+2 =1 -2) against Baltimore and (=4 -1) this season. NM Balasubramanian is (=1) against Boston and (+2 =3) this season. NM Krasik is one of the most experienced players in the USCL with 41 games played while NM Balasubramanian is new to the league this year. With a 70% score in 5 games, NM Balasubramanian has been nice addition for Baltimore. He'll need to stay undefeated to help Baltimore continue further this season.

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