Time Control 90 min. with 30 sec. increment
Boston Blitz vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (2604) - GM Larry Kaufman (2467)
IM Jan van de Mortel (2499) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2426)
NM Vadim Martirosov (2329) - FM Ralph Zimmer (2280)
NM Ilya Krasik (2264) - NM Ian Schoch (2296)
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
Board 1: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun vs. GM Larry Kaufman. SM Sammour-Hasbun is (+4 -1) on the season and (+2 -1) against Baltimore. GM Kaufman is (=3 -3) on the season and (=2 -4) against Boston. SM Sammour-Hasbun has a large rating advantage and the white pieces so it will be all GM Kaufman can do to try to at least hold a draw.
Board 2: IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat vs. IM Jan van de Mortel. IM Enkhbat is (+2 =3 -3) on the season and (+2 =1 -3) against Boston. IM van de Mortel is (=3) on the season and has not played Baltimore. IM van de Mortel has a rating edge but IM Enkhbat has the white pieces so this match-up seems about even.
Board 3: NM Vadim Martirosov vs. FM Ralph Zimmer. NM Martirosov is (+2 =1 -2) on the season and (=4) against Baltimore. FM Zimmer is (=1) on the season and (=2 -1) against Boston. These two played to a draw during last year's Quarterfinals. NM Martirosov has a slight rating advantage and the white pieces.
Board 4: NM Ian Schoch vs. NM Ilya Krasik. NM Schoch is (+3 -1) on the season and (+1) against Boston. NM Krasik is (+1 -4) on the season and (+3 =1 -3) against Baltimore. This time, NM Schoch has the only rating edge for Baltimore, albeit a slight one, and the white pieces.
Both teams are fighting for a playoff berth with Boston currently holding the 4th and last spot in the Eastern Division. Baltimore, which is 1 match point behind, can tie Boston (and be ahead on the first tie-break) with a win this week. Also, either the New England Nor'easters or Carolina Cobras could take control of that coveted final playoff spot if Baltimore wins.
A drawn match would still keep some faint playoff hopes alive for Baltimore, but it would depend on having at most one team of Manhattan, Boston, New England, and Carolina passing 4.5 match points for the season and Baltimore being able to pass those teams in game points. Of course, Baltimore would like to avoid such a dire scenario.
Finally, a match loss would eliminate Baltimore from playoff contention.