Hey everyone! It's been a while since I put on my "Blog Hat", grabbed a cup of Ryan Gosling, and got to work on making some ridiculous *cough* I mean completely serious and very well thought through predictions regarding an upcoming / major chess event!
Please remember this is all in good fun -- AND *by reading this blog you accept Daniel Rensch's terms and conditions* of his own terms and conditions, that are both termed and conditional, etc, etc, etc... OH YEAH! Let's go!!
I usually hold back from applying any form of critical thinking in my efforts to preview an upcoming chess event -- from Death Matches, to Magnus vs the World events, etc -- So why do it any differently for the 2013 US Chess Championships? It's one of my favorite events of the year and The St Louis Scholastic Center and blah, blah, blah (just kidding guys, it's just that it's a long name ) --
What I meant to say was The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St Louis (I did it!!) always does a fantastic job with this event, and I can only hope they renew their contract with the U.S.C.F. for another 75,000 years so that no other city or organization in the U.S. has a chance to start screwing the U.S. Championship up again!
Seriously, after making fun of their name I will try to suck up a little bit by saying that Executive Director / Organizer Tony Rich and his staff, with the generous support of Rex Sinquefield, have literally saved this event from what it was turning into not more than 5 years ago... For those of you who don't know, I'll just say that the future of the US Championship looked about as good as this dude:
before they showed up! Congrats to the city of St Louis on becoming the Nation's chess capital and for all their continued successes! They have brought back the grandeur of this event, turned the U.S. Championship into one of the world's (yes, I said it) most prestigious and "modeled after" chess tournaments (so much so that players like Timur Gareev and Alejandro Ramirez couldn't wait to change thier FIDE Federations to the U.S. and rumors suggest even "Fab-Fab" might want in on the action):
and taken the level and quality of professional chess in this country to an entirely new level! OK, did I make up for the making fun of their long name ... Either way, moving on!
Before going any further, I have to say how excited I am to see so many regular "Chess.com Faces" competing in this year's event. Knowing that we have either provided work, sponsorship, or just a place to blog for so many of these players -- it just makes the event that much more exciting to follow!
The 2013 US Chess Championship line-up
In taking a look at that list a couple weeks ago, I realized - through deep statistical analysis and evaluations of the trends regarding each player's career at this point in time - that only Contributors and / or Ambassdors to Chess.com could possibly win this event ! I'm completely serial about this guys!
It's a nice list for this year's event if we pretend that the hands down favorite, and native of St Louis (he-who-must-not-be-named ) isn't playing! For the record, I only joke about "not naming" Lord Nakamura (oops) because we wish he was playing! Also because I really hope, for the sake of the tournament, that one of the leading storylines doesn't hold up to be that Naka's not playing .
AND who knows, maybe we'll see both Naka and Caruana (who by the way, woud have a celebrity-baby-name of "Nakaruana" or "Caramura" - you decide!!!) joining the ranks of these guys in the coming years? Is that enough to start a rumor that hopefully becomes a reality? I hope so!
In any case, without going into the specifics of any of our contracts with the list of players below, I will say that they all either contribute content regularly for us, receive an undisclosed amount of sponsorship to be "Ambassadors" for our site.
- Timur Gareev;
- Sam Shankland;
- Gregory Kaidanov;
- Robert Hess;
- Melikset Khachiyan;
- Alejandro Ramirez;
- Conrad Holt;
- Ben Finegold;
- Kayden Troff;
- and Sam Sevian;
And the Ladies:
- Tatev Abrahamyan;
- Camilla Baginskaite;
- Iryna Zenyuk;
- and maybe some things to come from Anna Zatonskih
Many others not on this list have competed in Death Matches but wouldn't be player's we'd list as recognizable faces in the Chess.com Community (so no hard feelings ):
Instead of listing each one of those player's chances to win the event, I will just go on record as saying I honestly believe GM Sam Shankland -- perhaps the most recognizable face to the Chess.com Cumminty, given that he practically grew up on our site (tears of joy ) -- has a great chance to become the 2013 U.S. Champion. That may or may not be my feigned attempt to defend my Fantasy Team pick (go ACEChessCom) that you can't take back after hitting submit... just kidding, Sam ! BUT either way, I do I believe I would get good Vegas odds to predict that someone from team Chess.com:
will win this year's U.S. Championship! So like I said, I am taking Shanky but Timur, Hess and maybe even Thunder-Holt (with a little nickname magic on his side) could realistically win it all!
Here's my elimination process of other candidates?
- GM Gata Kamsky -- Too tired from the recent Zug Grand Prix! Has never made a video for us , consistently wears ugly hats!
- GM Alex Onischuk -- Possibly the only non-Chess.com'er who could put a damper on my predictions. In all seriousness, you could say he's "due" considering that he hasn't won a US Championship since the return of Kamsky to the world of professional chess. SO with Naka out, Kamsky tired, and a host of inexperienced and younger players fighting along with him, you might see Alex "win one for the gipper" this time around and make my predictions look worse than they already do;
- GM Ray Robson -- Too young, and doesn't have a good nickname yet amongst his fans;
- GM Var Akobian -- Takes too many draws, spends too much time in the weight room... Love you though Var!
- GM Alex Stripunsky -- I still haven't forgiven him for losing the worst game of the event last year;
- GM Alexander Ivanov -- Time pressure killed the cat. Or was that curiousity? #curious
- GM Larry Christiansen -- Won't be able to "Rook Lift" his way out of not being an active enough player anymore...
- GM Yuri Shulman -- Like Onischuk, could prove me wrong. He's the most under-rated of all the competitors... Look for him to have a good result;
- GM Alex Shabalov -- Another wild card who *could* pull it off, but usually loses to a random lower rated junior if he's not "on his A-Game";
- GM Marc Arnold -- Like Rayski (good enough nickname???), too young;
- IM - Should be GM or something - Jorge Sammour-Hasbun -- I will never forget the show he put on against GM Jon Ludvig Hammer in last year's Death Match! Seriously, that was awesome... That said, this isn't online blitz or rapid chess, and we aren't in Kansas anymore... We are in Missouri!!!
- GM Joel Benjamin -- Well, he's from Jersey... so you do the math !
- IM Yaacov Norowitz -- Amazing online, but same goes for him that I said to Jorge;
- IM John Daniel Bryant -- Young talent, if he's playing well could make a real spash and pull off some upsets, but not happening this year;
Woo, glad that's over... I know, that's a random picture... but I couldn't find anything else to use !
For the ladies section I took Krush in my fantasy team over both Zatonskih and Abrahamyan (who could both win it). For the sake of "Team Chess.com" I hope I'm wrong and one of the women from Death Match 10 will pull it off!
All things being equal, most fans feel that it's really a three-horse race between those women. Maybe Foisor could jump in there with a great event, but I don't see it happening. Sorry, but someone else other than Zatonskih or Krush would have to win a U.S. Women's Championship in order for me to feel bad .
And just like that, it's all over! What, nothing else for me to write (if you even call it writing, Danny) about here? So sad...
I hope everyone will check out the live coverage by Seirawan, Ashley and Shahade! We have once again chosen not to provide any live coverage of this year's U.S. Championship on Chess.com/TV because we don't want to compete or take anything away from their efforts...
"Aaahh, that's so sweet of you guys at Chess.com to sit on the sidelines when we know Danny can't shutup for 5 minutes!"
I know, I know...