This is a preview of the upcoming Arizona Scorpions - Dallas Destiny US Chess League Matchup. You can see more about the Scorpions from their blog. Also scroll down to the bottom to see a video of IM-Elect Danny Rensch after winning his final IM Norm.
Okay so before I start this preview there is one thing that I should say that I am not going to do. I am not going to predict a 4-0 sweep by the Scorpions. To predict something like that against the two time defending champs would be pretty foolish.
In our match against Dallas last season the two teams were evenly contested on all four boards similar to this season.
Both Dallas and Arizona teams have had very similar roster lineups the past two years since Arizona became a part of the US Chess League. Both teams prefer a more balanced lineup of players in their lineups rather than stacked lineups with many strong players on the top boards and weaker players on the bottom boards as some teams prefer to do. Which lineup is better (stacked lineups or balanced lineups) is still up for debate and I don’t think there is necessarily a right answer. Both seem to work depending on the teams. Dallas has obviously perfected the balanced lineup being two time defending champions. While teams like New Jersey seems to do well with a stacked lineup. Queens is another good example that used the stacked lineup well last season.
However, due to some scheduling issues Dallas has not been dominating (other than their Boston match) this season. However, this does not suggest that the Scorpions underestimate them in the least and we are taking this match as one against the two time defending champs and as one that is crucial for both team as we look ahead towards the rest of the season. Both teams have strong lineups up for this match.
Let’s analyze the matchups:
GM Alejandro Ramirez 2600 vs. IM John Bartholomew 2499
These players both know each other well as they have both been playing in the Dallas area for a while. John has been taking the board 1 duties for Dallas this season playing the likes of GM’s Hikaru Nakamura and Julio Becerra. This should be a very tough game for both players as John has a very, very solid style that can at times frustrate strong players. However, Alejandro is undeniably a favorite here as a 2600 GM with White.
IM Salvijus Bercys 2503 vs. GM-Elect Rogelio Barcenilla 2583
This match pits Rogelio Barcenilla on the board 2 spot for the first time in his short career. All of last season Rogelio played board one and had a very respectable even score against five grandmasters. Since then he has achieved his final GM norm at the Copper State tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. He will be awarded the GM title fairly soon. This also is the first time that the Scorpions will have a double GM lineup with two players almost both in the 2600s. Sal Bercys has played one game this season losing a long game to Sam Shankland. However, in this game he was in a position where he had to win for team reasons and in this game Bercys pushed fairly hard, finally losing. However this matchup between 2500s should be very close and is definitely one of the games to watch.
FM Robby Adamson 2354 vs. FM Keaton Kiewra 2365
FM Robby Adamson has been one of the MVPs of the Scorpion team so far this season going 2.5/3 so far this season. From his wide experience playing ICC (literally playing tens of thousands of ICC games) he has transferred some of this “experience” to his USCL games. Keaton Kiewra seems to be the the Destiny’s regular third board playing three out of their 4 matches. In past years Dallas has chosen a lineup and stayed with that lineup throughout most of the season. This season they have varied more but Keaton has been a constant third board for them. With a 2/3 record he has done well himself and this matchup should be very close and could easily go either way.
WFM Bayaraa Zorigt 2270 vs. Expert David Adelberg 2160
The fourth board brings back the twelve year old phenom David Adelberg to the Arizona lineup! David is only twelve years old and after not playing two matches he was eager to get back in the mix. Here he faces the 2008 4th board MVP from last season in Bayaraa Zorigt. Although Bayaraa lost her last game in the USCL her +5 record from last season stands out and she is a very tough, technical player. However, David has proven himself again and again against strong players and he will have to do so again in this situation. Both of these players are very solid and positional players who are not afraid to mix it up but would rather think about pawn structures than piece sacs. With David’s rating only 5 points from reaching master (at only 12 years old!) we are likely to see many more achievements from this kid…starting with this week!
One further comment that I would like to make concerning the Scorpions is the newly crowned International Master Danny Rensch! Danny recently got his final IM norm by drawing IM Ray Robson at the SPICE Cup in Texas. You can see a video of Danny after his great tournament below.
Thanks everyone and go root for the Scorpions Wednesday at 6:00 PM AZ time!