2017 PRO Chess League - Alex King's Picks for Week 1!
Hello and welcome to the blog of National Master Alex King!
As you may know, 2017 is the inaugural season of the PRO Chess League! This is one of the most exciting things ever to happen to chess - at least according to its creator Greg Shahade (https://gregshahade.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/the-top-10-reasons-you-should-be-watching-the-pro-chess-league/).
I was honored to be asked by Chess.com to be one of the official pundits for the League, which means that every week I will be posting here my predictions for the results of each of the 24 team matchups.
Here are my picks for the first week:
1) Atlanta 8.5-7.5 Miami - with Kazim Gulamali as the deciding factor.
2) Buenos Aires 6-10 New Jersey - three GMs is just too much of an advantage.
3) Carolina 4-12 Philadelphia - and Vovk will go 4-0.
4) Columbus 8-8 Patagonia - a small upset for the lower-rated US team.
5) Montreal 7-9 New York - any team with more than one Filipino player is the favorite.
6) Toronto 7.5-8.5 Montclair - Board 4 will decide.
7) Dallas 7-9 Saint Louis - this will be less close than most people think.
8) Minnesota 10-6 Portland - Andrew Tang will dominate.
9) Rio Grande 9.5-7.5 Las Vegas - never go for a sacrificial lamb on Board 3.
10) San Diego 8.5-7.5 Seattle - this will be a great match, but Craig is too strong on Board 4.
11) San Francisco 9-7 Pittsburgh - but eventually the rust will show on those top boards.
12) San Jose 7-9 Webster - another great matchup...except for Board 4.
13) Belgrade 6-10 Odisha - youth will trump experience.
14) Budapest 7-9 Mumbai - it will be even worse if we see any actual Budapest Gambits played.
15) Delhi 11-5 Ljubljana - the Indians are having a great day.
16) Riga 8.5-7.5 Norway - and Kovalenko will beat Hammer.
17) Shymkent 10-6 Amaravati - preventing the Indians from having a clean sweep of the week.
18) Gorky 8-8 Johannesburg - a miraculous defensive effort.
19) Abuja 5-11 London Lions - with no individual upsets.
20) Amsterdam 7-9 Stockholm - because I hear Mike Klein has $200 on Blomqvist going 4-0.
21) Apeldoorn 6.5-9.5 Cannes - and Black will win more games than White.
22) Dublin 11.5-5.5 Lagos - the most one-sided match of the week.
23) Hamburg 10-6 Rejkjavik - a surprising upset.
24) London Towers 7-9 Marseilles - but MVL will lose with the Najdorf.
At the Commissioner's request, I am also going to make an early call for the eventual division champions and overall League champion:
Red Division Champion: Montreal, despite losing in the first round.
Blue Division Champion: Saint Louis, the chess capital of the US.
Green Division Champion: Riga, although they will get pummelled in the Final Four.
Orange Division Champion: Marseilles, which is an anagram of LASER SLIME.
And yes, you heard it here first - the 2017 PRO Chess League Champion will be Saint Louis.
Let's see how my crystal ball fares on Wednesday. See you next week!
Read more PRO Chess League blogs: