Heavy Duty: Scorps vs Stacked Arch
Wednesday Wonderment – What Will Pass?
By IM Mark Ginsburg
Now that we are well into the season with X games already contested, here we are in week Yand what a thrilling week it promises to be. Arizona is already comfortably in the playoffs but must contend with a super-strong stacked mercenary lineup (a constant irritant in chess competitions, do people remember the US Amateur Team GGGg debacle?). Humorously, St. Louis often fields a weak lineup and only when the planets align (i.e. the superstars are not traveling) does their lineup become respectable…it’s kind of like the movie ‘Dodgeball’ where the good guys have to play the GloboGym hired goons. What chance does Arizona have? Well, if you know how to dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
Here’s the lineup; the proverbial tale of the tape:
Arizona Scorpions vs St. Louis We’ve Fallen Between NY and LA and We Can’t Get Up
|IM Rogelio Barcenilla: 2583||GM Hikaru Nakamura: 2806|
|IM Dionisio Aldama: 2399||GM Yury Shulman: 2715|
|IM Daniel Rensch: 2471||GM Ben Finegold: 2589|
|Amanda Mateer: 2135||Spencer Finegold: 1974|
Arizona captains the white forces on boards 1 and 3.
A little history: Barcenilla has had white before vs. Nakamura in USCL action. And it did not go well. Rogelio was unrecognizable, crawling into a passive shell and absolutely suffocating. It was eerily similar to my own disgusting performance vs Lenderman. He must come out this time as the active, effervescent, opportunistic Rogelio we all know and love. And besides, doesn’t America the sports nation love a good upset? A draw qualifies as one.
I am supposing that Yuri Shulman is one of those mercenaries (such as Akobian in …Seattle???) that we’ve all read about and disdain so much. I guess you could say he’s a member of a mercentary “posse”. In the movie ’3:10 to Yuma’, Ben Foster says “I don’t like possies.” I think the average USCL fan will concur. If Yuri is indeed a bribe-accepting posse member, I hope he is getting a lot of money for the dismal drive from Chicago to St. Louis. Or do they send him on a short flight? If the weather is bad for the flight, he might arrive all nauseated and this could work for Arizona. Or he might have to find alternate transportation. In Arizona’s favor: we have a nutty wild guy Aldama playing black and it’s no holds barred with this guy, he’ll just play any move at all, close his eyes, and see if it works. The bad news: Grandmasters are usually able to calculate to detect flaws in that sort of play. Ut oh.
As I write this, Ben Finegold is hard at work memorizing lines where all the pieces come off and he can offer a draw early and then stroll around gawking and/or mocking at other boards or trash talking in ICC kibitzes. Hopefully Danny Rensch can steer clear of the scary fearsome forced draws from the Finegold Endless Factory of Deadened Chess and make something happen as white.
As I write this, Levon Altounian or another strong player of his ilk (I am pleased to be able to use “ilk” in this article) is hatching some brainiac opening scheme with cunning transpositions and hidden positional traps for Amanda to use with hopefully good effect. The scheme will go for naught when she forgets all the prep 10 minutes before the game, but Amanda when feeling good in the opening phase builds up a head of steam and can hopefully do some damage against Spencer. I don’t know Spencer’s chess, but his beard should get him into agood philosophy doctoral program.
And In Conclusion
Sure it’s true that Eva Longoria Parker has bought a third home in Switzerland. But we have to get back to the matter at hand. Arizona is a lock for the playoffs no matter what, so they’ll use this match as a spot of training for the Big Stage. If they knock off St. Louis’s hodgepodge of pros, benefactors, acolytes, stoolies, travelers, kids, con-men, grifters, 3-card monte specialists, bums, and drifters then so much the better but I wouldn’t put money on it. The safe predictions: tasty snacks are brought to the Mesa playing site, Ben Finegold finds time to ICC kibitz, Nakamura blitzes out the whole game, so does Aldama, and Danny burns a lot of time to try to keep any kind of chess game alive. If Arizona doesn’t lose the match versus the St. Louis cat horders that would qualify as a huge upset.
If it’s not going well, spectators who are eating the food meant for the players please heed this warning: ”Twice as many people die from a silent heart attack as compared to those that experienced a myocardial infarction with chess pain“.