Week 2 Scorpions – Sluggers Preview
By NM Leo Martinez
So Week 2 of the US Chess League Season is starting tonight! With a really exciting Week 1 win against the Miami Sharks, easily one of the best teams out of the West every year, the Scorpions have to be looking forward to Week 2. Below are the matchups:
Arizona Scorpions (1.0 – 0.0) vs Seattle Sluggers (0.0 – 1.0)
All Time Series Record: (Tied 2 – 2)
Starts at 9:00 PM ET Time Control – Game in 75 with 30 second increment
|Arizona Scorpions||Seattle Sluggers|
|IM Levon Altounian: 2496||FM Costin Cozianu: 2557|
|IM Rogelio Barcenilla: 2583||FM Slava Mikhailuk: 2431|
|FM Robby Adamson: 2363||WGM Katerina Rohonyan: 2327|
|NM Nick Thompson: 2183||Michael Wang: 2103|
|Avg Rating: 2406||Avg Rating: 2355|
|Arizona Total ——-||——- Seattle Total|
Seattle has always been a tough team for us and is the team that stole our playoff spot two years ago in a tough last match result. This year however they have a lot of new players in Akobian, Cozianu, Guo, and Wang. All these players are new to the team and also new to the league as well.
Many interesting match-ups with more than a couple of new players to the league in this match. For the Scorpions Nick Thompson is a new player that will play his first game tonight against another newcomer in Michael Wang. Nick has improved a lot recently in strength and in rating. The Scorpions are using the September 2009 rating list for the whole season showing Nick at 2098. At the present moment he is at 2227 and showing no signs of stopping. This game should be interesting because playing the league is much different than playing in real life. It should be interesting to watch how both of these players adapt to the new circumstances (no player sitting by you, being part of a team, etc). I’ll give Nick the nod here and give us a point up in my prediction. Arizona 1 – 0 Seattle.
Board 1 is between Scorpion veteran Levon Altounian and new player FM Costin Cozianu. I don’t know much about Cozianu but after looking at some of his games he seems like a fairly aggressive player. This game seems like it might be a contrast of styles as Lev is very solid and likes to play positions with small advantages. Also to note is that Levon has White which he is much better with and could decide the decision in his favor. Let’s call it a draw just in case. Arizona 1.5 – 0.5 Seattle.
Board 2 is between IM Rogelio Barcenilla and FM Slava Mikhailuk. We were able to put Rogelio on board 2 for this match as the rule states that as long as the players are within 50 rating points of each other in the supplement that you chose you can make this switch. Rogelio is an amazing player and it is something special to have a 2583 rated player on board 2 for a team. Although he lost his game to GM Becerra in the first round no one could really deny his fight in the game. He went from clearly worse to losing to unclear to winning and then again back to losing. Crazy game…with Rogelio having 1-2 minutes for much of the latter part of the game. This round is a little different in that Rogelio will face a weaker, not taking anything away from him of course, opponent than Becerra in Slava Mikhailuk. Slava has White but Rogelio has a large rating advantage so sometimes those two even out but I’ll take Rogelio for the win. Arizona 2.5 – 0.5 Seattle.
Board 3 between IM-Elect Robby Adamson and WGM Katerina Rohonyan is a rematch of the 2008 season where these two same opponents played each other twice. Robby got the better of the match within a match by going 1.5/2 in those games even though both games were fairly close. I feel like Robby has a slight edge having White while also having good games in the past but I will go for a draw here. Arizona 3 – Seattle 1.
Overall I am predicting a 3-1 win for my Scorpions! Stay tuned tonight at 6:00pm Tucson time and 9:00pm Eastern for a truly exciting match for both teams. Either Arizona goes 2-0 to start off the season or Seattle rebounds from their first week loss to get back to 0.500. Big match!