Baltimore Kingfishers' Week 1 Preview
Wednesday, 7:20 PM EDT
Time Control 75 min. with 30 sec. increment
Connecticut Dreadnoughts vs. Baltimore Kingfishers
GM Mikheil Kekelidze (2576) - IM Levan Bregadze (2469)
GM Michael Rohde (2548) - IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (2492)
IM Jay Bonin (2436) - NM Jared Defibaugh (2297)
Jason Shi (2173) - NM Ian Schoch (2294)
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
And so begins the 9th season of the U.S. Chess League (USCL). In the first week's match-up, we find our Baltimore Kingfishers paired against the Connecticut Dreadnoughts. This will be Baltimore's 9th season and Connecticut's 2nd season in the league. In light of the newly-enacted four teams per division arrangement in the USCL, this match has some extra importance as these two teams compete in the same division and there will be only 6 divisional games this year. The last (and only) time these two teams squared-off, they settled for a drawn match in Week 3, 2012. Two players (GM Kekelidze and NM Defibaugh) from that match return to play in this match.
Board 1: GM Mikheil Kekelidze vs. IM Levan Bregadze. GM Mikheil Kekelidze was (+1 =6 -3) last year for the Dreadnoughts and is (=1) against Baltimore. His opponent, IM Levan Bregadze, scored (+7 =1 -2) for his former team, the St. Louis Archbishops, and is (-1) against Connecticut. Both players will look to avoid starting their sophomore season in a slump!
Board 2: IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat vs. GM Michael Rohde. IM Tegshsuren Enkhbat, who will be appearing in his 9th USCL season, was (=3 -2) for the Kingfishers last season. He has yet to play against Connecticut. IM Enkhbat is a stalwart of the Baltimore team, having a career score of 28.0/60 from the team's 85 matches (including playoffs). Sitting opposite him (on the virtual chess board) will be GM Michael Rohde, who will be playing his 1st game in the USCL. This pairing is a rare clash between a USCL Veteran, who has been in the league from the start, vs. a complete USCL Rookie.
Board 3: IM Jay Bonin vs. NM Jared Defibaugh. After not playing at all in the USCL last season (despite being on the Philadelphia Inventors' roster), IM Jay Bonin is now playing again with the 3rd team of his 9-year USCL career. He has accumulated 28.0 points in 47 USCL games. He will be facing NM Jared Defibaugh, playing in his 4th USCL season. NM Defibaugh scored (+4 -3) last season, but lost his game in Baltimore's previous match with Connecticut. He has scored 10.0/19 in the USCL thus far. Both players have plenty of experience in the USCL, so they know that every (half-)point counts.
Board 4: NM Ian Schoch vs. Jason Shi. NM Ian Schoch returns to the Baltimore Kingfishers' lineup after a year off. He previously played in 2 USCL seasons, and he won 5 out of 8 games (all were decisive). He is set to play another USCL newcomer for Connecticut, Jason Shi. Will NM Schoch be able to continue his decisive game streak?
For archived blog posts, check out http://baltimorekingfishers.blogspot.com/
Also, you can vote in the polls below: