Baltimore Kingfishers' Week 9 Preview
Baltimore Kingfishers vs. Connecticut Dreadnoughts
GM Niclas Huschenbeth (2610) - GM Mikheil Kekelidze (2576)
GM Larry Kaufman (2401) - IM Justin Sarkar (2512)
NM Jared Defibaugh (2297) - FM Leif Pressman (2374)
FM Ralph Zimmer (2244) - Jason Shi (2173)
Wednesday, 7:20 PM EDT
Time Control: 75 min. with 30 sec. increment
Note: Players in italic have the white pieces.
The Baltimore Kingfishers (3.5-4.5, 3rd place) battle the Connecticut Dreadnoughts (5.0-3.0, 2nd place) in a race to secure the 2nd playoff spot in the Northeast Division. Connecticut is 1.0 match point behind the 1st place New England Nor'easters, and the 1st place team in each division gets to choose either draw odds or color choice in the Quarterfinals of the playoffs. Baltimore needs to win this match to have any chance of overtaking Connecticut in the final week of the regular season. Baltimore is also behind with 14.5 game points (the first tie-break) to Connecticut's 18.0 game points thanks to Connecticut's 4-0 sweep of Baltimore the last time they faced-off in Week 1 of this season. Surprisingly, that means Baltimore has outscored Connecticut by 0.5 game points but Connecticut has outscored Baltimore by 0.5 match points after Week 1. Connecticut leads the all-time series 1.5-0.5 in match points. Three players (GM Mikheil Kekelidze, NM Jared Defibaugh, and Jason Shi) return from that last match to play in this match, too.
Board 1: GM Niclas Huschenbeth vs. GM Mikheil Kekelidze. GM Niclas Huschenbeth is (+1 -1) in his 2nd USCL season and has not played against Connecticut previously. He won in Week 7 with the white pieces against GM Emil Anka of the Seattle Sluggers on Board 1. He is matched up with GM Mikheil Kekelidze, who is (+2 =2 -1) in his 2nd USCL season and has scored (+1 =1) against Baltimore. He last played in Week 5, when he won with the black pieces against GM Sam Shankland of the New England Nor'easters on Board 1.
Board 2: IM Justin Sarkar vs. GM Larry Kaufman. IM Justin Sarkar lost his only game of the season in Week 7 with the white pieces against IM Levon Altounian of the Arizona Scorpions on Board 2. He has yet to play against Baltimore in his 3 USCL seasons. His opponent, GM Larry Kaufman, has a (=1 -2) record in his 9th season and drew his only career game against Connecticut. He lost in Week 7 with the black pieces against FM Costin Cozianu of the Seattle Sluggers on Board 2.
Board 3: NM Jared Defibaugh vs. FM Leif Pressman. NM Jared Defibaugh is (+2 =3 -2) in his 4th season and has a (-2) record against Connecticut. He drew last week with the black pieces against NM Mika Brattain of the New England Nor'easters on Board 3. He is set to play against FM Leif Pressman, who is (+1 =1) in his 2nd season but has not played against Baltimore. He drew in Week 7 with the black pieces against IM Mark Ginsburg of the Arizona Scorpions on Board 3.
Board 4: Jason Shi vs. FM Ralph Zimmer. Jason Shi is (+1 =1) in his first USCL season and won his only game against Baltimore. He last played in Week 4, when he drew with the black pieces against Jacob Wilkins of the St. Louis Arch Bishops on Board 4. He will square-off against FM Ralph Zimmer, who is (+2 =1) in his 8th year in the USCL and won his only career game against Connecticut. He won last week with the white pieces against NM Andrew Liu of the New England Nor'easters on Board 4.
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