USCL Week 8 preview/predictions

Oct 14, 2014, 3:48 PM |

I've been extremely busy this week, and completely forgot to post predictions! Hence I'll just leave these here and run, given that the matches start in half an hour...

New York Knights  New Jersey Knockouts
GM Gata Kamsky: 2785 1.0 0.0 GM Alex Stripunsky: 2656
SM Matt Herman: 2439 0.0 1.0 GM Joel Benjamin: 2634
SM Nicolas Checa: 2396 0.5 0.5 NM John Michael Burke: 2295
FM Aravind Kumar: 2201 0.5 0.5 Aaron Jacobson: 2139
Average Rating: 2455     Average Rating: 2431
New York Total 2.0 2.0 New Jersey Total

I have to admit I'm not entirely confident in this match, given that New York looks like the best team in the league by a significant margin coming into this week. Nonetheless, we have serious chances to shake up the division here. With GM Kamsky finally finding his form and GM Stripunsky still struggling to get on track, the huge board 2 advantage we have is almost completely nullified. Also, Herman is no stranger to this matchup, knocking NJ out of the playoffs last year with a ridiculous swindle against GM Benjamin. The bottom boards are in New York's favor on paper, but with the oldest of the four being like 14 years old, it's basically impossible to say anything of real substance. Checa-JMB will probably be a big highlight of the night, with those two being some of the strongest kids in the country. 

Philadelphia Inventors  Manhattan Applesauce
FM Dov Gorman: 2400 0.0 1.0 GM Robert Hungaski: 2551
FM Rodion Rubenchik: 2329 0.5 0.5 FM Andrew Shvartsman: 2432
IM Richard Costigan: 2288 0.5 0.5 SM Ryan Goldenberg: 2384
NM Todd Bryant: 2201 0.5 0.5 NM Ben Gershenov: 2210
Average Rating: 2305     Average Rating: 2394
Philadelphia Total 1.5 2.5 Manhattan Total

Philly pulled off magic in the first half of the season, but without IM Bartell they've looked exactly like they look on paper - a heavily understaffed team that simply can't compete with the rest of the league. This is quite possibly a playoff-style match, with the winner in prime position to get into the postseason and the loser facing a very difficult road in. I feel like Philadelphia will manage to make this interesting, but Manhattan just has them heavily outmatched.

Connecticut Dreadnoughts  Carolina Cobras
GM Oliver Barbosa: 2579 1.0 0.0 IM Kassa Korley: 2486
FM Leif Pressman: 2432 0.5 0.5 FM Andrey Chumachenko: 2435
SM Joshua Colas: 2400 0.0 1.0 NM Ilker Bozkurt: 2383
FM Jason Shi: 2220 0.0 1.0 NM Kevin Mo: 2334
Average Rating: 2408     Average Rating: 2410
Connecticut Total 1.5 2.5 Carolina Total

Connecticut looked great at the halfway point, but they've floundered in the absence of GM Lenderman. Though they remain a pretty good team, they're really struggling to put points on the board. Carolina, on the other hand, came out of nowhere to suddenly vault themselves into realistic playoff hopes, though they're still way on the outside looking in. A win tonight might be the push they need to make a late playoff run. They have big advantages on the bottom boards, with white and a rating edge on board 4 as well as a hot NM Bozkurt on board 3. They'll realistically need both those games to go their way for the point.

Baltimore Kingfishers  Miami Sharks
GM Niclas Huschenbeth: 2603 0.5 0.5 GM Julio Becerra: 2626
GM Larry Kaufman: 2391 0.0 1.0 GM Renier Gonzalez: 2510
NM Jared Defibaugh: 2325 0.5 0.5 NM Federico Gonzalez: 2315
FM Ralph Zimmer: 2268 0.5 0.5 Vlad Yanovsky: 2165
Average Rating: 2397     Average Rating: 2404
Baltimore Total 1.5 2.5 Miami Total

Miami in the second half of the season is a very different team from Miami in the first half of the season, and they're proving that once again this year. This may also be a de facto playoff match, as the winner will have solid control of their destiny going forward. GM Becerra has at least as many winning chances as FM Zimmer has, while Miami has to be happy with the matchups on the middle boards. The Sharks aren't going away easily.

New England Nor'easters  Boston Blitz
IM David Vigorito: 2519 0.5 0.5 IM Steven Zierk: 2543
SM Mika Brattain: 2453 0.0 1.0 FM Denys Shmelov: 2473
FM Steven Winer: 2419 1.0 0.0 NM Chris Williams: 2310
NM Greg Kaden: 2170 0.0 1.0 NM Ilya Krasik: 2264
Average Rating: 2390     Average Rating: 2398
New England Total 1.5 2.5 Boston Total

In a night where almost every match has serious playoff implications, this contest is probably going to be overlooked by all but the fans of these teams. New England clearly gave up when they started adding 1600s to their roster, while Boston's chances are only theoretical (but hey, you never know). Nonetheless, it's a pretty even matchup, and the pride factor here should make it interesting. Krasik's season has been just miserable thus far, and I'd like to see him at least collect a couple of points before the season ends. The middle boards are fairly evenly matched, with Winer and Shmelov probably having about the same winning chances. Finally, the top board is a pretty even contest. I'll give the nod to Boston, because they at least can keep it in the back of their minds that miracles can happen.

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