PRO Chess League week 2 predictions
It has come to my attention that the PRO Chess League has inexplicably asked so-called "pundits" to predict the results of the matches, without consulting the total joke of a human being himself (credit to these fine gentlemen for the moniker). This travesty, of course, cannot go uncorrected! Thus I will, in a completely unbiased and professional manner, reveal the results of week 2's matches for you.
Delhi Dynamite vs. Mumbai Movers
For this match, I have drawn upon my wealth of experience and vast knowledge regarding Indian players, and come to the conclusion that I have heard of Abhijeet Gupta and have not heard of any of the other 7 players. Sorry about that. More importantly, have you ever tried moving when there's dynamite around? Firsthand(ish) experience: it sucks. Prediction: 9.5 - 6.5 Delhi Dynamite
Amaravati Yodhas vs. Odisha Express
I remember the first time I played a GM... I was young, full of life, and enthusiastically prepared myself for the upset of the year. In my head the pieces flew about forming beautiful patterns, the knights seeming to float in midair as they rampaged throughout the enemy position. Finally the win was clear and I moved in to give checkmate...
...then I woke up. Turns out GMs are actually pretty good. Prediction: 11 - 5 Odisha Express
P.S. What exactly is a Yodha? I've built up google searching skills over a long and decorated career, but couldn't find an answer in a few seconds so I didn't bother using them.
Gorky Stormbringers vs. Shymkent Nomads
I was going to write a nice paragraph here, but then I got distracted laughing my ass off at the mental image of nomads running around from place to place dodging storms. But I'm pretty sure that's actually more or less what the point of a nomad is. Trust me, I'm a historian. Well, I could be a historian. Whatever. Prediction: 9 - 7 Shymkent Nomads
Belgrade Sparrows vs. Budapest Gambit
Uh... guys? The "Budapest Gambit" is kind of taken already. Do you see Belgrade going with the lame "Belgrade Gambit"? That's what I thought. "Gambit" isn't even plural. On the other hand that might be because the Belgrade gambit kind of sucks, as at least one of these "pundits" bothered to notice. Anyway, the obvious prediction is that Budapest loses round 1, but wins the match. Prediction: 9 - 7 Budapest Gambit, 3 - 1 Belgrade Sparrows in round 1
Riga Magicians vs. Ljubljana Direwolves
Back in the good old days, I'd have a nice winstreak going until, out of nowhere, a goddamn Dire Wolf appeared and destroyed my board control. If you understand what I'm talking about, my heart goes out to you. Anyway, in my travels I have seen the future, and it is a strange future indeed... Prediction: 8.5 - 7.5 Ljubljana Direwolves.
Norway Gnomes vs. Johannesberg Koeksister
Some predictions call for an explanation. This isn't one of them. Prediction: 11 - 5 Norway Gnomes.
Lagos Leatherbacks vs. Abuja Rockstars
When I was younger, my parents would read stories like "the tortoise and the hare". I told them it was a stupid story because it was obviously better to be fast and steady. But untitled players playing rapid? That seems as close to a "choose one" scenario as chess is likely to get. Sure, we might not see the cleanest play ever, but are you not entertained? Prediction: 9 - 7 Abuja Rockstars with ZERO DRAWS
Amsterdam Mosquitos vs. Apeldoorn Apes
The mosquitos may have a very solid rating advantage here, but have you ever heard of "Planet of the Mosquitos"? Hm? I thought not. Though on second thought, that sounds a lot more terrifying than apes. Also I've heard of Amsterdam but not of Apeldoorn, which is another clear plus for the mosquitos. With all that in mind, Prediction: 9.5 - 6.5 Amsterdam Mosquitos.
Cannes Blockbusters vs. Marseille Migraines
The other day Carlsen supposedly refuted the Najdorf with 6. a3. I'll believe it when he beats MVL. And any player who forms the litmus test for Magnus Carlsen is unlikely to have trouble this week. More interesting is to see if he 4-0s again, and gets to feel like Shelly. Prediction: 10 - 6 Marseille Migraines
Hamburg Swashbucklers vs. Dublin Desperados
Hamburg had a bit of a disappointment last week, but it ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That's easier said than done when you have "THE PUFFINS THE PUFFINS" playing over and over in your head. I'm tilted just thinking about it. But I'm sure they'll manage. 9 - 7 Hamburg Swashbucklers.
Reykjavik Puffins vs. Stockholm Snowballs
Speak of the devils. Yes, this was indeed a setup to a "snowball's chance in hell" pun. Sorry not sorry. Despite that, the razor thin margin by which the Puffins survived isn't going to work out against this strong a team, though enthusiasm will get them close. Prediction: 8.5 - 7.5 Stockholm Snowballs
London Towers vs. London Lions
Who allowed two teams to have the same city name? What are we, Los Angeles? I propose the loser of this match has to switch their name to something else, like... uh... "totally not London". That'll do. Fortunately this won't affect them. Prediction: 8 - 8 tie
Patagonia Penguins vs. Buenos Aires Krakens
Somehow "release the Penguin!" has a bit less impact than the better known version. In any case, after witnessing Pingu (by proxy), I can no longer take anything involving penguins seriously. Also it makes us look better if Buenos Aires wins. Prediction: 10 - 6 Buenos Aires Krakens
New York Knights vs. Miami Champions
Nakamura has a strange relationship with NY-MIA matches, but this time control seems like his jam. Nonetheless the spotlight will be on Nikhil Kumar in more ways than one; if he scores at all, Miami should easily win, but the top boards are strong enough that he could probably be replaced with a potato. Or a knight. Or a champion. Call it what you will. Prediction: 9 - 7 Miami Champions
Columbus Cardinals vs. Carolina Cobras
Can chess commentary column completely circumvent characters... ok I give up (insert C-C-Combobreaker reference). Anyway, teams whose average age is smaller than the number of characters in their name kind of scare me (also the above reference outdates them all). That's good enough to combat the rating difference. Prediction: 8.5 - 7.5 Columbus Cardinals
Philadelphia Inventors vs. Atlanta Kings
Ah, Philadelphia. The city of so much of the country's history, and the city of so many people who won't let you forget it. And also people who don't like Santa Claus. But this year they seem to have managed a way to get players they desperately need -- i.e. GMs -- and should need a little less of their trademark USCL magic. Prediction: 9 - 7 Philadelphia Inventors
Montclair Sopranos vs. New Jersey Knockouts
Finally, we come to an easy match to predict. Many years ago I was grinding a long boring endgame -- at least as far as an 1800 can "grind" -- prompting the observing TD to comment "I'm gonna go watch the Sopranos". But then he came back, presumably because my game was the more exciting option.
Also, the Knockouts have a big advantage in "players from New Jersey" category, which really pushes it over the edge to a Prediction: 16 - 0 New Jersey Knockouts
Montreal Chessbrahs vs. Toronto Dragons
There are some players you hope have a good day. There are some players you count on to score points. Then there are players who mouseslip and still 4-0. Montreal has also wisely chosen a contingent of mostly 1. d4 players, obviously a ploy to avoid the dragon. Prediction: 9 - 7 Montreal Chessbrahs
Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers vs. Minnesota Blizzard
One of the first times I played a GM, I thought I had a nice position going: pieces lined up for the attack, more space, nice central control... then the GM took b2 and a2 and strolled around the room while I wondered what just happened. Maybe that wouldn't work against top 5 players, but hey, when at Tata... Prediction: 9 - 7 Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers
Webster Windmills vs. Saint Louis Arch Bishops
When I was in 8th grade, I thought it might be fun to play in my grade's state championship, only to discover I outrated the field by 500 points (fortunately, despite the odds, I managed to pull through). I suppose that's how Webster must feel whenever they show up to Pan-Ams. But St. Louis is no random college team, despite their inability to understand that "archbishop" is one word. Still, Robson is slightly more known for giving up half points than the top 3 archbishops are, which proves to be the difference here. Prediction: 8.5 - 7.5 St. Louis Arch Bishops
Rio Grande Ospreys vs. Dallas Destiny
Destiny is such a strange concept. Am I destined to be writing this right now? How about this? Or kfqlwuigdfnvboumGFSAWUIM? Whatever the case, Dallas seems to have more or less figured it out. Prediction: 9 - 7 Dallas Destiny
San Francisco Mechanics vs. San Jose Hackers
When I was a kid, I liked breaking things. Then I liked making things. Then I liked breaking things again. As you can imagine, this was not a very productive cycle, and also my parents were less than thrilled with my experimentation. But nowadays I'm forced to make more things than I break, so Prediction: 8.5 - 7.5 San Francisco Mechanics
Portland Rain vs. Seattle Sluggers
"Rain" has got to be the worst team name since "Applesauce". Yo Portland, team names are supposed to be cool, not just mildly annoying. At least go with "storm" or "thunder" or something. You don't see Minnesota calling themselves "snow"... anyway, retirement doesn't work so well with rapid, giving the youth the advantage. Prediction: 10 - 6 Seattle Sluggers
San Diego Surfers vs. Las Vegas Desert Rats
Judging by recent events, maybe we should save time and call these guys the "Los Angeles Surfers". Or maybe they can raise some funds by starting a moving company. In any case people are too quick to forget that Elliott Liu actually knows what he's doing and should score enough to take this match. Prediction: 8.5 - 7.5 Las Vegas Desert Rats
So there you have it: all 24 results of tomorrow's matches. Now you get to be the cool kid (or uncle, or aunt, or whatever age-appropriate title you hold) who always knows things before everyone else. Just remember this: when people ask you how you knew, give a slight knowing smile and change the subject. Judging by my 100% success rate, it works great on 7 year olds.
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