A Bad Beating and a New Lineup

A Bad Beating and a New Lineup

CaliforniaUnicorns
CaliforniaUnicorns
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In the picture above, the Kangaroos are a sledgehammer and the Mechanics a small nut.

A Bad Beating and a New Lineup

by David Pruess, team manager

Last Tuesday, we were beat quite badly by the Kangaroos 11-5. From the outset almost everything went wrong, but if we have to list a couple key elements of the loss rather than 10, I could point out the Kangaroos 4th board, Raymond Song, 2329, going undefeated against 3 GMs and a player about his rating. What?? Here's how he started it:

Daniel used some opening prep designed to draw against other GMs with black, and Raymond was only to happy to oblige, following through on a match strategy to simplify, not make mistakes, and try to steer games towards draws against our GMs. He was frustratingly successful, and then crowned it off by beating Ezra in the last round. That's what it looks like when a 4th board carries a match. This performance would have certainly been enough to win the match if the other players on the Roo's had only played adequately. However, they didn't-- they played better than that.

Another player who could potentially have carried the match if the rest of his teammates had had medium days was top-gun Aleksey Sarana. All his games were impressive; here's one:

On the day, he scored a perfect 4/4, including grinding down our top board, Danya, in a slightly better ending to give the Roos an extra half point in the overall standings. They now narrowly lead the Pacific Division ahead of the Pandas.

Our brightest spot/best game was:

Danya managed to score 2.5/4, which was decent.

A decisive and one-sided match left the Mechanics hanging their heads, players, fans, and staff alike. The Mechanics manager wrote a few verses to express these feelings of dejection:

The Mechanics hope to bounce back in week 3 with a new lineup, that brings 3 new players out in their Mechanics debut. Obviously, the super-star is GM Wang Hao of China, a child prodigy, immensely talented, immensely friendly super-GM who also happens to be very good at rapid chess. (In rapid, he is rated 2781, #10 in the world, even higher than in classical). Other newcomers are young FMs-about-to-be-IMs Andrew Hong and Ladia Jirasek.

This new Mechanics lineup goes up against a Hikaru Nakamura and Gabriel Sargissian-led Sluggers lineup that will prove a strong challenge:

Sept Current Sept Current
Wang Hao 2700 2782 Hikaru Nakamura 2700 2845
Daniel Naroditsky 2615 2616 Gabriel Sargissian 2691 2696
Andrew Hong 2374 2390 Bryce Tiglon 2382 2390
Ladia Jirasek 2304 2376 Jason Yu 2099 2081
2498.25 2541 2468 2503

The Mechanics average rating advantage should not be overestimated, because it is almost entirely on board 4. On boards 1-3, the Sluggers actually hold a 30-40 point average rating advantage, so it's not clear which team is favored on paper. 

Our match can be seen live on twitch.tv/dpruess or in person at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club, where FMs Andy Lee and Josiah Stearman will be doing commentary. (Manager David Pruess will be hosting the Chess.com coverage of the pacific division on twitch.tv/chess).