PRO Chess League Week 1 Predictions
I have absolutely no idea why, but for some reason I have been asked to be a part of the PRO Chess League Prediction Panel. I'll do my best.
As this is my first blog post on Chess.com, I'll start with a quick introduction of myself. My name is Tarjei J. Svensen and some of you may know me as a profilic chess tweeter and Norwegian chess journalist. I run my own very, very popular chess site Matt & Patt in Norwegian, although GM Jonathan Tisdall's English language reports from the World Championship match was a great success. Maybe some day I'll make it all in English. Until then, you can use Google Translate which makes sense some of the time.
I've just recovered from two weeks in New York and another week in Doha during the World Blitz & Rapid Championship. And Tata Steel Chess in Wijk aan Zee is coming up! Can you guess who will be there?
Ok, the introduction has been long enough. From now on it's all about the PRO Chess League! What an awesome event this is going to be! We're in 2017, so why didn't anyone think of doing an event like this before?
So here are my predictions:
Atlanta Kings 9
Miami Champions 7
A completely open match with Cuban superstar Lenier Dominguez on Miami, but I'm leaning towards a win for the Kings because their first board Gadir Guseinov is my buddy.
Buenos Aires Krakens 10,5
New Jersey Knockouts 5,5
I can't see any knockout here in any case, but I think the veterans in New Jersey are going to suffer against the young Argentinians in this format.
Carolina Cobras 4
Philadelphia Inventors 12
Carolina Cobras will have to live up to their name if they are going to have any chance in this match, as Philadelphia's top stars Andryi Vovk and Sergey Erenburg are going to score big.
Columbia Cardinals 7
Patagonia Penguins 9
I don't know a single player in this match, so this prediction is as random as the lottery.
Montreal Chessbrahs 9,5
New York Knights 6,5
I predict the Chessbrahs to be a crowd pleaser in the PRO Chess League, and even without Hansen and Caruana, their superstar Li Chao has the potential to score perfectly in the first match.
Toronto Dragons 7,5
Montclair Sopranos 8,5
This is a tough one to predict, but being a Marc Arnold fan, I'm leaning towards a narrow win for the Sopranos.
Dallas Destiny 5
St. Louis Arch Bishops 11
In general not a huge fan of Arch Bishops, but Dallas Destiny will likely need to make their prayers in order to overcome Wesley So & co.
Minnesota Blizzard 12
Portland Rain 4
There are a lot of Norwegians in Minnesota, so I am bound to support the Blizzards!
Rio Grande Ospreys 5
Las Vegas Desert Rats 11
I expect Blindfold King Timur Gareev and young talent Kayden Troff to score big for the Desert Rats and cause a small upset.
San Diego Surfers 9
'Seattle Sluggers 7
I don't see San Diego surfing through this match, but having the legendary Alexey Dreev on their team will likely help them to win the match narrowly.
Webster Windmills 5,5
San Jose Hackers 10,5
Shakhriyhar Mamedyarov is one of the stars of the PRO Chess League and I expect him to score perfectly, while Webster will need to hack into their opponents if they are to win this match.
Pittsburgh Pawngrabbers 6,5
San Francisco Mechanics 9,5
Hearing San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the US, so they have my vote in this one.
Belgrade Sparrows 5
Odisha Express 11
Although my friends from Belgrade have my support, I am pretty sure that the Indians will prove to be too strong in this match.
Budapest Gambit 7
Mumbai Movers 9
The Budapest Gambit is such a bad opening, so hopefully Movers will take this one.
Delhi Dynamite 8,5
Ljubljana Direwolves 7,5
I've been in love with India since I went to Chennai during the World Championship Match in 2013, so my vote goes to the Dynamites here.
Norway Gnomes 10
Riga Magicians 6
I expect to be accused of bias here, but I can't see the Gnomes losing this, even without the World Champion available.
Amaravati Yodhas 8
Shymkent Nomads 8
These two names make no sense, so I can't see anything other than a tie.
Johannesburg Koeksisters 6
Gorky Stormbringers 10
The South Africans are going to have a tough time against the Russians with speed chess expert Evgeny Shaposhnikov leading the way.
Abuja Rockstars 4
London Lions 12
Nice to see teams from every corner of the world in the event, but the Rockstars from Abuja will suffer against the strong Lions from London.
Amsterdam Mosquitos 5,5
Stockholm Snowballs 10,5
As a Norwegian I hate to say it, but the Swedes fielding three even Grandmasters and a strong woman, are going to be among the favourites of the event.
Apeldoorn Apes 7
Cannes Blockbusters 9
I could just as well flip a coin, but in general I like to watch blockbusters.
Dublin Desperados 11
Lagos Leatherbacks 5
No need to be desperate here, Dubliners, as the Leatherbacks are at least a couple of numbers too weak for you.
Hamburg Swashbucklers 10
Reykjavik Puffins 6
Even if I like Iceland, it's much too cold for me and I have visited Hamburg at least 20 times in my lifetime.
London Towers 6
Marseille Migraines 10
The French team on paper looks very scary with stars MVL and Bacrot, but I do think the Towers in London will give them a decent match on the last two boards.
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