Week 2 Playoff Predictions
Gnomes v Dynamite
This looks like a very dangerous match for the Gnomes today. The Dynamite team has more GMs than them. I'm going to pick the Gnomes by the slimmest of margins, 8.5-7.5
Budapest Gambit v. Gorky Stormbringers
Gorky is outrated by 100 points on average, which is tremendous. They got very lucky to win the match last week, and I will again predict them to lose this week. The Budapest team is strong and balanced and has draw odds-- but won't need them.
Marseille v. London Lions
Marseille runs three strong GMs, their best lineup, and even the Arch Bishops would have a tough time against them today. They should beat the Lions comfortably, especially if Remy scores a point.
Stockholm Snowballs v London Towers
I would guess another close match with more Gawain Jones heroics, but this time I'm guessing they fall short, based on the unknown Villagra turning out to be very good. Of course that's just a huge question mark, and my guess.
Montreal ChessBrahs v. Montclair Sopranos
Coverage of the league has focused more on Magnus, So, MVL, Caruana, Mamedyarov etc... than on the Montclair Sopranos. This makes sense, because people are just amazed that all these big names are participating in the first year of the league. However, if this were the second or third season, people would definitely have been paying more attention to the Sopranos because of how strong a team they are. Today they serve notice by knocking out Caruana, Li Chao, and the rest of the 'Brahs. The Sopranos are winners, they are good under time pressure, their board 4 can score. I expect they will put the beat down on the 'Brahs 3rd and 4th boards.
Buenos Aires Krakens v Miami Champions
OMG, a 3-GM lineup with Hikaru and Lenier Dominguez?? How is that even possible? And given that unreal lineup, how am I going to predict... that the young Argentinians upset the Champions?? These Krakens just feel like winners to me, I'm all-in on them all the way to the semis where they will lose to any Pacific team ;-)
Buenos Aires 8-8
Webster v San Jose Hackers
I think Webster has figured out the likely lineup from San Jose (they usually run 3 GMs for 2 rounds and 2 GMs for 2 rounds), and round by round carefully picked their players. For example, only in round 1, they sac their board 4 by playing an 1800 in order to play a 2600(!) player on board 3 and thus have a shot to score against the San Jose Board 2. All the Webster players will play less games and have more time to prepare and more energy as well. I think this is some very clever managing, and their team will actually score a decisive win against the strong Hackers team, showing the value of a bunch of strong players v. a super star (Mamedyarov).
St Louis Archbishops v. San Diego Surfers
A very tough match, between 2 of the best teams in the league. This is the only team that Wesley struggled against before, and this is also a matchup where I can see a lot of GMs getting upset (on both sides) by the non-GMs on the other side. I think Wesley will be ready to improve on his play last time these teams met, and will be careful and strong enough to avoid the upsets and lead the Archbishops to a narrow victory.
St Louis 8.5-7.5