Tuesday, September 4

Youth Movement Continues for SF Mechanics

The 8th season of the US Chess League kicks off this week, with Eastern conference teams facing off tonight and the West playing on Wednesday.  For the San Francisco Mechanics, the new year rekindles a quest for a second league Championship, after the successful campaign in 2006.  Ten weekly matches, played on both ICC and Chess.com this year, will lead up to the Playoffs in November.  As always, the team's home base is the 4th floor at the Mechanics' Institute.

Youth has served the club well over the years, and a precocious trio of preteen masters will have opposing managers cursing about the Bay's waters being Juiced.  Have they not learned over the years?  At the same time, don't count out a pair of successful prodigies manning the top boards--GM Vinay Bhat and IM Daniel Naroditsky--nor the wily engineer GM Jesse Kraai.  With five adults and five juniors on the team roster, I expect captain IM John Donaldson to maintain a steady hand and field age-balanced lineups, two adults to keep two rambunctious kittens in check.

The Mechanics will use the January 2012 rating list.  The four players chosen each week must be rated 2400.75 or less in average.  The +/- number shows any rating change from January to current, including the Labor Day weekend. 
  1. GM Vinay Bhat 2555
  2. GM Jesse Kraai 2567
  3. IM Daniel Naroditsky 2546 (-2)
  4. IM Dmitry Zilberstein 2472 (-5)
  5. IM John Donaldson 2402 (+6)
  6. FM Yian Liou 2354 (+78)
  7. SM Sam Sevian 2299 (+147)
  8. FM Andy Lee 2273 (+18)
  9. NM Cameron Wheeler 2154 (+86)
  10. NM Kesav Viswanadha 2134 (+72)  
The first week's lineup of Bhat - Kraai - Sevian - Wheeler seems typical for this year.  Not many teams can match the 2452 average rating while staying below the 2400.75 cap.  The roster appears quite flexible; Naroditsky can substitute for either GM while Liou/Sevian and Wheeler/Viswanadha are both almost interchangeable.  And when the team needs to draw upon more experience, Zilberstein and Lee can drive home the even numbered boards.

Good luck to the San Francisco Mechanics!  Check the US Chess League website for weekly lineups as well as the club's regular season schedule.  To kick off the 2012 season, the local guys dance with the Cobras of Carolina on Wednesday, beginning at 5:30pm Pacific.  Games will be on ICC for Mondays (and tonight) and on Chess.com for Wednesdays.  I believe the moves are relayed back and forth between servers.  However, each site plans independent live (and exciting) multimedia coverage.

Random question: How soon will the USCL include a player rated 2000+ and born after the inaugural season began in September 2005?


Unknown said...

what's up with the new Mechanic's Logo?? I totally like the SF one way much better!!!!!!! Was there some worry about copyright infringement or something??

Michael Aigner said...

I completely agree. The old logo was indeed much nicer. I do see how the lettering "SF" and color scheme looks a bit like the 49ers logo. Sigh!