Sunday, September 21, 2008

Week 5 Preview By Leo Martinez -- Arizona Scorpions vs. Carolina Cobras

Week 5 is underway for the Scorpions on Wednesday with a match against the Carolina Cobras. This is a match that had caught my eye from the beginning of the season as my good friend Craig Jones is the manager and usual 4th board for the Cobras. Craig used to live and coach in Tucson for a long time but moved to North Carolina 6 years ago. I have had many talks with Craig about the league and about other teams in the league as well as our respective teams. Now our teams will have to face each other!

Carolina is a team that many expected to finish last in the Eastern Conference but have surprised some people with a 2-2 record from the first four matches with an especially impressive 4-0 win last week versus the struggling New York Knights. Being a clash of teams with 2-2 records in opposite divisions this becomes a very important match for each team as the middle of the season approaches.

Let's look at the lineups for each team (Photos by Amanda Mateer and James Martin):

Board 1
IM Levon Altounian 2535 vs. IM Lev Milman 2502

This is a very interesting matchup pitting two strong International Masters against one another. These two have played once before in the 2005 US Championships a while back that ended in a draw. However, considering Levon's strength playing White and Milman's impressive win last week against GM Shabalov this game should be anything but peaceful.

Board 2
FM Oleg Zaikov 2376 vs. IM Mark Ginsburg 2410

Another close match of an experienced International Master that has been on the scene for a couple decades versus a strong college student that has done well in the US Chess League in the past. Although Oleg has generally played the most and done best on board 3 in past seasons he does have strong wins over IM Justin Sarkar and FM Todd Andrews on board 2 this season.

Board 3
FM Robby Adamson 2377 vs. FM Ron Simpson 2346

Both of these players have played board 3 most of the season and both come off wins for their respective teams with Robby defeating FM Todd Andrews to help Arizona beat Tennessee and Ron Simpson beating IM Jay Bonin of New York. This is also the first season for both players as Ron Simpson is a new addition to the Cobras. Both are aggressively minded which should create a lot of fireworks!

Board 4
NM Craig Jones 2320 vs. NM Warren Harper 2350

Like all the others, rating wise this matchup is very close. Warren will have a chance to avenge his previous losses in the league while also playing his toughest competitor yet in Craig Jones. Craig comes off a very nice win against WFM Iryna Zenyuk of New York. These two fourth boards are both very strong and pit two of the highest rated 4th boards in the league against one another.

As you can see all four of these games are very close in rating and strength and literally anything is possible. Check out the match live at the University of Arizona, Cesar Chavez Building (5th Floor) 1110 E James E. Rogers Way Tucson, AZ or on ICC at 6:00 PM AZ time. Go Scorpions !


Anonymous said...

Are there directions to the match posted anywhere? Where is this building?

LMartinez said...

The address to the site is 1110 E James E. Rogers Way. The site is a couple buildings west of the Student Union.

Rich in Phoenix said...

Good Luck tonight Scorpions - I'll be watching on ICC as you fight for victory over the Cobras!

Check out my Blog for my predictions: