The 6-0 Chicago Blaze may face their toughest opponent of the year this week in the San Francisco Mechanics, who at 3.5-2.5, are in a 3 way tie for second place in the West. After five seasons of being one of the top teams in the League, the Mechanics fell short in 2010 as a very poor end to the season left them out of the playoffs for the first time in their history.
But that was then and this is now. As for tomorrow night's encounter, the Mechanics are throwing a very tough lineup at Chicago that includes 2 GM's and one of the strongest up and coming IM's in the land. Clearly, the Mechanics are looking to take the Blaze down and to put an end to its 2011 perfect season record. Here are all the match-ups for tomorrow night's encounter:
||San Francisco Mechanics
|GM Yury Shulman: 2687||GM Vinay Bhat: 2555|
|GM Mesgen Amanov: 2576||GM Jesse Kraai: 2567|
|IM Angelo Young: 2415||IM Daniel Naroditsky: 2516|
|NM Sam Schmakel: 2190||Uyanga Byambaa: 2070|
|Avg Rating: 2467
||Avg Rating: 2427
|| San Francisco
The Blaze has a slight ratings advantage although the Mechanics match up well.
- On Board 1, GM Yury Shulman faces GM Vinay Bhat, a seasoned USCL vet with an impressive 21.0/32.0 lifetime record. Bhat has also been named to numerous USCL All-Star squads over the years.
- On Board 2, GM Mesgen Amanov faces off against GM Jessie Kraii in what should be a fascinating battle. The red hot 2.5-.5 Mesgen was recently recognized for his brilliant play in America's newspaper of record. Meanwhile, Kraii is one of those guys who lives, eats, and breathes chess, and even proudly resided in a place called the GM House.
- On Board 3, IM Angelo Young, who is 3-0 thus far this season, will have his hands full with IM Daniel Naroditsky, a 15 year old prodigy (Wikipedia's words, not mine) who has a Junior World Championship title, a published book on positional chess, and a GM norm to his credit, as well as 100 point rating edge. But then again, Angelo is not the kind of guy who shies away from a challenge so I wouldn't count Angelo out just yet.
- On Board 4, Blaze rookie Sam Schmakel goes for his third victory in as many outings against Uyanga Byambaa who is also playing in her first USCL season.
The stage is set for quite a battle. The action starts tomorrow evening at 7:30 Chicago time at Skokie's North Shore Chess Center. Stay tuned… and Go Blaze!