Thursday, September 06, 2007

An Undefeated Philadelphia Team?!

I am pretty new to Philadelphia… I keep hearing all this talk about some sport team called the “Philadelphia Eagles.” Apparently, they are pretty popular in this town.

Well. . . . I say forget those clowns – we got the “Philadelphia Inventors” – one of two US Chess League teams to remain undefeated! On Wednesday night they clobbered the New York Knights (so much so, that apparently half of the league insiders are already readjusting (i.e., flat-out revising!) their playoff predictions)! (Note: According to the USCL website poll, 24% of voters chose New York to win the trophy this year, while only 4% chose Philadelphia).

Theories are abound regarding the Inventors success and undefeated record. Obviously, having GM powerhouse Sergey Kudrin (2605) at “table one” is a key factor. Also, the Inventors seem to have something to prove after the debacle last year that kept them from the playoffs. (On a personal note, I have noticed that for the past two weekends the local networks have been playing all four of the Rocky movies. I am convinced no Philadelphia-based sports team can ever lose if that Rocky music is playing in the background somewhere – “It’s the eye of the tiger . . . .”).

GM Sergey Kudrin (2605)

Sitting at “table one” in the coveted “cushy seat” at the Franklin Mercantile chess club (this isn’t a clever euphuism – I think it’s the only chair in the chess club with some semblance of a cushion) was, once again, Sergey Kudrin. We needed him, too! Bearing down across from him (100 miles away in New York) was GM Pascal Charbonneau (2536). The game resulted in a draw.

IM Bryan Smith (2442)

Back in his usual spot was IM Bryan Smith. Again, Bryan’s chess playing is a wonderment to behold. Highlighted in the picture is a large cup of “Wawa Cofee.” For those of you unfamiliar with Wawa cofee (especially all my foreign readers) it is worthy of explanation. Technically the beverage does contain elements of coffee (or something that once was coffee), but it pretty much consists of 90% sugar and 10% some other “mystery fluid” (my personal guess is anti-freeze). Either way this stuff is potent (as in “you-will-not-be-getting-sleep-until-next-Thursday” potent)– and Bryan is sitting here drinking a large! (I doubt I would be able to see much less play chess after drinking a large cup of Wawa coffee). It didn’t seem to phase Bryan though – he scored a nice draw for the Inventors against the higher-ranked Irina Krush.

NM Elvin Wilson (2240)

I am told Elvin does have an actual face and one day (hopefully, sooner than later) I’ll get a picture of it. In the meantime – damn my poor photography skills – I can only offer this slightly improved (from last week) aerial shot. Elvin once again opted to forgo using the accompanying chess board and just used the computer screen – again, the only one doing so. Whatever his system – it works – he scored a big win for the Inventors.

Daniel Yeager (2313)

Daniel “ol’man” Yeager sat for his first game of the season on Wednesday night. I hadn’t met him yet so I walked in and made my introductions. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, his game had already started and when I walked in it was his turn to move. As if the moved pieces on his chessboard in front of me wasn’t enough of a clue, I stood there just yapping away for like three or four minutes. Well, he sat there patiently and politely – listening to my crap – as his time slowly slipped away. I finally realized what was going on and left. I thought that if he lost, I might be permanently banned from Chess League (at least the Philadelphia team). He didn’t though. He scored a huge upset win against a higher ranked player. Awesome -- I can still show my face at the games!

I plan to look at all the games during the next couple days and hopefully offer patzer-level analysis -- stay tuned!