7.5/8, How did we do it?

After tonights 2.5-1.5 victory over  the New York Knights, the Nor’Easters are almost guaranteed 1st place in the East. There hasn’t been too much talk about New England thus far, despite the fact that we’ve had the best record in the league for awhile. I think most people have written us off for just having an “easy” schedule. I feel like tonight we proved that we can compete,  even if our opponents use a very strong stacked lineup.. So what have been our keys to success this season?

A) Availability

Most teams have a few GM ”Superstars” on their team and then fill the rest of their roster with lower rated players. The problem with this is that the superstars are not always available to play. Take St. Lous for example, without Hikaru Nakamura or Yury Shulman, they really can’t field a competitive lineup. These guys are often away too due to the fact that they are professional chess players. St Louis is not the only team who is built this way. As for the Nor’Easters, we have no GMs on our team. Although this could be seen as a drawback, it allows us great flexibility when it comes to choosing our lineups. Amazingly enough, we have 12 different lineups that field a USCL rating of 2390 or higher, and most of these lineups are very close to the league max of 2400. This means whenever a few guys aren’t available to play, we can still field a very competitive lineup.

Yes we have had some easy matches (rating wise) thus far, but often times this is because our opponents just couldn’t field a very competitive team due to availability. This is never a problem the Nor’Easters have due to the makeup of our team. Some people may say we have been “lucky”, but to quote The Color of Money: “For some teams, luck in itself is an art”.

B) We Care

Everyone on our team has a life outside of chess. Chess is a passion for most of the players on our team, this means it’s just not about the money for us. We genuinely want to do our best in every match we play. Also, many players on our team have been waiting for a long time for a second New England based team in the USCL. There is too much talent in New England for just the Boston Blitz, so now that we finally got the chance to have our own team in New England, it made us care about winning that much more.

C) Our Manager- David Vigorito aka Fluffy

Dave has been an instrumental part in our success, and not just because of the success he’s had in his own USCL games.

First off, Dave was able to envision what players would make the most sense for our team before the season started. Unfortunately, we still had to turn away a few very talented players (there’s a lot of talent in New England!), but the choices he’s made in the offseason has helped us a great deal.

Secondly, Dave is one of the best chess coaches in the United States (if not the best), and is a distinguished chess author. When it comes to opening preparation, Dave is absolutely top notch. His advice on what lines to play against certain players is almost always spot on. His pregame advice alone has influenced the outcome of many of our USCL games thus far.

And lastly, Dave’s moral support and attitude makes everyone on our team feel like they are a part of the team. Just the moral support he brings to the team alone has been an instrumental part of our success.

D) Our Sponsors

I don’t believe we could have done this well in the league without our sponsors, ChessCafe and Firejel. For an expansion team like the Nor’Easters, funding can often be an issue. We are very lucky to have Chesscafe and Firejel as our sponsors. If you are looking for chess merchandise or some of the latest chess articles and news, ChessCafe is a great place to go. And if you have a fireplace or grill at home,  Firejel will help you start that fire very easily, check it out!

So when will New England’s cinderella story come to an end? It’s impossible to say. But we will keep on doing what we’ve been doing all season– and that is working hard and trying our best. I feel like the USCL can often be like poker, all you can do is give yourself and your team the best shot at winning each match, and you hope that luck is on your side. Speaking of poker, I think it’s just about time I leave my hotel room and head down to the casino floor. Until next time, this is your humble.. Ok maybe not always so humble blogger signing off.

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14 Responses to “7.5/8, How did we do it?”

  1. L. Telesca says:

    Very modest post, that was an incredible win for you guys. I hope Carlito Agners wild upset doesn’t overshadow the incredible board one match up, that might have been the most interesting match of the season. I’m still amazed that Irina didn’t have a decisive win, with white and so much on the line, I figured board three was the most important game for them to focus on. I give you all the praise in the world for tying that in such a good position. I admit I was a naysayer of the Nor’easters all season but you earned this terrific season and this was such an endearing post especially to your coach, I actually smiled when reading that, I figured there would be more gloating and was happily pleased to read something so sweet.

  2. kudos to sam for such a magnificent game! good luck in the playoffs!

  3. Gregory Cascek says:

    Just waking up, blown away to see the wins! Great job Nor’easters especially to the board one win and board three draw, definitely had loses in my mind for those, got some bright minds on the team it appears!

  4. bruce tarr says:

    what a way to cement your record, excellent job!

  5. Paul MacIntyre says:

    I would like to thank Dave for following through on the idea of bringing a second team to New England, where we seem to be growing (and importing) talented players by the bushel these days. As Brad says, luck is part of it, but Fate also took a hand bringing us Shankland at just the right moment. And who knew those two Connecticut yankees IMs Hungaski and Van de Mortel would sign up and do such great work? I also appreciate assistant manager FM Riordan’s many contributions. I guess the only downside is the timing of the season, which has removed many potential players from this year’s BCC Championship (except of course the iron horse FM Chase). Congratulations on making league history the first time out!

  6. Paul MacIntyre says:

    And Carey!! (so sorry!)

  7. Alex Katz says:

    I don’t understand why NE is getting so much controversy… Nor do I understand how these comments appeared on this blog post. NE proved themselves several times alreayd, and last week against NY (as much as I hate to say it :P )

    Congrats to Shankland for a nice win. I suppose Shankland and Brad must have prepared together… Unless Bxe4 has suddenly become common without my knowledge ;)

  8. dave says:

    Alex displays the same class that Vadim showed. I noticed this when he politely (if not sincerely!) wished us good luck on a previous blog post.
    Alex, …Bxe4 has been a main line for a very long time! (thousands of games).

  9. Daniel says:

    I have to say he missed two key issues.
    1) Flexibility of lineup. Having so many different lineups you can throw that are equally strong is a major asset to a team. It makes their lineups hard to predict which can hurt other teams.

    2) Majorly underrated players. Previously having Jan on my team, I know exactly how underrated some of these players are. This is always a major asset to a team. It sure seems like almost their entire roster is underrated.

  10. Jason says:

    Unknowns. Add that as a factor, too. Many of these players are 2400 strength based entirely on local New England play. That may make it difficult for other teams to know what to expect.

  11. dave says:

    I think Brad’s ‘availability’ addressed the flexibility. Brad is well aware of it, we are almost always in this position where we have multiple lineups we can use.
    I think the only player who is really underrated is Robert. His league rating is 2420 but he is about 2535 now. the rest of the team is performing well, but it’s not like we have an 2000 who is 2400 now.

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