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?
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.