U.S. Chess League kicks off!
By Jennifer Shahade   
August 28, 2006
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The second season of the U.S. Chess League kicks off this week. The two new teams, the Seattle Sluggers and the Tennessee Tempo face off at 9 pm on August 28 for this week's Monday night featured game. The other four matches will take place on Wednesday, August 30.

League commissioner Greg Shahade is excited about this season, which features stronger players and increased sponsorship: "Last year, in our first season, we had 7 guys 2500+, now we have 14. Eight GMs are participating. Players, the ICC and managers are very excited.We also have sponsorship from Pokerstars, so the top players from each team are paid. "

WEEK 1 Schedule-
Monday August 28th 2006


1. Tennessee Tempo vs Seattle Sluggers 9:00 ET

Wednesday August 30th 2006

2. New York Knights vs Philadelphia Masterminds 7:00 ET
3. Carolina Cobras vs Baltimore Kingfishers 7:15 ET
4. Boston Blitz vs Miami Sharks 7:30 ET
5. San Francisco Mechanics vs Dallas Destiny 8:30 ET

Click here for the individual lineups.

One major concept of the league is to emulate European leagues by offering salary money to top players regardless of their results rather than prize money. Greg doesn't worry much about cheating anyway, because of the required TD at each tournament site, but he thinks that the lack of prize money further detracts from it.

The second key to the league, in Greg's opinion, is the 2400 average rating cap. He says: "The rating cap gives smaller cities, or cities with home-grown squads the chance to win. For instance, Nashville has mostly Tennessee natives on their team, but still can bring down any team in the league. Without a rating cap, a powerhouse team from New York City could make the league less interesting. Right now, any team can beat any other team."

Log onto the ICC to watch the lives game with chess.fm commentary by Cyrus Lakdawala and Varuzhan Akobian. The www.uschessleague site will feature polls, annotated games and weekly result predictions and recaps. Also, check Chess Life Online for updates as well as Jennifer's Blog for updates on her team, the New York Knights.