Greg Shahade Picks Fantasy Team and Predicts U.S. Championship
By IM Greg Shahade   
May 1, 2009
IM Greg Shahade
Watch a video in which IM Greg Shahade picks his fantasy team. In the May 2009 Chess Life, Greg also wrote about his predictions for the U.S. Championship (May 7-17, Saint Louis). That article is open to all; login as a USCF member to read the rest of the May issue.

Some quotes from Greg's article, where he assigns percentage chances to win for each player:

on Hikaru Nakamura- "I give him the number one spot mainly for his fighting spirit and tenacity. His average result may be below Kamsky's but I think he wins the event a bit more often. "

On Alexander Shabalov- "He could have a distatrous tournament, but his tendency towards taking risks plays out well when the goal is first place. Winning the tournament or 50%/minus score are both possible."

On Ray Robson- "A plus score would be quite solid for Robson...but Ray is obviously very talented and his fans shouldn't be too satisfied unless he achieves it. Hopefully he can earn his first GM norm in the process."

And the video: (note that Greg is talking about which player will get more points in the following match-ups, not which player will win in a potential head to head game.)

On Shulman vs. Onischuk:
"I like Shulman a lot but you can't deny that Onischuk is at least a little I'm going to pick Onischuk. This is a good case where you might want to pick an upset though."

On Becerra vs. Akobian:
"Becerra has been a monster in the U.S. Chess League. Every year he plays great. Akobian is also a very strong young player from California. Their ratings are about even here. This is a tougher one, but I'm going to go for Akobian...."

On Zatonskih-Krush:
"I feel like Zatonskih is more solid. Despite that, I'm going to take Krush. I don't know if it's fair, but (Zatonskih) is travelling from Germany and has a very young daughter. Very hectic schedule, all the things combined together, I'm going to pick Krush."

On Robson- Shankland:
"Ray Robson just won the Samford (but I'm going to pick Shankland.) Shankland has the aura of feeling underappreciated, which I think is a good thing. Shankland had to earn his way into the tournament, didn't get a wildcard. Shankland wants to prove himself so badly. For Shankland, this tournament is it. He needs to prove that he is as good as the other players. I know how it feels, cause I felt that way as a kid."

Pick your own fantasy team at this link
, and feel free to post your own U.S. Championship predictions as a comment to this article.