Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blaze Bow to Queens Machine

The Chicago Blaze became the latest victims of the Queens Pioneers’ rolling juggernaut last night, falling to the formidable Forest Hills squad in their USCL match by a score of 3-1.

It was the worst defeat yet for Chicago and the first match in which no member of the Blaze won a game. The going was roughest on the top two boards, where FM Florin Felecan lost to strong GM Alex Stripunsky and IM Emory Tate became the latest notch in the belt of IM Alex Lenderman (pictured at left), the 19-year-old pheenom who has won all of seven of his games this season. Stripunsky and Lenderman are two of the reasons the Pioneers (6.5-1.5) are tied for the best record in the league. (See Elizabeth Vicary's interview with IM Lenderman here.)

For the Blaze, the only bright spots were boards three and four, where IM-elect Mehmed Pasalic and IM Angelo Young, both undefeated this year, drew their opponents.

You can’t win ‘em all, of course, and the defeat followed a few weeks of mostly solid performances for the new Blaze team, which had raised its record to 4-3 after last week. That record now falls back to an even .500, and we hang on dearly to our playoff hopes. The last two matches of the regular season, against Arizona and Dallas, will be decisive.

The Pioneers are an impressive team and deserve their success. To get where they are they have had to overcome obstacles, such as an undistinguished record last year, their first, and what has to be the most ill-conceived name and logo in the league. (Trust me, I was born and raised in New York City’s largest borough. Nothing about Queens even remotely suggests cowboys or pioneers or sunsets. None of it resonates. But when you’re winning, who cares?)

On the bright side, Blaze Manager Glenn Panner gave the team’s non-player personnel—all of whom very much need chess improvement—an enjoyable lesson in the Scotch Game using Charousek vs Von Popiel (Budapest, 1896) and Bruce Pandolfini’s Chess Life column on the game from August 2006 (USCF membership required).

Many thanks to Maret Thorpe for serving as tournament director last night for the second time this year. Here are the games:

  1. FM Florin Felecan (CHC) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (QNS) 0-1

2. IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0

3. IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) vs NM Parker Zhao (QNS) 1/2-1/2

4. NM Michael Thaler (QNS) vs IM Angelo Young (CHC) 1/2-1/2


Anonymous said...

..... You should have no right to insult there logo or name after you got crushed like that, AND even if you won thats bad sportsmanship, i was Born in NY and raised in NY and they can name it whatever they want they could have named it the Heat even tho its NY, who cares as you said.. but your remark was not needed and uncalled for :/

Tom Panelas said...

I don't think I insulted them at all. That was Greg's word, not mine. And a fine word it is, too, if it brings traffic to our blog. :-)

Far from insulting the Pioneers, though, I actually gave them a lot of credit, if you read what I said in context. They're a great team, as I said.

By the way, before the Blaze existed I was a Pioneers fan, and I took exception with their name and logo even then, so I've been consistent. The name and image just don't fit.

You're from New York and think I'm wrong? That's okay; you're entitled to your opinion.

And so am I.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should rename themselves the Queens Lendermans. Then they would never lose.

Anonymous said...

Never said your wrong... i said it was uncalled for, and yes i know the Pioneers have Nothing to do with Queens but then again do many of the names? the Chicago Blaze? and others they are just names.. just because a name is "odd" dosent mean you should insult it, well anyway thats how it seemed

Bionic Lime said...

Back in December, I reviewed all the team names and logos. You can read it here.

For what it is worth, I basically agreed with the Blaze blogger -- the name and logo don't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I actually like the Chicago name as it gives a historical insight!

Its funny how all these prognosticators and team bloggers get so much attention yet they dont even play. Consider it.

Tom Panelas said...

Thanks, Biolime. I was considering a review such as yours but I see you've already done it well.

I pretty much agree with you on most of your points; I might even have been a bit more forgiving on some. I think any one of a variety of ideas can work for a good team nickname and logo: a chess reference, alliteration, or some tie-in with the city or state's image. By those varied criteria, I think most of the team names in the league work pretty well, except the Pioneers.

And who knows, your speculation about how it came about may be correct: from a Manhattan-centric point of view, Queens has always been the boondocks, the frontier. It's a brand of condescension that always irritates us natives, but it won't go away.

Anonymous 7:19 is right about The Great Chicago Fire, whose 137th anniversary was last week, being the source of our name. It's worth noting, by the way, since Mrs. O'Leary's cow has long been blamed for the massive blaze, that recent evidence tends to exonerate the poor bovine.