Preparation definitely goes a long way in the US Chess League. As Iron Mike and his celebrity daughter bull-whipped 25-move theory lines into Philly's strongest lineup ever, the Tennessee boys down South took a slightly different approach.
The biggest question is how does the Tempo create such a sweet groove? How did they attract the Baltic-Bash Brothers also known as Jaan and Shaba? With Jaan, it was not so difficult, he is a southern boy at heart. Mutual friendships led me to meet Jaan a few years ago and it was our Week 1 Board-4 phenom John Darby Bick that finally convinced him to play last season for mere peanuts, as far as hiring a world class grandmaster goes. After a season of living the easy paced life in Nashville, I was sure Jaan would return. When it came time for us to decide who else to add, the decision was easy. Jaan and Shaba are very good friends. It then was up to me, as organizer, to make it attractive for them to both play. With the league support, our generous sponsor (who without, none of this would have ever happened) and planning events such as the Nashville Chess Center's Grandmaster Camp we were able to drum up enough greenbacks for the two GMs to join our squad. With southern hospitality abounding in Nashville, we find a way to take good care of 'em.
The real heart behind the Tempo tune comes from players that do this on their own nickel, because they love the game. Peter Bereolos, who played a stellar game against Philly's "Last Frontier" man on board 3, clocks out from the nuclear power plant at 5:00 PM eastern, jumps in the car and tries to make the most of the hour he gains on his drive from Knoxville without dinner. Still, Peter's preparation this week was probably not as rough on him as the carton of Camels that Philly's drill-sergeants drove Bryan to burn through before the match. FM John Bick, drove the eight hour journey from New Orleans the day before. The relaxing float down the river got him in perfect synch with the rhythm this week though. Gerald Larson has the easiest trek from Huntsville (only about an hour and a half drive) but all these guys should be considered personal sponsors of our team for what they do.
We will try to post an article soon with some game content. What will come from the Music City Masters this year? Don't forgot our All-Star from last year is still lingering in the fog....
It is important to note that no serious creatures threatened us on the river...it was not until later that night that the dragon appeared!