Hey everybody! This week, the Scorpions take on a team they’ve never faced before – the Baltimore Kingfishers. Since both share a record at 50% (1.5-1.5), this match is crucial – especially for the Scorpions, looking to make a comeback after a disappointing Week 3 loss.

I’m not going to lie – I’m probably not the best person to be previewing this match, seeing as I know literally nothing about a single one of the players for Baltimore except Shinsaku, who I remember sitting next to at Nationals and praying over and over again NOT to get paired against as he smashed some 2000. And my record against the Scorpions players playing this week? A dazzling 0-9. Not even ONE draw. And 3 of those games were against Leo…

But anyway, I’ll give it my best shot. Here it goes…

Board 1: IM Tegshshuren Enkhbat (2430) vs. Levon Altounian (2538)

I really hope I spelled all of that right. I saw Lev today, and he mentioned briefly to me that Enkhbat was pretty solid when the match came up. If this is true, then this match is in theory going to be disturbingly, sleep-inducing solid. But I am going to be bold and predict this to be the CRAZZZZIEST game of the match. Maybe even the craziest game of the night. 2 solids doesn’t equal 1 super solid, it equals something totally nuts. Or, at least, I hope. Lev’s probably tired of hearing about how Lev-like and boring his first game was, or about the small Week 2 mishap, and will come out like never before. Seriously – WE HOPE. Plus, something needs to keep the other boards on their toes. I do, however, predict that out of the fire there will emerge some peace. Draw on board 1!

Board 2: IM Mark Ginsburg (2427) vs. GM Larry Kaufman (2444)

A week ago, I would have told you that this result was completely unpredictable, because I never know if “I love the Eingorn sooooo sooooooooo much” Mark is going to show up or not. But last week’s Mark was pretty amazing, start to finish. And because Mark is an alternate (and therefore, this is the only other match he can play in), I know he’ll want to keep his mini hot streak up before he goes back to making ridiculously strange comments on other people’s handles during the games he’s observing (example: telling some GM to stop asking questions and merely watch the game, or they’re not getting a card come Christmas time.) Poor Leo, at least 6 titled players he doesn’t even know censored him that night. But anyway, I predict that this Larry won’t be the one to shine this match – and that Mark will come away with the full point and say something utterly ridiculous afterwards. 1-0

Board 3: IM Ray Kaufman (2297) vs. FM Robby Adamson (2354)

Now, THIS Larry, on the other hand – he’s got this. And I’m not saying this just because I tell Robby every week he’s going to be MVP, or even because I really love his scary driving or his hugs. But Kaufman’s record in the league is subpar and Robby’s start has been fantastic – and I can’t help but think he’s not slowing down here. Even with the black pieces, I think the rating difference and the histories in the league heavily favor Robby. I do predict that of the 4 games, this one will be the quietest – but still a strong showing for the Scorpions. Robby will come away with the full point. 0-1

Board 4: NM Leo Martinez (2230) vs. FM Shinsaku Uesugi (2354)

Like I mentioned before, Shinsaku sort of scares me a lot. And though I do think he is ridiculously good, I also know that Leo can be pretty dangerous himself. This is the match that one would probably expect to be a bit of a bloodbath; neither player seems to shy away from complications, but given that the time control is only 60 minutes as opposed to 75 or 90, I feel like the game won’t even be able to get too far along before it faces time troubles. I don’t know why I keep predicting that all the craziness will end peacefully, but somehow I’m getting that vibe from this week’s match. I think that Leo might fall into a pretty scary position, but that he’ll find a way to hold it – and the end result will be a draw.

So my final prediction is that the Scorpions will win this match 3-1. I feel like they’ve proven they can win big (Week 1 vs. Chicago), and I know all 4 of them are prettttttttttty fiery after a loss. And I REALLY love Applebee’s, but we can only go there when we win. So even though it’s a pretty ambitious prediction, I’m confident the Scorpions have got this!

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