The Roster is out for this year's Spingold (see: http://www.acbl.org/nabc/view.php?roster=SPINGOLD
), and with the beginning of the new cycle, when teams get reconfigured for the next two years, let's look at some of the best teams and how we might expect the partnerships and teams to perform.
This will be a very subjective set of opinions, and reaction to this entry will be mixed. Thus some may want to comment vigorously to reject and/or improve what is said here - to help this out, if you do comment and want your comments to appear right in this blog entry, inside of just in the comments you have to click on, please put *INLINE* in your comments - I will then edit this entry to place your comments inline here, and thus this entry will have a counterbalance of opinion.
First, note this is a very strong field in terms of depth, with teams with seeds in 50s and 60s (check out the teams in 50s, it's amazing - and in the 60 seeds see, for example #61 Konow, #63 Stauber, #65 Rigal, #68 Czerniewski) clearly capable of upsets. Thus any top team that falters can expect to be out.
In this entry, we will rate the top partnerships on the top teams by three factors:
- Ability to generate +IMPs. Does the partnership have the style and talent to generate good results.
- Ability to stop -IMPs. Does the partnership have the style and talent that makes it hard to score good results against.
- Consistency. Is this partnership mostly steady, or do results vary considerably between sessions.
The rating scheme (remember, very subjective), will be: gg/ss/cc, where each number is between 1 and 5, with 5 the highest, gg=generate, ss=stop, cc=consistency.
We will not rate pro-client partnerships unless exceptional.1. Nickell
5/3/5 Meckwell - the best partnership at pulling IMPs out of thin air
4/4/3 Hamman-Mahmood - are the wildcard here, and will be the most fun to watch. No doubt coach Kokish has worked hard to get these two in sync, but top pairs can take over a year to get fully in sync at the level required at the very top.
2/4/5 Nickell-Freeman - they do their job very well - hard to get much IMPs against these two - they keep punting until you make an error
Expectation: Win if H-M get in sync quickly2. Cayne
5/4/4 Lauria-Versace - sometimes have a bad session, but can produce killer sessions
4/4/5 Fantoni-Nunes - excellent mix of generate +IMPs/stop -IMPs
Expectation: Will win if Nickell exits and don't hit a bad patch3 O'Rourke
5/3/4 Greco-Hampson - like a Meckwell clone, just slightly less consistent
4/4/3 Duboin-Sementa - they might take some time to get in sync
Expectation: Can beat anybody, can win with a bit of luck4 Strul
3/4/4 Berkowitz-Cohen - would get a 5 out of 5 for consistency, except they have a bad session about 1 of 10. Aside from that, very solid.
3/5/5 Martel- Stansby - super steady, aim to play error free
Expectation: will win if other teams self-destruct5 Gromov
4/3/3 Gromov-Dubinin - variable, often good, sometimes great
4/4/4 Balicki-Zmudzinski - excellent mix of + and -
Expectation: Will chew up lesser teams, touch-n-go matches against the top6 Schwartz
4/3/4 Fallenius-Fredin - solid, active
3/4/4 Gawrys Lesniewski - solid, thoughtful
Expectation: Will lose to one of the super talented teams7 Sadek
3/5/5 Sadek-Elahmady - hard to get any traction against this pair, very good at keeping a lead
4/4/4 Levin-Weinstein - great table presence, deadly against players without poker faces
Expectation: Will win until they get behind too much at the half8 Meltzer
3/3/4 Sontag-Bates - solid big club pair
4/3/5 Helgemo-Helness - they take their shots as they see them
Expectation: Competitive, but will exit to a top team9 Ekeblad
4/3/3 Ekeblad-Rubin - one of the few canape pairs at the top levels - can generate huge sessions with the cards
4/4/3 Weichsel-Granovetter - may not be fully in sync yet, but watch out when they are
4/4/4 Jansma-Verhees - solid
Expectation: Unpredictable, might exit early, might win10 Narasimhan
3/3/4 Passell-Bramley - steady as it goes, unflappable
4/4/3 Bocchi-Ferraro - another partnership that will be deadly when in sync
Expectation: Will battle every match, will need a bit of luck11 Milner
3/5/4 Lev-Pszczola - tough to get anything against
3/3/3 Cohler-Baze - a pair that will keep everything in the fairway
Expectation: Competitive, but will exit to a top team12 Lynch
4/4/4 Moss-Gitelman - they seem to be rated by some as 3/3/3, but they keep producing wins
4/3/3 Grue-Cheek - they are close to being 4/4/4
Expectation: Competitive, but will exit to a top team13 Robinson
3/3/3 Robinson-Boyd - solid
3/4/4 Woolsey-Stewart - as seen in the LM semis, can produce big sessions
Expectation: Will exit round of 16 or 814 Onstott
Not sure of the partnerships here, will update later15 von Arnim
4/3/4 von Arnim-Auken - style produces swings
3/3/3 Rosenberg- Rosenberg - rating will improve as partnerships gets fully in sync - working very hard last few months
Expectation: Unpredictable16 Mahaffey
4/3/4 Nystrom-Bertheau - active, can hit home runs
3/4/4 Jie-Zhong - steady, underrated even perhaps by me here
Expectation: Competitive, but will exit to a top team17 Brogeland
3/3/3 Brogeland-Shugart - tough to play as a 4 bagger
4/3/4 Delmonte-Demuy - 3rd in LM Pairs - wonder if both will move to the US to play the pro circuit
Expectation: Competitive, but will exit to a top team18 Welland
4/4/3 Welland-Glubok - will they play Welland's style from Fallenius days or Glubok's natural style?
4/4/3 Garner-Weinstein - talent+system+style
3/4/5 Cohen-Smith - not giving much up here
Expectation: A lot of talent here, will be in semis