In round 3, we see true separation in the standings. Phil Collier came through huge by winning a key game versus John Meyer and his friend Larry Gilden took care of business. A draw by Robert Cousins sealed the deal. Sterling needs to only draw but faces a tough match-up versus powerhouse Argyles squad in September.
Speaking of the Argyles, they swept Fury as they now have great positioning for tiebreak points. Fury had a respectable lineup but things went perfectly for Argyles. Kings took care of business versus Black Knights to stay in contention. Mojo beat Ashburn, in a meaningless match for the winter champs. Irony is with a loss Ashburn benefits by avoiding the dreaded DC road trip next round, as a draw or win would have forced them to leave their friendly confines.
Knight Watch stayed undefeated but face a very tough test next round versus DMV while Crows face Black Knights Amateur.
Here is where each team stands and what they need to do in September:
Sterling: 1) Draw clinches title 2) Only scenario where loss results in playoff versus Argyles is if Coral Reef draw
Argyles: 1) Win forces playoff for them versus one of three remaining contenders
Coral Reef: 1) Win AND Sterling loss forces playoff for them versus Argyles
Kings: 1) Win AND Sterling loss forces playoff for them versus Argyles
Knight Watch: 1) Draw clinches title 2) If score at least 1 point playoff match guaranteed.
DMV: 1) WIN and playoff if holds off CC in tiebreak points
Crows: 1) Knight Watch loss 2) Must score at least 3 points next match to force any shot at playoff and needs to at least tie DMV on tiebreak points.
Of the road ahead, Argyles have rating edges on every board next match with an optimal lineup. The Argyles have a deep lineup with Samuelson/McKenna/Indusekar/Marcelino/Greanias/Savage as all are FM or NM titled. In my experience with Ashburn and Kings, I found Argyles to be toughest team to face. The thing I always liked about Argyles is there were no “weak links” on their team. For Sterling to draw, they likely need to get at least 0.5 of 2 from top 2 boards. With draw odds and 4 boards, Sterling definitely has a shot to clinch.
For Coral Reef-Kings, both teams know each other very well going back to 1980’s. Kings need either L. Kaufman or J. Kane to show (assuming Bennett plays) else the odds of a win are greatly reduced. The Coral Reef theoretically can throw out a lineup of both Meyers/Acholono/Rosario that is very tough. The Reef may be even from 1-3 but board 4 they likely have an edge regardless of whomever Kings field. In a 4 board match, entirely dependent on who shows up for Kings. Both L. Kaufman AND Kane slightly tips the scales to Kings.
For DMV-Knight Watch, it is a heated rivalry that could go either way. The Crows definitely are favorites but need to go in with mindset of no draws accepted early. Of the 3 key match-ups next round, toughest to call is DMV-Knight Watch.