So I was working on my bike and noticed how tight it was on part of the stroke. It when from 1/2 of play to, very tight. Spinning the cranks by hand, I noticed the tighting and loosening throught the stoke. It didn't feel smooth at all. So I studied how the chain (low end sliver Izumi) was sitting on the chain ring (a really nice 42t TA) and saw it sat lower in the teeth at a certain point on the ring (where it was loose in the stroke).
I visually marked where that piont was on the ring and removed then rotated the chain so it engaged at a different spot than before. The loose/ tight part move with the chain. With some work I got it to feel much smoother.
I would take this to mean my chain is slightly irregular. I would challenge ya'll to experiment doing the same and see if cheap chain are more prone to this. I'll be looking at a new chain soon to see a difference as well. I need a half link right now so the Shadow Conspiracy would be nice for the symmetrical look, but a NJS might be a better choice for quality.