Thursday, September 6, 2007

Week 2 Game of the Week

This year for game of the week we have three judges, all ranking their top five games. The games are then given anywhere from one to five points, based on these rankings, and whichever game receives the most points wins the award. Also note that this year the winner each week will receive a $100 bonus prize. Our three judges are: IM Greg Shahade, NM Arun Sharma, and Jonathan Hilton. Click here for more details.


1st Place: IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM John Bartholomew (DAL) 1-0

Jonathan Hilton: Vinay pulls through for his team in a must-win situation. He showed excellent opening preparation, but Bartholomew, an expert in the Scandinavian, managed to neutralize most of his initiative. Vinay was left pushing for a win in a rook and bishops-of-opposite-color endgame, and with the help of some neat tactics and his own persistent pursuit of the point he managed to garner the point after eighty-two grueling moves. (1st Place: 5 points)

Greg Shahade: I wasn't jumping out of my seat to give this game the game of the week prize, but after comparing it to the competition I felt compelled to give it the nod. Some people are not so excited by endgames that take 40-50 moves to win. However Vinay did display tenacious technique, never letting John forget his blunder that he made with 32...Re8, allowing 33. Rxh5. Adding to this game's standing was the fact that the fate of the match hung in the balance. If Vinay couldn't win, the Dallas Destiny would move to 2-0 and clear first place in the West. Now the two teams remain tied. Dallas is showing that they are ready to challenge San Francisco for supremecy in the West, but we will have to wait till the very last week of the season for a rematch between these two. The way things are going, this final match could determine the division title. (1st Place: 5 points)

Arun Sharma: Although the middle-game in this encounter might not have been especially exciting, I felt the ending was interesting and dramatic enough to warrant this game being Game of the Week. Unfortunately, like many of the other games this week it was somewhat marred by the fact that one of the players spent the most interesting moments being in severe time pressure (in this case Bhat). Overall though, I felt he conducted the endgame very well considering the circumstances, and I also felt that Bartholomew defended the endgame much better than the spectators seemed to be giving him credit for. Add to this the fact that the result of this game was going to determine if the Mechanics’ unbeaten streak since the beginning of the 2006 season would stay intact and also would declare who’d have the early division lead in the West, made this the best game of the night to me. (1st Place: 5 points)

Bhat vs Bartholomew after 33. Kb2

Bartholomew now blundered with 33... Re8? as the attack on the bishop was a phantom attack after 34. Rxh5! now if 34....Rxe6 35. Rh8 forces black to give up his bishop and leads to an easily winning rook and pawn ending for white after 35....Bd8 36 Rxd8 Kc7 37. Rf8. Even after this error Bhat needed 45 more moves to win against extremely stubborn defense by Bartholomew.

Total Score of Bhat vs Bartholomew: 15 points


2nd Place: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Ildar Ibragimov (QNS) 1-0

Greg Shahade: This was a pretty nice game by Christiansen, however it was hard to give it a first place vote when the game ended almost immediately due to a blunder by Ibragimov (37...b4 lost immediately). Christiansen did seem to have a powerful edge a bit earlier, but somehow lost the thread. Bartholomew also lost due to a blunder, however it took Bhat almost 50 moves to exploit it, which is one reason that I ranked that game higher. In all this was an entertaining game, and the most watched game of the evening on ICC. (2nd Place: 4 points)

Arun Sharma: Though like the above game, this one probably had the clock situation somewhat determining the outcome, I still felt this was overall a very nice performance by the legendary attacker Christiansen. The abrupt end to the game was also somewhat surprising as the game seemed basically equal a couple of moves earlier. Granted, as Christiansen himself pointed out, Ibragimov missed a few chances to draw the game late (though I haven’t analyzed this with a computer, my cursory glance seems to suggest that Black is still very much in the game with 37… Qd6 instead of 37… b4), but overall it was still a very nicely played game by Christiansen and a huge help to the Blitz in winning the match. (2nd Place: 4 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Christiansen eschews quiet play in search of a tactical win. His magical ability to turn the game into a tactical slugfest paid off heavily and quickly, as Ibragimov made a few inaccuracies, eventually going down the exchange. The move of the game was 25. f5!?, a wild pawn sacrifice that turned out excellently for Christiansen after 25...exf5?, but might have met tough resistance with 25....f6! 26. Ne3 Nxf5. (3rd Place: 3 points)

Total Score of Christiansen vs Ibragimov: 11 points


3rd Place: FM Teddy Coleman (QNS) vs Ilya Krasik (BOS) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Although this game might not have ended up having any effect on the overall match result, I think it may well have been the most exciting game of the night. There were so many interesting tactical moments in the game and while the position was really heating up the overall match was still very much in doubt. I might have ranked this game even higher if not for the fact that it didn’t end up playing a role in the overall result and also that Black's time pressure almost certainly caused him to make mistakes near the end and lose the game. (3rd Place: 3 points)

Greg Shahade: It's a real shame that Krasik didn't either win or draw this, because if he did I'm pretty sure it would have gotten my vote for game of the week. You have to admire a chessplayer who plays the move 38...Kh5 while in serious time trouble and who also eschews the oppurtunity to play 38...Kg7 likely leading to a repetition. Well okay, if you are one of his teammates in a tight match you might not admire him, but if you are sitting at home watching online, you do. In all I felt that Krasik outplayed Coleman from a difficult position, but that Coleman was the better practical player and this led to him scoring the victory. Also Krasik missed the powerful blow 31...d3! (4th Place: 2 points)

Jonathan Hilton: One of the evening's most eventful games! Both sides missed some tactical shots throughout the course of the game, yet it was not until Black marched his king all the way up to h5 in a position with great material imbalance did it seem Krasik lost the threat of the position! This game was a real slugfest and the overall quality of the game was quite high, especially considering the relatively fast time control! (4th Place: 2 points)

Total Score of Coleman vs Krasik: 7 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

6 points (Jon 4, Greg 2): IM Mikhail Zlotnikov (NJ) vs FM Todd Andrews (TN) 1-0

4 points (Greg 3, Arun 1): NM Elvin Wilson (PHI) vs Matthew Herman (NY) 1-0

2 points (Arun 2): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs GM Sergey Kudrin (PHI) 1/2-1/2

1 point (Jon 1): FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) vs WGM Katerina Rohonyan (BAL) 1-0


Anonymous said...

if instead of 40..Ne2??+ which i knew was a losing move and simply played in order not to lose on time, i played Qd4+ followed by Ne4, i'd like to see how Coleman would have won even being up a rook, i think he has to fight for a draw here... I am still smarting from this loss... :(

Ilya Krasik- Boston Blitz

Anonymous said...

yeah yo yall need to stop hating on ilya, coleman is a bear poser and i think ilya shulda won that game, all u idoit kibitzers in the grey writing need to chill, aight?