Thursday, October 11, 2007

Week 7 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 Lev Milman (CAR) vs IM Ron Burnett (TN) 0-1

Greg Shahade: I have a confession to make....I'm not really satisfied with some of my previous game of the week winners. I think that I've chosen two games to win GotW that really didn't deserve to win. I've vowed to take this more seriously however, and this week I'm confident in my choice. Burnett played a fantastic game, and although Milman didn't put up the maximum resistance, I enjoyed the clarity of it, and the artistic final blow 30...Qe3. Also as a Dragon player, I appreciate the thematic sacrifice of the rook on f8, especially given that I've never seen this sacrifice in the Pirc Defense. (1st place: 5 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Burnett took Milman to town! If you listened to me on the radio back when we were doing live broadcasting, you'll know I'm a huge Ron Burnett fan, and after spending the better half of the evening poring over the gazillion and a half White wins from this week, this game was a pleasant shocker. Burnett's wily 8... Ne5!? was creative and daring, and although I haven't consulted the databases on it yet, it looks like uncharted territory to me. You have to love the classic exchange sacrifice with 12... d4! You have to give Milman some credit for fighting back against Blac's massive pawn roller, but by move 22, when White closes up the kingside with g4-g5, one gets the feeling the game is already over. And that it is, but not until Burnett swashbucklingly sacrifices the Lady with 30... Qe3+!! Oh yeah, Tennessee Tempo holds Carolina to a 2-2 tie. (1st place: 5 points)

Arun Sharma: A dominating victory from Burnett who used the nice thematic exchange sac 12… d4! to create a very fearsome pawn array and unleash a deadly attack against the White King while Milman was unable to muster any real counter play. Also nice were the further sac 27… dxc3! and the very cute finish 30… Qe3+!!, a very aesthetically pleasing way of bringing the point home. (3rd place: 3 points)

Milman vs Burnett

Burnett found the beautiful 30...Qe3+!!, resulting in Milman's resignation. If 31. Rxe3 cxb2+ 32. Kb1 Rd1 is mate.

Total Score of Milman vs Burnett: 13 points


2nd Place: WFM Iryna Zenyuk (NY) vs NM Chris Williams (BOS) 1-0

Arun Sharma: A very impressive tactical display by Zenyuk in knocking off a player who had so far been completely invincible in the league. 17. Nbd4 was of course one nice move, but the most impressive thing by far was 23. Rxe5! with the idea of 24. Rg5!, one of the more impressive ideas I think we’ve seen in any Board Four game and considering the rather small amount of time on her clock when she came up with this, I really felt this game deserved first place because of. A nice performance by Zenyuk who seems to be doing quite a good job in doing her part to keep the Knights playoff hopes alive. (1st Place: 5 points)

Greg Shahade: A wonderful performance by Zenyuk. 23. Rxe5 followed by 24. Rg5 was a great concept, and to see such inspiring play on Board Four is always a pleasant surprise. Chris missed a great chance for defense with 24...Bf5, but it's not always easy to find defensive resources under such pressure. This game was also the match clincher for New York and the first blemish on Chris Williams's record. (2nd place: 4 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Not Ranked
(NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Zenyuk vs Williams: 9 points


3rd Place: Jayson Lian (NJ) vs NM Daniel Yeager (PHI) 0-1

Arun Sharma: A fairly wild game which saw both players having less than one minute for much of the late game. Although it might not have been the most accurate game, I really felt Yeager, especially considering his clock, did a very admirable job of sifting through the complications. For one, not losing his cool and finding the simple 25… Qxb4! to not really allow White’s interesting sacrifice to garner him some dangerous counter play and of course, the very nice tactical simplification, 30… Qxe5!, eliminating all of White’s tricks and forcing the game into a fairly simple ending. (2nd place: 4 points)

Greg Shahade: A very nice game from Yeager. I have to admit that after I saw the rankings, and reexamined the games, I regretted that I didn't rank this game higher. This was another Board Four game that was of quite high quality, with interesting play from both sides and very few clear errors. Yeager also found a very nice tactical blow with 30...Qxe5. (5th place: 1 point)

Jonathan Hilton: Not Ranked (NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Lian vs Yeager: 5 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

5 points (Jon 3, Arun 2): FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) vs FM Andrei Zaremba (DAL) 1-0

4 points (Jon 4):
NM Denys Shmelov (BOS) vs IM Jay Bonin (NY) 1-0

3 points (Greg 3):
FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) 1/2-1/2

3 points (Greg 2, Arun 1):
IM Dmitry Shneider (QNS) vs FM Bruci Lopez (BAL) 1-0

2 points (Jon 2):
IM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 0-1

1 point (Jon 1):
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Hikaru Nakamura (NY) 1/2-1/2


Ron Young said...

Ok, Shmelov-Bonin didn't win a prize, but I thought allowing Jay to claim a draw on move 70 was rather an egregious lapse in technique.

Ilya said...

I also thought Burnett's game deserved this week's top honor. Very elegant win.

Jonathan Hilton said...

This week was brutal! I may have picked the top game for Game of the Week, but I'm quite surprised by the second and third place winners! ;)

Greg Shahade said...

My biggest accomplishment as a judge this season is to get Ilya to agree with my selection for Game of the Week!

Greg Shahade said...

Johnathan, it's first that counts!