Thursday, October 18, 2007

Week 8 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: GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Ron Burnett (TN) 1-0

Arun Sharma: I really felt overall that this was the best choice for Game of the Week. It, unlike most of the other candidates this week, really seemed like quite a clean game with no huge blunders from either side and at the same time definitely contained its share of exciting moments. Of course, the 37. Nxf5+! combination was nice as well as 53. f6!, neatly advancing his pawn towards a queen while threatening a mating net to prevent Black from creating his own first. The end of the game was also quite unusual as it's quite rare to see a game between two such strong players end with four queens on the board! Although Miami's playoff odds are still long, no one can dispute that Becerra is giving more than 100% to keep them in the game. (1st place: 5 points)

Greg Shahade: I had a really hard time choosing Game of the Week this week. I felt the batch of games played this week just wasn't very good. In any case I'm pretty happy that this one won. Becerra played his typical solid style, giving his opponent no chances, and seizing the opportunity for some short and simple tactics when the time arose. The game I actually chose, Kaufman-Costigan, I knew would probably get no other votes. I just liked it because it was super hard fought, there were quite a few nice tricks, and there were six queens during the game! What I find really funny about Becerra's victory is that I feel his Week 6 win over GM Stripunsky was much more deserving than this game, yet it only managed second place. (2nd place: 4 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Not Ranked (NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Becerra vs Burnett: 9 points


2nd Place: IM Lev Milman (CAR) vs IM Vinay Bhat (SF) 0-1

Jonathan Hilton: Is Vinay Bhat a mortal? Apparently not, at least in this game: he played flawlessly! As far as I can tell, Bhat’s victory in this game was the result of his playing every move with amazing accuracy. Milman conjured up quite an attack, but Bhat never stumbled once, resulting in a 3-1 victory for San Fransico. Vinay’s incredible record at the US Chess League makes him second only to Julio Becerra in the latest MVP rankings. (2nd Place: 4 points)

Greg Shahade: I ranked this game highly only because I was told that it had high theoretical value, and I wasn't so enamored with the competition. Supposedly there was an Anand-Bruzon game in this line after ....Nd7, but that the Nxh7 sacrifice used by Milman had never been tried. Milman probably had a few better attempts, and Bhat took advantage of Milman's lapse by finding the super powerful 30....Ng4. (3rd place: 3 points)

Arun Sharma: Another very impressive game from Bhat who played some amazing defense to defuse Milman's seemingly lethal attack (dangerous enough that the Commissioner told me "Bhat is going to get mated"). As impressive as his defense was though, it was hard for me to give this game a top ranking when it seemed that the result stemmed mainly from one blunder, 30. Raf3?, where instead 30. Qh4! forcing 30... Kg7 allows White to take a perpetual instantly (or perhaps even play for a win after 31. Raf3 Rh8 32. Bxf6+ Bxf6 33. Qxf6+ Qxf6 34. Rxf6). Granted this was a very natural blunder to make, one which I think more than a few others (including myself) might have made also, but it did make it hard for me to justify giving this game too high a ranking. Still another great game from "invincible" Bhat to help put the Mechanics back in playoff position.
(4th place: 2 points)

Total Score of Milman vs Bhat: 9 points


3rd Place: IM Eric Tangborn (SEA) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 0-1

Arun Sharma: This was just a very well played game by Kuljasevic, really dominating the game completely out of the opening and finding some nice tactics to boot. Although his tactics might not have been the hardest of moves to find, it still seemed he conducted the entire attack in a very efficient, precise manner, really giving Tangborn no opportunity to wriggle out. A rather huge win for the Destiny to all but sew up the division crown. (2nd place: 4 points)

Jonathan Hilton: 27. … Nxh2!! followed by 28. … Bd4!! was the stunning combination that helped Dallas gain its 3-1 lead over Seattle. I would have ranked this game even higher had the competition not been so stiff – Kuljasevic deserves high praise for his handling of this game, however, White’s unambitious opening play did hand Black much of the advantage from the start. An amazing kingside crusher, and done with the Black pieces – I hope to see Dallas’s Destiny continue to go in this direction! (3rd place: 3 points)

Greg Shahade: Okay I admit that I should have ranked this game for sure. It just didn't strike me as too complicated the first time I looked at it, but the tricks were pretty nice. Honestly I think it deserved third place. Oh wait, if I gave it third place it would have won Game of the Week huh? Ummm, sorry about that! (NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Tangborn vs Kuljasevic: 7 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

5 points (Jon 5): GM Hikaru Nakamura (NY) vs IM Eli Vovsha (QNS) 1-0

5 points (Greg 5):
IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) vs IM Richard Costigan (PHI) 1/2-1/2

5 points (Arun 3, Jon 2):
NM Sam Shankland (SF) vs NM Craig Jones (CAR) 1-0

2 points (Greg 2):
SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1-0

2 points (Arun 1, Jon 1):
IM Dmitry Schneider (QNS) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0

1 point (Greg 1):
IM Bryan Smith (PHI) vs FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (BAL) 1-0


Tennessee Tempo said...

Man, not one vote for winning the grudge match against Marcel?? Who are these judges anyhow?

Greg Shahade said...

What was your plan if he played Rff7 instead of Qf7? I've sworn never to turn on Fritz again so I can't cheat. and just see what it would do.

Tennessee Tempo said...

Thats, of course, the only move for black. I was planning to play Qg6 and just gradually work my way in. But you are right, the beast thinks that white's advantage is only plus over equals. The pressure on Martinez was too great though, the game was lost before it started.

Greg Shahade said...

What happens if black tries to take on d5 after Qg6? I couldn't find it offhand. Anyway I didn't rank it because although Nd8 was a nice trick, it seemed to be decided by a blunder in what seemed to be a pretty reasonable position. Actually I had trouble figuring out how to defend against ...Nxd5 at all.