Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Semifinals 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 Drasko Boskovic (DAL) 0-1

Greg Shahade: This was a no brainer. An exciting and action packed game in which the League MVP loses for the first time since last season. On top of it all it seemed relatively well played, given the circumstances (time trouble issues, the complexity of the position, and so forth). I am not even going to venture to think about what was going on in Mr. Sharma's head, when he decided to rank this game in 2nd place. Maybe he was bitter over Boskovic eschewing a chance at the first legitimate under-promotion in league history? (1st place: 2 points)

Jonathan Hilton: I’m predicting that all three judges will pick this as Game of the Week, hands down. League MVP Julio Becerra goes down in a spectacular struggle after Boskovic sacrificed an exchange for strong compensation. I have to say I was very impressed with White’s position after move 29, and I felt he was going to create strong threats on the queenside. It is possible that by taking the exchange with the c4-c5 push he cashed in his chips too early, but it was hard to find any other way to proceed! If White takes too much time preparing the push by defending d5 first, Black’s pawns will start rolling.

After Becerra took the exchange, the game was an absolute slugfest. My gut feeling was that White might be able to hold on, but it is hard to say exactly where things went wrong. White fought very hard to promote his own c-pawn and wound up letting up his guard on Black’s two passers, so an alternative approach trying to blockade Black’s pawns might have been better. However, by that point in time, Becerra surely knew that he needed to win at all costs to try to pull his team even with Dallas. Congratulations to IM Boskovic!
(1st place: 2 points)

Arun Sharma: Without a doubt the most exciting game of the Semifinals with it seemingly taking so many turns in to who seemed to be winning along with containing so many interesting tactical moments. I would have ranked this game first without question but for the facts that it ended somewhat anticlimactically with the overall match result having been decided long before this game ended, and it also seemed unlikely to me that Becerra would have lost the game had he not seemingly gone all out to win it earlier, probably due to the match situation. In reference to Mr. Shahade's comment about me not ranking this game first, I should note that a certain Game of the Week judge has gone on record making statements like "I've made terrible picks in at least half the weeks in this contest" along with "Who cares about quality just worry about fun sacrifices", and I'll give you readers a hint -- that judge wasn't me! (2nd place: 1 point)

Total Score of Becerra vs Boskovic: 5 points


2nd Place: IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs IM Blas Lugo (MIA) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Although it doesn't greatly surprise me that this game didn't end up winning since it wasn't the most exciting of affairs, I'm quite surprised that neither of the other two judges ended up ranking it. Since we have a rather limited selection of games each playoff week, the fact that this was really the only game which I felt was really a very clean game, very well played by Kuljasevic who just won nicely and conducted the endgame flawlessly makes me think it definitely deserved more consideration then it ended up getting. The fact that it was really the only game which seemed without any major errors and that it was the win that clinched the match for the Destiny compelled me to give this game the top ranking. (1st Place: 2 points)

Greg Shahade: Quite honestly, I felt that it was so obvious that Boskovic's game was going to win, that I didn't really worry much about which game I'd rank 2nd . I agree with Arun that Kuljasevic's game was very well played by the White pieces, but whatever, Boskovic's game clearly deserved the award. This isn't to say he played better, but it was surely a much more entertaining game and still well played. (NR: 0 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Not Ranked
(NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Kuljasevic vs Lugo: 2 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

1 point (Greg 1): NM Francisco Guadalupe II (DAL) vs Luis Barredo (MIA) 1-0

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


Ilya said...

Wow, Jorge defeat of Pascal doesnt even get a mention?! Perhaps this can be used as motivational material for the finals, what do u think NY's?

Greg Shahade said...

While Jorge's game was important, it was pretty much decided by one blunder. I didn't feel it was deserving of being one of the top two games of the week.

Although honestly I almost gave it 2nd place, because of it's important in determining the match result, but in the end I felt that Guadalupe's determination to win in a relatively difficult position, earned him the 2nd place distinction. In any case I knew it wouldn't matter, as Boskovic was a shoo-in to win.

Ilya said...

I understand your point Greg but there have been many GOW decided by blunders, blunders are natural in chess, especially in our nutty time control, and Ive seen games win on sheer excitement and intrigue which Jorge's game had plenty of.

Davorin said...

I propose GOW judges create and post weighted criteria in deciding the game of the week. For example:
1.excitement, 2.quality, 3.importance, or something like that. This would make their job easier and decisions more objective, and people would probably not complain as much :)
What do you think about that, Greg?

Arun Sharma said...

I don't think that's a bad idea Davorin, but I'm not convinced it would solve the complaining issue. For one of course, I'm sure everyone would have a different opinion about which of the criteria you mention should be considered most important and of course people could just as well take issue of the actual weights we give to particular games in those categories.

Personally, I don't think it's a big deal overall, I actually like the fact that people seem interested enough in GOW that they seem to debate it this much, and of course no matter what technique we choose to pick it, it's always going to be objective to a large degree so some people will disagree with the final selection.

In any case, since you chose to comment here, am I to assume that you disagree with this week's pick? :) I obviously don't disagree with you if so given that I thought your game deserved to win (ie my ranking!). It does seem too bad that you've had two games which were very close to winning (this game and the Tangborn game), but luckily you do have one more chance this week (and you'll only have three other games to compete with!), and there's always the potential for one of your games to e a Wildcard for the GOTY contest.

Davorin said...

Mr. Sharma, our team was sure Drasko would win the game of the week this time, he fully deserved it. I was pleasently surprised to see you giving my game the first place but as I said, I was expecting Drasko to win GOW.
The criteria I've mentioned is arbitrary, it's just an idea that came to me mind. But, as you said, it's not that big of a deal, so it's all fine either way. I just wanted to post my thoughts, that's what blogs are for anyway. :)

Vishank said...

ilya, i think that greg is right, i mean, the dallas vs. miami was much closer than the boston vs. new york match. also, guadalupe has played less games than jorge.

Ilya said...

I dont care :) i am only looking for motivational material, it isnt easy to find these days, Dallas players are a reserved bunch, so i thought hmm lets use the fact that all GOW considerations went to them and none went to our players. I do agree that in actuality Miami-Dallas match was closer and unclear to the very end, our match was only close on paper because Denis' loss was irrelevent.

Greg Shahade said...

Wow I've never seen such a lovefest.

Ilya said...

Well, its hardly suprising Greg, Boston hasnt met Dallas since 05, when they had a completely different team and we didnt even make playoffs that year. We just dont have a rivarly with them and we dont know anything about them.

Vishank said...

how could a PLAYER or TEAM in the USCL not know anything about another team in the USCL when there is only 12 teams?
that is kind of sad no offence.