Thursday, November 1, 2007

Week 10 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 Jay Bonin (NY) vs NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Once again how quickly fortunes can change in the Game of the Week arena as Molner went to being the victory last week to the victim this week! I really feel when considering all the circumstances (ie the enormous playoff implications) that this is the best choice for Game of the Week as Bonin played a very good game topped off with quite a surprising piece sacrifice which he expertly executed to force near immediate resignation. A gigantic win from Bonin to propel New York into the playoffs, and after a tough 2006 season he has come up huge for the Knights on several occasions in 2007 and may well be called upon to do the same in the playoffs. (1st place: 5 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Bonin's best game of the year, and nearly a miniature at that! 18. Nxf7! was a hammer-blow. I love Bonin's unique approach to the opening and his creative exploitation of Molner's gambit� of the b5 pawn as Bonin managed to take Molner out of his usual Benko Gambit territory, something that does not come easily, because Molner's Benko Gambit is so well-prepared. (2nd place: 4 points)

Greg Shahade: I'm happy that this game won. Jay has been a great supporter of the Knights and it's only fitting that he should win a game to send New York to the playoffs. Most of all I'm happy that this game won despite my poor judging job as I really regret the pick I made for first place. I won't be too hard on myself however, as we have to judge 24 games within 24 hours, and we all try our best! (3rd place: 3 points)

Total Score of Bonin vs Molner: 12 points

Bonin - Molner

Jay went for the glory here with 18. Nxf7!! Rxf7 19. Nxd6 Rf8 20. Rb8, leading to a devastating bind that Molner was unable to escape from.


2nd Place: IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) vs IM John Bartholomew (DAL) 1-0

Jonathan Hilton: Of the games critical to match results, this is absolutely the best one of the week, and there is no comparison. Zilberstein's attack was creative, clean, and timely, helping San Francisco prove they have what it takes to defeat Dallas in the playoffs. The Queen maneuver which began on move sixteen Qe2-e4-g4 was cleverly conceived, and 30. Nd6! effectively ended the game. (1st Place: 5 points)

Arun Sharma: Just a very dominating win from Zilberstein unleashing a brutal attack against Bartholomew's King and finishing the game off nicely with some cute tactics like 34. Qxc4! and 45. Qxb8! A great performance from Zilberstein to cement the Mechanics having draw odds in the Wildcard and sending a message to the Destiny that they will need to be on their toes in the Semifinals even though they have draw odds. (2nd place: 4 points)

Greg Shahade:
Despite looking at this game a few times it just didn't stand out to me. I agree that Dmitry played well, but what can I say, it just didn't strike me. And as a judge, if a game doesn't jump out at me somehow, I probably shouldn't give it Game of the Week. (NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Zilberstein vs Bartholomew: 9 points


3rd Place: GM Patrick Wolff (SF) vs IM Drasko Boskovic (DAL) 1-0

Greg Shahade: Bad selection by me. I had already locked this game in, and I wanted to change my mind and lower it to 3rd or even 4th place. At first I thought it was a textbook example of how to handle the Sheveginanaingan defense but after reexamining the game I felt like taking with the knight on d5 instead of the Queen gave Black quite good defensive chances. Also the game wasn't really that exciting. I only gave it the first place ranking because I thought that it was very well played by White and because I have a lot of personal history in these types of openings. I still think that White played well but not enough to warrant my placing. Fortunately Hilton and Sharma bailed me out and gave the prize to a more deserving game. I do think that Bryan Smith played a very nice and clear game which should have been ranked higher though. (1st place: 5 points)

Jonathan Hilton: The only game I considered to be a threat to Zilberstein vs Bartholomew featured a stunning premature resignation from Boskovic. 33... Rg6!, in the final position, might have allowed Black to escape. After 34. Qxg6, 34. hxg6 35. Bxe6 exf4 36. Bxf7, White is somewhat better, but Black has some defensive resources at his disposal. Otherwise, quite a fantastic game, and an exciting struggle at that! (3rd place: 3 points)

Arun Sharma: While I really liked Wolff's creative play in this game, the reason I didn't end up ranking this game was mainly that I wasn't completely convinced that his ideas were truly sound as it seemed like Boskovic had some better chances to defend like 24... Nxd5 and as Jonathan pointed out, 33... Rg6. I could well be wrong in that assessment as I, like Greg, do not use a computer to analyze the games, and my amateurish impressions obviously can't compete with either of the two players actually playing the game, but that was the feel I got so I left this game on the sidelines. (NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Wolff vs Boskovic: 8 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

5 points (Greg 4, Arun 1): IM Bryan Smith (PHI) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0

4 points (Jon 2, Greg 2):
IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs IM Vinay Bhat (SF) 1-0

3 points (Arun 3):
FM Loren Schmidt (SEA) vs FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) 0-1

2 points (Arun 2):
IM Mikhail Zlotnikov (NJ) vs IM Irina Krush (NY) 0-1

1 point (Jon 1):
Luis Barredo (MIA) vs NM Michael Lee (SEA) 1-0

1 point (Greg 1):
NM Parker Zhao (QNS) vs WGM Katerina Rohonyan (BAL) 1-0


Ilya said...

I hope i am wrong but I feel like something fishy is going on with these game of the week selections. Reading through the judges comentary it occured to me that at least some one their votes are tainted by knowing how the other judges have voted.( i e which games are considered and how many points they've garnered so far) I am hoping Greg can shed some light on this, and prove me wrong because if i am right this whole voting contest is a complete sham.
Btw I wouldnt waste my time writing all this without saying how I disagree with the winning game, I think Dmitriy's game was much more deserving. Looking at the diagram here, Molner' h6 seemes poor and unprovoked, why not just Ba6 pinning the knight and eventually getting rid of Nc4.

Greg Shahade said...

Arun and I make the comments after we know all of the results. Because we only comment on the top 3 games, its a waste of time for us to make comments before the fact for all of the games. So when we do make the comments, all votes are known, including our own which are completely locked in. This week in particular I would have loved to change my votes, as I felt unhappy about them once they became locked in.

Because Jonathan Hilton is less involved with the process (he doesn't have access to edit the blog) he emails comments for all of his selections with his picks.

We take this very seriously and never ever reveal or change our votes once we make our selections official.

The good news Ilya is that we will have five new and fresh judges for Game of the Year! You won't have to deal with our horrible picks every week any longer!

By the way, it's time for people to nominate some games for wildcard selection. There will be 7 wildcard games chosen for the Game of the Year Contest. While Arun, Jonathan and I will have complete control of the selection 7 games, we would love to hear opinions!

Greg Shahade said...

Since, according to most critics, we chose incorrectly pretty much every single week for Game of the Week, these wildcard selections should stand a great chance in the Game of the Year competition!

Ron Young said...

Greg, were you a German spy in Holland in a previous life? I thought so.

Gaijin said...

Arun coulda shoulda read the comments on Schmidt-Martinez at the Seattle blog before voting it #3 for the week . . .

Arun Sharma said...

Well not that I even necessarily agree with the comments of the game written there, but I felt (and a couple of stronger players agreed with me afterwards) that Martinez played quite a good game overall and that, along with the enormous playoff implications of the game, gave me the inclination to rank it third. It's fine if you disagree with me ranking it as such (you're not the first person to disagree with some GOTW ranking this season), but saying that I should have read your blog comments before choosing that game doesn't really make sense given that we aren't supposed to let outside opinions like that influence us before making our selections.

Gaijin said...

Golly gee whiz, Arun,no need to be so defensive--you're just being teased because in ranking Schmidt-Martinez #3 you likely made the same huge tactical oversight both players in the game made and then, not being present at the game, did not know that White lost via a touch move error, leaving us with three gross blunders in the last few moves of the game. Given that, I would rank the game far lower than 3rd place.

Arun Sharma said...

Not being defensive, it just seems based both on your comment there and your post here, you're making an effort to ridicule the way Martinez won the game probably because it was the game which was largely responsible for eliminating your team from the playoffs (ie by blaming the loss on a touch move error and pointing out how Martinez made a huge tactical oversight). I don't necessarily blame you for that natural train of thought (once again, you aren't the first person to think the games where your team members won deserved more credit in the GOTW voting than they got, and the games where your team members lost deserved less credit).

I do think you should try to remain a bit more objective about such games on the whole and not go out of your way to look down on the game simply because it probably soured you in terms of what it meant to the overall result (and your team's season). As an example, the Mikhailuk vs. Kuljasevic game from the Wildcard match from last season, I have a feeling the Dallas team didn't agree with that being GOTW while I'm sure you in Seattle thought it deserved it for certain (even though the Dallas player made a few fair blunders in the last few moves just as this game).

Greg Shahade said...

Gaijin is correct of course. Schmidt-Martinez was a bad pick for Game of the Week. Better luck next time Arun!