Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wildcard 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: FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Even if the most surprising moves in this game were a result of home preparation, that really doesn't diminish how beautiful a game this was . It's quite rare to see moves as exquisite as 22. Bh6!! in the league and along with the efficient 36. Nc5! to end the game, this was clearly the best game of the week to me. The second huge win from Martinez in succession to lead the surprising Sharks into the Semifinals. Whether they can continue with this shocking run could well be determined by whether Martinez can put forth more performances like this. (1st place: 2 points)

Greg Shahade: A fantastic effort from Martinez. The opening phase of the game was brilliant and was possibly the best job of opening preparation in the history of the USCL. 22. Bh6! was an incredible and beautiful novelty that gave Zilberstein almost no fighting chances right from the start. On top of everything the entire game contained many short and sweet tactical blows. Martinez had a rocky early season, but he is really stepping it up lately. (1st place: 2 points)

Jonathan Hilton: A very nice piece of home preparation! This variation of the Ruy Lopez, in which Black sacrifices the pawn on b5, has been quite popular at high levels lately, and Martinez was well-researched going into this game. The tactics to conclude the game, such as 29. Bxg7+ and 36. Nc5, give this game a touch of class. (2nd place: 1 point)

Total Score of Martinez vs Zilberstein: 5 points


2nd Place: IM Irina Krush (NY) vs IM Bryan Smith (PHI) 1-0

Jonathan Hilton: I really do think this was the most impressive victory this week – Krush outplayed her opponent in all three stages of the game. I particularly liked the way she activated her Rook in the middlegame with Rg1-g6-e6 and also thought she displayed impressive technique in transforming her advantage to a winning endgame. The 3.5 - 0.5 win of New York is truly astounding! (1st Place: 2 points)

Arun Sharma: This was just a very smooth performance from Krush, winning in the style she often displays in the league; not with super flashy moves, just good, crisp technique via building slowly but surely on a small opening advantage and eventually forcing her opponent to succumb. (2nd place: 1 point)

Greg Shahade: While Krush played well, it seemed that her technique at the end wasn't perfect (it seemed as if she missed a few easier wins with moves like Bc6 when all of Black's pieces were tied up) whereas when Zenyuk got her winning position she won quite handily, so because of that I didn't rank this game.
(NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Krush vs Smith: 3 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

1 point (Greg 1): WFM Iryna Zenyuk (NY) vs NM Elvin Wilson (PHI) 1-0

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