Friday, December 21, 2007

Wildcard Game #7

Wildcard #7: IM Bryan Smith (PHI) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0

The selection of this game as the final Wildcard didn't come easily. It was my first suggestion as I felt that it's always impressive when a somewhat lower rated player outplays a GM in such clean and crisp fashion. Jonathan Hilton agreed that he would be fine with this game. However, Arun Sharma was quite against it and felt WFM Iryna Zenyuk (NY) vs NM Chris Williams (BOS) 1-0 should have taken the spot instead.

His reasons were as follows:

1. At least one Board Four game (out of twenty total) deserved to be in the competition, and this was easily the best of that bunch (especially having been played by the top two Board Four All Stars).
2. It was an exciting and energetically played game by Zenyuk with her 24. Rg5! tactic being one of the nicest ideas seen in any USCL Board Four game. There were also a lot of interesting variations behind the scenes, especially Williams's queen sacrifice possibility, 24... Qe6?! (I suspect if Williams had actually made that daring try, whichever player had emerged victorious, this game definitely could have been a top contender in this contest).
3. This game was the key to winning the match for the New York team and without it, it seems very unlikely that the Knights could have still made the post-season.
4. The Smith vs Perelshteyn game was a bit one-sided, didn't really contain any truly surprising moves or ideas, and was the last game in the match to finish after the overall match had already been decided.

The reasons that I preferred the Smith vs Perelshteyn game were:

1. I felt it was a very instructive way of dealing with the Ruy Lopez.
2. Smith played a nearly flawless game, defeating a strong GM with what seemed like relative ease.
3. Philadelphia had a fantastic season, and it seemed appropriate that they should have an entrant in the Game of the Year Contest.

After plenty of arguing back and forth, we finally decided to just let Jonathan Hilton decide between those two games since the two of us were clearly never going to agree. As Jonathan didn't seem to tremendously favor either game, letting him pick seemed to be the easiest and most equitable solution. In the end, he chose the Smith vs Perelshteyn game. Despite his decision, I feel that both games would have been worthy entrants in the Game of the Year Contest.

Below we have listed the five games that "just missed" joining the contest:

21. WFM Iryna Zenyuk (NY) vs NM Chris Williams (BOS) 1-0

22. NM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) vs IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) 1-0

23. IM Irina Krush (NY) vs IM Bryan Smith (PHI) 0-1

24. GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Ildar Ibragimov (QNS) 1-0

25. GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (QNS) 1-0

So there you have it! The twenty Game of the Year Entrants are:

Week 1: IM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Lev Milman (CAR) 0-1 Article

Week 2: IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM John Bartholomew (DAL) 1-0 Article

Week 3: IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs GM Hikaru Nakamura (NY) 1-0 Article

Week 4: GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 0-1 Article

Week 5: FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) vs IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) 0-1 Article

Week 6: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Patrick Wolff (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 7: IM Lev Milman (CAR) vs IM Ron Burnett (TEN) 0-1 Article

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

Week 9: NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) 1-0 Article

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

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

Semifinals: GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Drasko Boskovic (DAL) 0-1 Article

Championship: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic 1-0 Article

Wildcard #1: IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) vs IM John Bartholomew (DAL) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #2: GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (QNS) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #3: IM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Gregory Serper (SEA) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #4: IM Jay Bonin (NY) vs NM Denys Shmelov (BOS) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: IM Eric Tangborn (SEA) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 0-1 Article

Wildcard #6: NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs FM Marc Arnold (NY) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #7: IM Bryan Smith (PHI) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0 Article

Which of these twenty games will win the Game of the Year Contest and the $1000 Grand Prize? Only time will tell as we will be eliminating one game every week, starting in early January 2008.

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