Sunday, January 27, 2008

Game of the Year -- 17th Place

This is the fourth part in a weekly series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2007 USCL Game of the Year. For more information on exactly how this process works and the prize information, please refer to: Game of the Year Preview.


17th Place: IM Jay Bonin (NY) vs NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) 1-0

IM Bonin found the crushing 18. Nxf7!!, freezing Black's position and soon forcing a decisive win of material.

Below are the comments from the judges on why they ranked the game where they did and in parentheses is the ranking given by that judge and the number of points awarded for that ranking.

FM Ron Young (9th Place, 12 points):
The A43 opening, whatever its descriptive name, seems to be great for garnering Game of the Week / Year nominations. I was going to dig out a Rudolf Spielmann quote to describe Nxf7, but my copy of "the Art of Sacrifice in Chess" fell apart long ago (that’s not symbolic of anything, unfortunately, except for my skills as a book custodian).

WGM Jennifer Shahade (12th Place, 9 points):
A victory for New York in this battle of former teammates. Bonin wins a clean attacking game after finding the knight sacrifice, 18. Nxf7! One thing I liked about this game is that if White had missed the opportunity to sack, his attacking chances would have been slim. Even in the final position, it's nice that White can only win with one move, 29. Be6+, although both players probably saw this a few moves before.

GM Alex Shabalov (15th Place, 6 points):
Bonin vs Wizard's Apprentice. Good eye by Jay to recognize that Black will be paralyzed after his 22. Rb7. Nice ergonomic effort.

FM Robby Adamson (16th Place, 5 points):
This game got consideration because of the piece sac with 18. Nxf7 that appears to work out nicely. The main drawback to this game is that Mackenzie, as usual, made up the opening and got a very bad position by playing a suspicious line as Black. If the game were judged solely on the Nxf7 sac, I would have ranked it higher, but there was nothing else special about it. The creativity of the sacrifice and the fact that it actually worked is why this got nominated for GOTW in the first place. I award this five points.

NM Dennis Monokroussos (18th Place, 3 points):
A nice combination by the Bone, but the game is kind of a stump. They had barely finished the opening, Mackenzie blundered, and that was that. One tactic does not a Game of the Year make.

Total Score of Bonin vs Molner: (17th Place, 35 Points)


Stay tuned for fifteen more such articles as the field shrinks by one game each week to see which of the following games will be the 2007 Game of the Year!

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 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

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

Finals: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 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 #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


17th Place (35 Points): IM Jay Bonin (NY) vs NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) 1-0 Article

18th Place (30 Points): FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) vs IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) 0-1 Article

19th Place (29 Points): IM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Lev Milman (CAR) 0-1 Article

20th Place (7 Points): IM Jay Bonin (NY) vs NM Denys Shmelov (BOS) 1-0 Article


Ilya said...

Another game that doesnt deserve to be among the top 20 imo, h6? begs for for the sack, whereas the normal-looking Ba6 keeps things under control. From then on nothing special happened as Black didnt put up any resistance.

Anonymous said...

I agree - there were many other games more deserving. How is it that Christiansen - Ibragimov or Milman - Bhat got no consideration.

Anonymous said...

Or Jorge Sammour-Hasbun-Bryan Smith, Bhat-Kelleher, Some of Zenyuk's games seemed very interesting. The problem these judges were having during the wild card selection is that many of them did not follow the League games live, and as a result strugled with a large selection of games to choose from.

Greg Shahade said...

Which of these many wildcard judges didn't see the games live?

You realize that the judges who chose the wildcard games aren't the same one's who are ranking the top 20?

Also this game wasn't a wildcard, it straight up won Game of the Week in Week 10. However two other games from that week were named as Wildcards and both are still in the Game of the Year competition, so perhaps this means the Game of the Week judges got it wrong.

Greg Shahade said...


Christiansen-Ibragimov got consideration but the entire game was decided due to a huge blunder 2 moves before the end of the game. That's why I didn't consider it so strongly.

Milman-Bhat I didn't find so exciting. It was just some attacking attempt by Milman that was refuted right out of the opening.

Zenyuks game with Chris Williams was the unofficial 21st place least it was the game that would have gotten the final wildcard spot if it didn't go to Smith-Perelshteyn.

Anonymous said...

Hilton is a homez 4 pikin that game. how can other games not make the list like larryC v Ildar while this agregious display with one good sac made it? ichallenge hilton to a chessboxin match.


Greg Shahade said...


Anonymous said...

every one, seriously, first, stop harrasing hilton for god sakes!!!
second, don't make those kind of comments(puppy) if you don,t even know what you are talking about.
thirdly arun, how in the world could you have ranked this game tenth while you ranked bhat-nakamura ninth even when the fans thought it should win by a large margin?!? Thats all from me.

Arun Sharma said...

As for your first two commments vishank, I'll just abstain from saying anything for personal health reasons.

In regards to the third, regarding where I ranked this game vs. Bhat/Nakamura, first of all I wrote that article long before the GOTY poll started. Not that that's even relevant (just in reference to your suggestion of "How can I ignore what the fans think"), frankly what the fans think is pretty much irrelevant to me and does absolutely nothing to change my opinion of that game. If I had to go back and do those rankings again, I would STILL place that game 9th (though, as I said in my critique, I might take the Bonin vs. Molner game down a couple of places).

I really don't understand this obsession with the Bhat/Nakamura game. Does Vinay have a huge fan base that I'm unaware of or Hikaru a large enemy one? If it's not something along those lines, and people really think that that game is going to win (especially based on the way the judges have ranked the games so far), I fear they're going to be in for a big disappointment.

But as always, I've been wrong plenty of times on matters like these so expect to see me eating my words when that game is announced as the winner in May!

Anonymous said...

It's clear that ammateurs are excited about Bhat-Nakamura, but strong chess players and most judges are certainly not. Was that game exciting, I think surely the answer is yes, it was one of the most exciting games of the season due to the fact that Hikaru decided to impress all of us with his speed and paid heavily for it. Was this game quality, did Bhat do anything to win this game, I think here the asnwer is no! and there lies its predicament in the GOY voting. It will not win, not should it!

Ilya said...

I would nominate Williams-Wilson as wild card, very clean game, nice sac and good technique throughout.