Friday, February 22, 2008

Game of the Year -- 13th Place

This is the eighth 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.


13th Place: NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs FM Marc Arnold (NY) 1-0

NM Molner continued with the fairly typical 18. Nd5! followed by the not so typical 21. Ne6+! which paralyzed Black's position, and White eventually broke through.

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.

GM Alex Shabalov (9th Place, 12 points):
Wizard's Apprentice vs X (Nickname censored by USCL Admins). X didn't know the correct move so instead of the theoretical 16... b4, he played 16... h5 and allowed Mackenzie to start a nice attack, which he executed craftily. This is the usual way Mackenzie plays when he's not sedated by whatever he's listening to. It was most likely Iryna Zenyuk who taught Mackenzie the whole variation.

FM Robby Adamson (10th Place, 11 points):
This game featured a theoretical line that Mackenzie obviously made up, as he is normally an English Attack player against the Najdorf. 16. Bh3 is not theory. However, the creativity shown by Mackenzie cannot be overlooked with 18. Nd5, 21. Ne6+, and the subsequent inability of Marc to move any of his pieces. I wanted to rank this game higher, but the other games above it were better played by both players - something that guided my assessments throughout. I award this game eleven points.

NM Dennis Monokroussos (11th Place, 10 points):
A good old-fashioned Najdorf with 6. Bg5 and 10. g4! It used to be the absolute main line in the Sicilian; it's B99 for a reason. Then everyone decided that Robert Byrne was a genius and people got sick of the Poisoned Pawn and that was almost the end of 6. Bg5. But I'm not getting paid to rant about opening fashion (actually, I'm not getting paid at all; you mean it's easier to judge these games than to play them?!), so let's get to the game. Molner played the unusual 16. Bh3 (16. Rg1 is the hottest move while 16. Qh5 is the traditional move), and it paid off: Arnold reacted as if to 16. Rg1 with 16... h5, and Molner gratefully used the tempo to speed up his attack. 18. Nd5 was unnecessary and typical but nice all the same. 21. Ne6+ is a trick borrowed from the 16. Rg1 lines, but I hadn't seen the very clever d6 + Re7 idea before. The play in this game wasn't perfect, but it was lively and refreshing. Some of the previous ten games were probably better than this one, but I'd rather replay and analyze this game than any of those.

WGM Jennifer Shahade (14th Place, 7 points):
This was a very pretty game. The only reason I didn't rank it higher was because I felt some other games with similar arcs (one side dominates from the start with pretty tactics until the end, when an even prettier tactic decides the day) is because the sacrifices seemed more standard than some of the games that I ranked a bit higher.

FM Ron Young (17th Place, 4 points):
I remember when the Nd5 sac in the main main main line Najdorf was a miracle from Heaven. Ok, I don't, but I do remember when Pong on your TV screen was the coolest thing ever. It is praiseworthy that White avoided Black's cheap mate threats after 31... b4 and 32... Rb4 but in an online game, an innocent face is not so dangerous a weapon.

Total Score of Molner vs Arnold: (13th Place, 44 Points)


Stay tuned for eleven 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 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 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

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


13th Place (44 Points): NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs FM Marc Arnold (NY) 1-0 Article

14th Place (43 Points): IM Eric Tangborn (SEA) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 0-1 Article

15th Place (35 Points): IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM John Bartholomew (DAL) 1-0 Article

16th Place (35 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Ron Burnett (TEN) 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gee, i wonder what shabba's nickname for marc is? please discuss!