Friday, February 15, 2008

Game of the Year -- 14th Place

This is the seventh 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.


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

IM Kuljasevic cleverly broke through White's defenses with 27... Nxh2! followed by 28... Bd4! after which the heavy pressure on White's King made Black's victory inevitable.

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.

WGM Jennifer Shahade (5th Place, 16 points):
I was so glad this game got a Wildcard pick because even if some of the attacking moves were obvious, the setup was not. The Trompowsky can be an annoying opening to play against, and I love how Kuljasevic used the open g-file to prepare his attack. To me, it's not relevant that White messed up by playing f4 since Black was drumming up a very dangerous attack anyway. (Bf6-Rg6-h6 is coming!)

NM Dennis Monokroussos (7th Place, 14 points):
The first time I played through this game, I was more taken aback by White's play than taken with Black's attack, but subsequent viewings have changed my mind. For one thing, it's not easy to find one's bearings in such non-traditional positions. We underestimate just how much our knowledge of theory helps us figure out what to do in the middlegame, to the point where we're surprised whenever White comes out of the opening with an inferior game. So rather than blame Tangborn, I'd prefer to praise Kuljasevic. His play in the opening and early middlegame was more effective, and then the whole attacking concept starting with 20... Kh8 and 21... Rg8 was very powerful. Still, White does deserve censure for the 23. Bd3, 24. Bc2 idea: it wasted two big tempi, misplaced the Bishop, and allowed Black to plant his Knight on the great g4 square, after which White got rolled. ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?") Not a good game by Tangborn, but his opponent's play was convincing throughout.

FM Ron Young (14th Place, 7 points):
Give your opponent enough rope, and he may hang himself. Or, he may hang you. If I were editing a magazine, this game would get several diagrams, but pretty does not always mean difficult, at least in chess.

FM Robby Adamson (18th Place, 3 points):
This game got three points from me because while Kuljasevic played well, White didn't exactly make Black work for much. Tangborn played very passively and really never developed any kind of plan. Kuljasevic played almost flawlessly and had a few nice tactics to finish Tangborn off. White's lack of a plan caused this game to slip in my rankings.

GM Alex Shabalov (18th Place, 3 points):
Nice straightforward attack by Black. White's opening play was just too passive. Whatever.

Total Score of Tangborn vs Kuljasevic: (14th Place, 43 Points)


Stay tuned for twelve 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 #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


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

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