Monday, February 11, 2008
Game of the Year 15th Place Critique
Yet another not entirely correct prediction by me, but without a doubt the least troubling mistake so far as this game was barely off (predicted 17th vs finishing 15th), had the exact ranking I would have given it, and has been at my "second most likely" game to be axed in the last three weeks.
One thing I would like to remark on is the Commissioner's comment about how since the Becerra vs Burnett game was eliminated prior to the Tangborn vs Kuljasevic game that it suggests that the GOTW judges made the "wrong" choice in Week 8. While I don't necessarily disagree with that theory in regards to that particular case, as I know I for one struggled between picking between those two for 1st and 2nd (yet strangely enough had I ended up making the opposite decision, neither of those games would have won!, Milman vs Bhat would have), I still must take issue with the theory as a whole (as an additional indication that we did actually get it wrong in that particular scenario though, the Commissioner did rank the former game high and didn't rank the latter one at all, something which definitely lends credence to the theory that the overall pick was wrong).
While of course this GOTW/GOTY material is totally subjective, and there isn't any truly right or wrong picks (except again if you are talking about the Commissioner's personal picks, then there are definitely some indisputable errors), as I mentioned in previous posts, one simple fact is: For GOTW, oftentimes factors like how important a game was to the overall match and hence a team's overall standing can often make certain games have a much greater appeal than they normally might absent that factor (while that might not apply in this case, I feel it definitely might have applied to the Bonin vs Molner contest as that game's GOTW selection seemed to have several people taking up arms in protest to) while the GOTY judges don't seem to be really taking those particular factors into account much based on their comments. My main point is, considering the difference of factors taken into consideration in each of the two contests, it could well be that a certain game is a better choice for GOTW than another, yet in GOTY it could be a worse choice so them appearing in the opposite order doesn't necessarily imply to me that the wrong choice was made then.
Another fine job by the judges, and one where they seemed to be remarkably in tune, with four of the five of them making mention of how 33... Re8??, dropping a pawn, detracted greatly from their opinion on this game. Obviously this was something I think anyone might have expected, but I found it odd that despite nearly all of them mentioning that, not a single one made mention of 81... Kb7?? which dropped an entire piece! Granted, the former blunder might have been more of a "losing moment" than the latter, but I still was surprised not one said anything about it. Perhaps White might have been winning in that position anyway, but he definitely would have still had a long road ahead of him had Black chosen 81... Kb8 instead. I, of course, don't really know if the position is actually winning for White at that point (as Greg loves to remind me, since I'm a sub 2300 player, I obviously don't have any clue how to play endgames). If the position was actually winning for White, it might explain why the judges didn't consider that point especially relevant, but to me that was a big detraction of this game. Let's look at what the judges actually said.
Robby Adamson: The only judge who made no mention of the 33... Re8?? blunder (I suppose it's fairly natural that he would then be the one to rank this game highest). While I find his comment basically correct and in tune with his ranking for it, if I recall correctly, I don't think most onlookers thought this game was a draw (it seemed about evenly split to me, but those opinions seemed to mostly stem from who people happened to be cheering for, rather than an actual evaluation of the position).
Alex Shabalov: Once again, his comment seems strangely disproportionate to his ranking as he ends on such a large BUT note, yet ranks this game very reasonably.
Dennis Monokroussos: Basically spot on with what I was thinking for this game, and he ranked it exactly where I predicted it to finish so fairly hard to find fault.
Ron Young: Cheapo is now considered a vulgar word? My, I really have been out of the chess world too long I guess.
Jennifer Shahade: Once again, I'm unable to poke fun at Jenn's comment. While I know how much that's going to anger Greg when he sees this, he can always scroll up and read the comments about himself if he's so desperate for a Shahade to be insulted. While I find Jenn's ranking for this game to be quite reasonable, I still must take great issue with ranking this game below the Bonin vs Shmelov game.
Stay tuned for another installment next week!