Sunday, February 3, 2008

Game of the Year -- 16th Place

This is the fifth 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.


16th Place: GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Ron Burnett (TEN) 1-0

GM Becerra found the cute tactic 53. f6!, neatly trumping Black's threat to promote to an additional queen with a mating threat. Due in large part to this move, White was able to promote to his second queen on schedule, forcing Black into an inevitable mate.

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 (7th Place, 14 points):
A very instructive game. Can you promote to a queen if your own is still on the board? Evidently, you can! This was one of the more one-sided amongst the titanic-struggle type of games, but Becerra's strong play gets points.

NM Dennis Monokroussos (12th Place, 9 points):
Dog bites man, news at 11. Just the sort of game one expects from GM vs. IM, especially when the GM has White. He gains an edge out of the opening, gradually increases it, and wins. Maybe this game got a little extra love from the GOTW judges on account of the four queens at the end, but since Black was basically getting mated at that point, the usual excitement of a bigamist board was absent. Add to that the routine nature of the game along with an exchange of serious errors (51. Kg3? Qc3?, 51... Qe4 might well have saved the game), and we have a mostly correct but sedate win by the better player. Not a Game of the Year!

WGM Jennifer Shahade (17th Place, 4 points):
This is where it started to get hard for me to choose. This was certainly an excellently played game by Becerra, but for such a tough player as Becerra, it seems more like a game that I would expect him to win, straightforward and clean, but not especially striking except for the four queen finale.

GM Alex Shabalov (17th Place, 4 points):
Becerra vs Brunette. Serious positional advantage was converted into material by cute combination. Flawless endgame technique. No obvious mistakes. Fun to watch. A real treat.

FM Robby Adamson (17th Place, 4 points):
I wanted to rank this game higher because Becerra played very well and slowly ground down his opponent showing nice technique throughout. I asked myself: would I have ranked this game higher if the colors had been reversed, and it was Ron who ground down Julio? It might have affected its ranking, somewhat. As I ranked the games, I did what Master Greg instructed which was to put the games into categories. From this game forward, I had a very difficult time distinguishing one game from another. This game happened to fall under the well played but nothing special type of game. If the pool of games ahead of this had not been as good, I would have ranked it higher. I award this game four points.

Total Score of Becerra vs Burnett: (16th Place, 35 Points)


Stay tuned for fourteen 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 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 #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


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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