Monday, March 10, 2008

Game of the Year 11th Place Critique

So at long last (and just in time to save my job), my prediction for this game to be eliminated has finally come to fruition. Though I am pleased about that, I must admit, I'm really far more pleased by the fact that after all the arguments that Greg and I had as to whether this game Friedel vs Serper deserved to win GOTW in Week 9, that the GOTY judges have finally unequivocally proven that I was correct all along in putting this game lower than its counterpart in this contest.

While I could gloat about that for hours on end, I doubt any of you really care so I'll move on to how the judges' fared this week. I think this game was undoubtedly the biggest internal dissension the judges have had so far, essentially getting a rank from every part of the spectrum and no two rankings really especially similar. Let's examine their commentary.

Robby Adamson: Well, well, well. Now at least I have a true scapegoat for all the times as to why my prediction for this game to get the ax was wrong as it clearly would have gone long ago if not for this ranking. While it's somewhat difficult to fault his ranking given all the positives he noted for the game, I personally really must take issue with his positives of "after some stiff resistance by Kaufman" and "Mackenzie defended well" given so many people's contention Kaufman missed multiple chances to get a nearly two pawn advantage (as FM Young notes below) and that Molner made several mistakes immediately after sacrificing the piece (as NM Monokroussos notes).

Jennifer Shahade: Well at least she seemed to indirectly agree with me in implying that she also felt that Kaufman didn't put up enough resistance, though I'm surprised after acknowledging that, she would still rank this game quite so high. Jenn still has three of her games between 7th and 12th still in the contest so this comment could definitely be a clue as to which remaining games might be resting in those spots.

Ron Young: I like the analogy to Steinitz and Petrosian, but I personally have never heard of this "shifting values" theory. One can only hope that Kaufman's own theories didn't wind up betraying him in this game

Dennis Monokroussos: He seems to be the only one to look at the 24. Qc1 idea as more of a negative than a positive as when this game won GOTW, along with the two GOTY judges who ranked this game high, that seemed to be a major attraction of the game -- that White could play such a passive looking move yet seemed to be perhaps one of the moves which really won him the game. While that still might be true, the fact that White was really losing at that point and was only bailed out by Black's later inaccuracies makes his ranking seem more than generous.

Alex Shabalov: While I'm still confused by GM Shabalov's technique of always saying something critical about the games he ranks reasonably and never anything bad about the ones he ranks low, I'm too pleased by the fact that his ranking clearly indicates that he shared my basic mindset about the game so I can't be too harsh.

Now that I've finally become correct again, I think it's without question that I'm going to go on a massive tear so I'd advise you all to read my future predictions and make your bets accordingly.


Dennis Monokroussos said...

14th place is generous?!

Arun Sharma said...

Well of course everything is relative, but the basic issue to me is this: From everyone who I've spoken to about this game (and from the comments you've seen it's gotten), most people are gushing about how amazing, unusual, etc. the Qc1 maneuver was. I personally agreed with them to a large extent (which was a big reason why I gave this game second place in GOTW that week).

Given that seemed to be the thing everyone was so overly impressed by in this game, and you seem to cast it as more of a negative than a positive (recognizing the trouble he really was in when he did it). Considering you saw it that way and that was the most attractive feature to most people about this game, in relative terms, yes I would consider 14th generous at that point (of course that's probably my own personal bias, as I actually was somewhat impressed by the Qc1 maneuver, and I still only gave this game 17th place in this contest).

Vishank said...

arun, just noting, whenever you respond to someones comment, you give like 2 paragraphs plus every time!:)


Arun Sharma said...

Well just to break the streak, I'll only give one in this response to you vishank! It's mostly Greg's fault anyway since whenever there is a rare comment on this blog he's always bugging me to respond.

Greg Shahade said...

lol wtf I never even notice the comment before you've responded, which this time was a whopping 19 minutes after the comment. This is of course because you get them emailed to you, while I don't.

Arun Sharma said...

Well not on this comment specifically, I was speaking more in general about all the times when there is a random comment on this blog or on some other blog which relates to the USCL, you're always yelling at me pretty soon after the fact that I need to respond (and I'll let the readers speculate as to why you make me do it instead of doing it yourself!).

Dennis Monokroussos said...

I don't think it was generous on my part, both because there were other games with far bigger "sins" than those Molner committed, but also because - as I noted in my comments - his opening conception was genuinely impressive. A game's flaws count, but they don't erase its high points.