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.