Sunday, March 9, 2008

Game of the Year -- 11th Place

This is the tenth 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.


11th Place: NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) 1-0

NM Molner made an interesting piece sacrifice with 19. Nd4?! that created a very tricky position after which neither player was quite able to proceed correctly, but White regained the thread before Black and managed to score an important victory for the New Jersey team.

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 Robby Adamson (4th Place, 17 points):
I like this game for numerous reasons. First, Mackenize sacrificed a piece - something that wasn't super obvious, but it was thematic. Second, after some stiff resistance from Kaufman, Mackenzie defended well, finding the backwards but sexy 24. Qc1. The following tactics favored Mackenzie and after 33. Qd7, none of Black's pieces could move. A nice game that had a lot of creativity. I award this game seventeen points.

WGM Jennifer Shahade (7th Place, 14 points):
I had a really hard time deciding amongst the games between 7th and 12th. All but one fell into the same category for me. Really nice games with special tactics, but sort of one-sided shows in which their opponents fell with not too much resistance. I ranked this one in 7th because I thought the Qc1 backtrack was unusual. I also thought the final zugzwang was very aesthetic.

FM Ron Young (12th Place, 9 points):
Steinitz and Petrosian in their days astonished the masses by moving their pieces to the first rank. Molner follows their example but with the added touch of sacrificing a piece first. I read that the computer gave Black about a two pawn edge at one point, but Kaufman has written about the shifting values of the pieces, so maybe this game was one example of that phenomenon.

NM Dennis Monokroussos (14th Place, 7 points):
Very creative opening play by Molner, who went after Kaufman like he was facing a patzer in blitz. Remarkably, his conception was sound, and if he had continued to play as well as he did through move 19 the game would have ranked more highly. At this point he started making errors, and by the time he played 23. Nd1 and 24. Qc1 he wasn't making ingenious attacking moves; he was holding on for his life! Luckily for Molner, Kaufman lost the thread a few moves later, and after his final error, 26... Qxg7? (26... f4! is still tenable), White regained control and won without any further difficulty.

GM Alex Shabalov (19th Place, 2 points):
Wizard's Apprentice vs Kaufman. Weird opening, but good recognition by Mackenzie for starting a nice attack and finishing it on its second wave.

Total Score of Molner vs Kaufman: (11th Place, 49 Points)


Stay tuned for nine 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

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 #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 #7: IM Bryan Smith (PHI) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0 Article


11th Place (49 Points): NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) 1-0 Article

12th Place (44 Points): IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) vs IM John Bartholomew (DAL) 1-0 Article

13th Place (44 Points): NM Mackenzie Molner (NJ) vs FM Marc Arnold (NY) 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

No comments: