Sunday, May 18, 2008
Game of the Year 1st and 2nd Place Critique
Well I've already gone through the whole routine of explaining why I didn't especially feel either of these games deserved to be at the very top so no need to repeat myself in that regard (and I doubt the victors really want to hear it). I should however note, for posterity's sake, what the Top Five would have been had I been a judge (which I was going to be until a couple of days before the contest when I decided to be perfectly fair, that as a GOTW judge, I shouldn't really be doing GOTY). Nevertheless, here is how the Top Five would have turned out had I not stepped aside:
1st Place (100 Points): FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) 1-0 Article
2nd Place (97 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Drasko Boskovic (DAL) 0-1
3rd Place (94 Points): SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 1-0
4th Place (90 Points): GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Patrick Wolff (SF) 1-0
5th Place (88 Points): GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 0-1
The basic issue about both of these top two games was that the victor of each seemed to be worse for most of the game -- something which was a real detraction to me since obviously if that's what happened, the quality of such a game can only be so high and as such not really deserving of GOTY to me. The judges however, instead of viewing that as a detraction, viewed the stellar required defensive effort of a worse position by the two winners as more of an attraction. While that's certainly a valid viewpoint, I personally don't feel it's enough to make these games rise to the top level in a contest like this, but I obviously was outvoted in that regard. Let's examine what the judges actually said.
Robby Adamson: I think his comment on the Becerra vs Boskovic game is dead on: the fact that White was better for most of the game kept him from giving the game too high a ranking (which as I said made me feel this game did not deserve to be at the very top). Yet I also felt the Sammour vs Kuljasevic game had a similar detraction (which is why I ranked that game relatively low as well) so I'm not sure where he felt the distinction was between those two games in that regard.
Jennifer Shahade: Well, I feel her comments on the Boskovic game are basically right, but I really can't equate how those feelings would lead to a first place ranking especially when she acknowledges that Becerra made a large blunder with 57. Qd7?? right before the game's end. The Sammour game I think what she said is essentially correct also, but like I said above people seemed to be more in awe of the defensive effort he displayed especially the very unusual defense by his rooks.
Alex Shabalov: Strangely, despite having completely different rankings on these games than pretty much all the judges, I really can't poke any holes in their commentary (plus when you're definitely a far weaker player than the person you disagree with, common sense says you should shut up). I would have hoped that he would have given a bit more insight into the game he ranked as the top overall.
Ron Young: Once again, basically what I felt about both games too, just like most, he was more impressed by the defensive efforts involved along with Sammour's quite unique "rook lift".
Dennis Monokroussos: Basically what I felt about the Boskovic game (and the same ranking I would have given it!). Like most we disagree about how heavy an impact the impressive parts of the Sammour game should have made on the whole, but he and FM Adamson did comment on how "important" this game was, something that seems a tad debatable to me as even if it was from the Finals and ended up forcing the tiebreaker, Boston still did end up losing the match (this game certainly would have moved up several places on my list had the match result been different).
So at long last we've reached the end of the 2007 Game of the Year Contest. I want to thank everyone who took the time to follow this Contest at least a little bit, and I hope it kept you mildly entertained and makes you look forward to Season Four of the USCL which starts in a few months. Lastly, hearty thanks to all five judges who selflessly volunteered their time to judge this contest. As someone who watches every match in the League and as such is reasonably familiar with every game, it's easy for me to forget how much work it probably is to analyze twenty effectively new games and how tough that must be. Even though I critiqued (and insulted on occasion -- by order of the Commissioner!) them every week and happened to disagree with several of the decisions they made, there would have been no contest without their hard work. So thanks once again to them and the readers, and I'll see you in a few months for the start of Season Four!