Thursday, May 15, 2008

Game of the Year -- 1st Place

This is the final part in a weekly series of articles which has been counting down to revealing what game was voted as the 2007 USCL Game of the Year. For more information on exactly how this process has worked and the prize information, please refer to: Game of the Year Preview.


1st Place: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 1-0

SM Sammour-Hasbun had been fighting an uphill, defensive battle for most of the game, but went on the offensive with the nice tactic 28. Qxe5!!, which forced liquidation into a winning endgame.

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 (2nd Place, 19 points):
This is the only time I took into consideration the particulars of a match in judging Game of the Year. However, it was critical in that this game was part of the the 2007 USCL Final between the Dallas Destiny and Boston Blitz. At the time this match was going on, the match was tied 1-1 with uncertainty on the remaining board. After playing a bad opening, Sammour overcame a fierce and thematic piece sacrifice on e5. After defending very well, Jorge attacked with his rooks on h2 and g2! As it turned out this victory was needed since the match went to a tiebreak. This game gets the extra credit it deserves because it was an exciting match from the final. I award this nineteen points.

WGM Jennifer Shahade (3rd Place, 18 points):
What I love about this game is that after Ne5 I'd be thinking, how do I defend this, this is going to be so annoying, etc. Meanwhile, Jorge just goes straight for the kill and somehow creates a rook battery in the blink of an eye, his king just chilling on e1 like he thought he was castled. The final combination is also very aesthetic and having witnessed Jorge come up with longer combos in one-minute chess, I bet he saw the whole thing despite being in time pressure.

FM Ron Young (4th Place, 17 points):
This seemed like a titanic struggle in the making before degenerating into a brilliancy. But cool touches such as doubled rooks on the second rank lift it above the run of banal sacrificial orgies.

FM Dennis Monokroussos (4th Place, 17 points):
A very dramatic game, and well-played, too. Sammour-Hasbun got into all sorts of trouble in the opening, especially after the nice (but known) knight sac on e5. White's position after move 20 is almost preposterous, but Jorge managed to hold things together, whip up an attack of his own, and win in the ending. The win was incredibly important and extremely exciting (that's right, kids: always avoid alliteration), and it really wasn't badly played, either. (Except, perhaps, for 27... Bd5. But that's an easy error to make, especially in time trouble, and his position was already starting to crack.)

GM Alex Shabalov (5th Place, 16 points):
Cool defense by Sammour-Hasbun, great middlegame tactics, and fine technique; solid top five performer.

Total Score of Sammour-Hasbun vs Kuljasevic: (1st Place, 87 Points)


Final 2007 Game of the Year Standings:

1st Place (87 Points): SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) 1-0 Article

2nd Place (84 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Drasko Boskovic (DAL) 0-1 Article

3rd Place (80 Points): FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM Dmitry Zilberstein (SF) 1-0 Article

4th Place (76 Points): GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Patrick Wolff (SF) 1-0 Article

5th Place (70 Points): IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs GM Hikaru Nakamura (NY) 1-0 Article

6th Place (69 Points): GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 0-1 Article

7th Place (66 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (QNS) 1-0 Article

8th Place (61 Points): IM Lev Milman (CAR) vs IM Ron Burnett (TEN) 0-1 Article

9th Place (54 Points): IM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Gregory Serper (SEA) 1-0 Article

10th Place (52 Points): 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

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