Thursday, May 8, 2008
Game of the Year 3rd Place Critique
Another big surprise to me as I'd really been anticipating (and hoping frankly, given that I felt it was clearly the most deserving) that this game was going to take the top spot. Even though I turned out to be wrong (I did cut my losses though by retiring from the predicting business in this contest a few weeks ago), this once again was basically what I had expected from this game all along -- that it would get some very high rankings but that some number of the judges would be turned off by the fact that this game was nearly all preparation and would give it a non-stellar ranking. While I disagree with the rational behind why they did so, it's clear that many others seem to share that basic opinion (which naturally severely hinders my ability to denounce it!) so it will have to fall into the category of agreeing to disagree. The main reason I disagree with that assessment is mainly due to something WGM Shahade basically stated below. That is, in the USCL with awards like Game of the Week, Game of the Year, All Stars, MVP, etc. which mostly seem to recognize players for individual efforts, we might often forget that the USCL is, at heart, a team event. As such, a game such as this which was really in some sense more of a "team effort" (and by transition the overall match), than any other USCL game that I know of (obviously preparation has likely paid off in several games, but I doubt it has to the degree it seemed to in this game) really epitomizes a large part of what the USCL really is (and should be) about. Add to the fact that this game was in the playoffs against the defending champions while being faced with draw odds and happened to be the key to the match victory, it only seems to point to a very high ranking for this game to me. In any case, let's examine what the judges actually said.
Dennis Monokroussos: Well I think the comment is basically dead on, and I agree with the ranking so not much to say here.
Jennifer Shahade: As I stated above, I really like her inference about how she felt the team aspect of this game could be viewed as a positive in many ways rather than as a negative like most seemed to, and I basically agree with her ranking also so not much to complain about here.
Ron Young: A very salient point that many prize-winning games are largely the result of preparation. Since he admits that, and infers that he "won't teach" Martinez to not reveal things of that nature, it surprises me that he didn't rank this game higher.
Alex Shabalov: Since everyone is gushing about how beautiful/strong the 22. Bh6 shot was, I'm surprised that he would use the word "unusual" for it. I'm also not really sure about his claim that 25... Re8 was the cause of Black's downfall as my thought had always been that Black was already busted after the Bh6 shot.
Robby Adamson: As I stated above, I don't really agree with his rational for giving this game a mediocre ranking, but again I certainly can understand it.
Be sure to tune in to the final article as the 2007 Game of the Year Contest finally reaches its conclusion!