Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Game of the Year -- 3rd Place

This is the eighteenth 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.


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

FM Martinez released the stunning 22. Bh6!!, without a doubt one of the most exquisite moves seen in USCL History, which left his opponent reeling.

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 Dennis Monokroussos (1st Place, 20 points):
The big winner! Opening prep or not, it's a fantastic performance by Marcel Martinez. In a deeply theoretical line of the Ruy Lopez, Martinez released a thunderbolt with 22. Bh6!!, and the subsequent hammer blows 23. Re7!, 28. Ng5+!!, and 29. Bxf6+! probably left Zilberstein asking about the Mack truck that ran him over. Give Martinez his check; he's earned it.

WGM Jennifer Shahade (2nd Place, 19 points):
This game caused me to question my own perceptions of chess beauty. Does the beauty of a move change based on whether it was found at home? Marcel's gorgeous 22. Bh6 was obviously home preparation; he played the move in 15 seconds, and later Marcel stated that he found it while training with Miami Board One Julio Becerra. It would be too easy to discount the beauty of this move to home cooking, and I almost did just that and considered placing it somewhere between places five and ten. But then I asked myself louder: Why is it bad for a team to work hard together, analyze, and find a beautiful novelty? Isn't this the spirit of USCL in a lot of ways? Chessmasters and Straight A students that brag they never study don't get any credit from me. I refused to rank this lower because it was the product of labor off the board.

FM Ron Young (5th Place, 16 points):
Very smooth and elegant. White admitted the game was nearly all preparation, but I'm sure that is true of many prize-winning games. Perhaps he should be punished for his candor, just to teach a lesson, but it isn't my job to teach.

GM Alex Shabalov (6th Place, 15 points):
After some highly theoretical debate, White started quite an unusual attacking pattern with 22. Bh6, which turned out to be deadly after Black's relaxing 25... Re8.

FM Robby Adamson (11th Place, 10 points):
This game, along with Molner's two wins and Becerra vs Boskovic was one of the toughest games to judge. On the surface, this is a very impressive victory by Marcel since Zilberstein is an expert in the Archangel Variation of the Ruy Lopez and because Dmitry played an absolute masterpiece in the 2004 US Champs against Alexander Ivanov, which helped shaped the theory of this line. The tactics by Marcel were also very nice. My biggest problem in not awarding this excellent game higher marks is that it was virtually all preparation. A Game of the Year has to have a little more creativity. This may not be a fair criticism, but the games ahead of this were more of an at the board struggle. I award this ten points.

Total Score of Martinez vs Zilberstein: (3rd Place, 80 Points)


Stay tuned for the final article as at long last we will announce the 2007 Game of the Year!

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


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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