Friday, September 5, 2008

Week 2 Game of the Week

This year we have three judges for Game of the Week, each ranking their top five games. The games are then given from one to five points, based on these rankings, and whichever game receives the most total points wins the award. First place each week will receive a $100 bonus prize, second place $50, and third place $30. Our three judges are: IM Greg Shahade, NM Arun Sharma, and NM Jonathan Hilton. Click here for more details.


1st Place: IM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Once again this seemed to be a fairly easy choice for the top spot as I felt this game was far and away the most interesting of the week, containing tons of really tricky moments where the game's outcome was hanging in the balance. Although the ending part was rather sloppily played by Black (time pressure!), it still was a quite creative display by him and a typical strong performance by Bhat, navigating several very tough moments quite well. (1st place: 5 points)

Greg Shahade: Fun game! Would have been a slam dunk if the end of the game was played better by Black, but before that both sides really made some inspiring moves. I'm not certain this game would have won in a different week, but this week I felt that every other game had bigger flaws than this one. The other games had at least one of the following problems:

1. Too many mistakes
2. Too boring
3. Too one-sided
4. One side was better throughout until a blunder near the end.

This game it was pretty unclear for a large part of the game, and given the time constraints I felt that both sides did a reasonable job of sifting through the complications. This isn't 40/2, 20/1, SD/1 after all.
(1st place: 5 points)

Jonathan Hilton: I guess I just never get tired of picking Bhat’s games to win the GOTW competition. Although I thought Bhat was clearly better in the opening, ramming his h-pawn all the way to h6, I was surprised when, somewhere around move 23 or so, Black appeared absolutely fine — perhaps better! Tate’s attack culminated in an intuitive but brilliant knight sacrifice on move 25, giving him two passers in the center. But when more pieces came off the board, Black had to defend these two passers with some additional support — from the King! Bhat turned around and checkmated this aggressive, fighting King. A tough game all around with some wild complications! The San Francisco Mechanics hold the Chicago Blaze to a draw. (1st place: 5 points)

Total Score of Bhat vs Tate: 15 points


2nd Place: GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Although this game might not have had quite the flair that I've come to sort of expect from GM Becerra's many GOTW level performances, it still was a very good game by him. He just completely dominated the game entirely, giving his opponent really no compensation or play throughout, along with giving viewers a textbook display of how to handle good knight vs bad bishop. A very high class performance for sure. (2nd Place: 4 points)

Greg Shahade: A very clean game from Becerra. Believe it or not, this game lost its place in the standings for me partly because Charbonneau resigned so early. Okay, the position is obviously winning for White, but it really harms the aesthetic factor when a player doesn't even play out an even material position so that players who aren't quite as strong can understand what's going on. Maybe that's a weird reason to rank a game lower, I don't know, but it always bugs me. So now you know if you don't want your opponent to win Game of the Week, resign as quickly as possible. In all honesty I probably would have simply given it second place if it was played out a few more moves. (3rd Place: 3 points)

Jonathan Hilton: I thought Becerra played a textbook positional game. Considering the caliber of his opponent, this victory is especially important for Becerra — and gets him off to a great start on his way to recapturing his MVP status for 2008! (3rd Place: 3 points)

Total Score of Becerra vs Charbonneau: 10 points


3rd Place: FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) vs FM Peter Bereolos (TEN) 0-1

Greg Shahade: This game had everything going for it at the end, the drama, the finish riding all on this game, Bereolos never having won a USCL game, and then finding a flashy variation ending in a rook sacrifice that resulted in mate. Unfortunately despite all of those pluses, I feel it doesn't really deserve Game of the Week. The early part of the game was pretty unexciting and White seemed to have an edge for a good deal of the time. The end was great however, so I think second place in a week like this, is quite reasonable. Also, I'd like to formally announce that my fifth place pick was a bad one! Albeit it was only for fifth place, but I should have gone with something else, as white made it too easy on his opponent. Another judge also made a pick that I strongly disagree with, but I'll leave it to you readers to guess which pick I'm referring to in the comments section of this article! (2nd place: 4 points)

Jonathan Hilton: Bereolos, under positional pressure, lures White into capturing the c-pawn with 37. Nxe7? A lengthy, accurate series of moves by Bereolos follows, leading all the way up to White getting checkmated. An awesome and unexpected finish to the game! (2nd place: 4 points)

Arun Sharma: A very nice mating net to end the game and score a huge upset both in the individual game and overall match by Bereolos. I would ranked this game higher for sure if not for the fact that it really seemed to me that White had been pressing, being better, for nearly the whole game, and then managed to lose mostly due to a combination of overextending and time pressure. Once again, Black's method of taking advantage of the opportunity given to him in punishing White's mistakes was very good, but the aforementioned feeling kept me from giving this game too high a ranking. (5th place: 1 point)

Total Score of Mikhailuk vs Bereolos: 9 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

4 points (Arun 2, Greg 2):
GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs IM Dmitry Schneider (QNS) 1-0

3 points (Arun 3):
FM Florin Felecan (CHC) vs IM Josh Friedel (SF) 0-1

2 points (Jon 2):
NM Charles Riordan (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0

1 point (Greg 1):
FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) vs IM Angelo Young (CHC) 0-1

1 point (Jon 1):
NM Daniel Yeager (PHI) vs FM Ray Kaufman (BAL) 1-0


Jonathan Hilton said...

I'm guessing it was Arun's 3rd place pick, Felecan-Friedel.

Greg Shahade said...

What's your reason for that Jonathan :)

JFriedel said...

It's amazing what people will do at gunpoint.

Von_Igelfeld said...

Usually textbook wins are achieved over weaker opponents. In the case of Becerra vs Charbonneau, they seem to usually be evenly matched. Isn't this more of a case of Charbonneau having a bad game and allowing a textbook win. Chess is a game of taking advantage of what your opponent allows, but would this have been second place if it had been played by two FMs on fourth board?

Mark Ginsburg said...

I really enjoyed the creativity of Yaeger-R. Kaufman and wonder why it did not score higher.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Josh. It is very easy to say that because it was played between 2 highly rated players that it therefore gets higher marks. This is why lower rated players have very litle chance of winning GOTW. Maybe this is acceptable to the league, and it may be impossible to overcome given the leagues special emphasis on getting the high rated players to play. It may not be a bad thing - I am not sure.

Anonymous said...

ginsburg are you really an im?? yeager was getting completely owned the whole game and then in desperation tries a crazy sacrifice which black has about ten ways to refute. instead black manages to play the one line which instead of winning gets him mated instantly. how on earth is that a game of the week??

Mark Ginsburg said...

Because of the nice Q&N coordination and the unbelievable ineffectiveness of black's entire army in the final position.

Anonymous said...

i know peeps have often complained that the judges aren't all gms or ims since lower rated judges will often do stupid things but when there are ims of ginsburg's intelligence i can see why they haven't changed that. too bad that's probably bad news for his team also.

Mark Ginsburg said...

Why is anonymous hating?

If people just went on correctness, you miss the aesthetics. The Yeager swindle was ingenious. Just before the end, R. Kaufman missed the equally ingenious Be7!! blocking h7 for a critical tempo and securing a draw, but who knows, by then he might have had no time.

Nobody would like the titanic
Tal-Panno in the harsh anon world where things have to be correct according to his computer.

If a player is able to swindle ingeniously and make a nice pattern, that should count for something. Tal was very good at that - posing problems the opposition couldn't solve OTB. And at ICC time controls it's likely some tricks will come into play.

Arun Sharma said...

Does the Arizona team have some band (or maybe just one person) of stalkers? I mean after Week 1, all that anti-Harper stuff posted everywhere, and this week it's anti-Ginsburg? Are they planning to move from one team member to the next every week? In any case, maybe your team should invest in some sort of protection if they (or he) decides to take it to the next level.

Von_Igelfeld said...

I rather liked Yaeger-Kaufman also. It's easy to pick games apart after the fact, but that's the nature of double-edged entertaining games. But that really raises a question, what is the criteria for selection of the game of the week? Is it even possible to create an objective evaluation that isn't scrutinized by someone? In the end though, the highest quality games need the highest quality scrutiny to determine some weighted combination of the following ...

1) Best play by BOTH sides (Game that isn't determined by one side's blunder)
2) Game that shows creativity and most likely is double-edged
3) Game that introduces/demonstrates new ideas
4) Game that is instructive for those not flying in the titled ranks


curtains said...

For what its worth, my 6th+7th place games were Kaufman vs Yeager and Riordan vs Simpson.

I believe in my top four selections however I definitely think that one of the two above should have been 5th place.

8th place for me was Zaikov vs Shmelov, which despite being a draw, was a very tough and interesting fight.

Greg Shahade said...

Oops, the comment above by "curtains" was by me, as most probably know.