Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quarterfinals 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.


**Due to the lower number of games played, in the Quarterfinals only the first and second place prizes mentioned above will be given out, and in the Semifinals and Finals, only the first place prize will be awarded.

1st Place: IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs GM Vinay Bhat (SF) 1-0

Arun Sharma: Very dramatic, high quality game by both players with the latest stages of the game being for all the marbles with the match tied 1.5 – 1.5. It really seemed that both sides, especially considering the time pressure, did quite a good job in navigating a tough position and several tough moments. Kuljasevic in particular really seemed to play the end part of the game very precisely, overwhelming Black's defenses despite a tenacious defensive effort by Bhat. Considering the quality of the game along with the huge drama behind the result, this seemed like an easy choice for the top spot. (1st place: 3 points)

Greg Shahade: While this game wasn't super flashy, it was definitely the most dramatic of the evening. The score was tied 1.5 – 1.5, and Kuljasevic had to win to send Dallas to the SemiFinals. The position was not so clear in that the crowd had very mixed opinions as to what the result would be. It was simply a tough and dramatic fight, with good play from both sides. I'm sure Bhat wasn't happy with his play near the end of the game, but given the time trouble, it wasn't as if he did anything obviously dreadful. Anyway, given the importance of the game, and the fact that both players seemed to put up a good struggle, I ranked it first. (1st place: 3 points)

Jonathan Hilton: This seemed to be the most logical pick for GOTW, but at the time of judging, I found the ending (the last five moves or so) to be rather uninspiring. On closer examination it's actually surprisingly hard to find a significant improvement for Black — the Queen’s eventual migration from the Kingside to the Queenside, leaving Black open to attack, seems nearly unavoidable! Actually, Black's mistake probably had to do with trading rooks. I felt Black should have been fine in the late middle game, when he had both Rooks on the c-file. Still, a nice game by Kuljasevic, and not at all undeserving of the GOTW award considering how precisely White played the last ten moves or so to score the point. (NR: 0 points)

Total Score of Kuljasevic vs Bhat: 6 points


2nd Place: IM Dmitry Schneider (QNS) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0

Jonathan Hilton: I felt like this was quite easily this week's hardest fought game. For a long time, I couldn't tell whether Black would have full compensation for the exchange or not; I believe he very well may have, but made a mistake later on, particularly in the transition to the endgame. I think Perelshteyn may have needed to stick a Knight on e4 at some point to block White's Rooks from dominating the seventh rank. An interesting game; I voted the Becerra vs Nakamura game ahead of this one only because Queens eventually lost the match, thus making Schneider's win less critical. (2nd place: 2 points)

Arun Sharma: Very interesting game and another high quality effort by both sides. I too wasn't really sure if Black ever established full compensation for the exchange, but it was still a very interesting idea and definitely a hard fought encounter. Although the end of the game was a bit anticlimactic due to the match situation already having been decided, I still think the game's overall appeal warranted it being ranked. (3rd Place: 1 point)

Greg Shahade: A nice game by Schneider; I'd perhaps have ranked it second if Queens advanced instead of Boston. Again, there was nothing too exciting going on, but Schneider kept pushing and pushing until eventually he broke Perelshteyn's defenses, and I always appreciate it when the defending side makes the opponent work very hard for victory, instead of collapsing quickly under the pressure. (3rd place: 1 point)

Total Score of Schneider vs Perelshteyn: 4 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

3 points (Jon 3):
GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Hikaru Nakamura (SEA) 1-0

2 points (Arun 2):
WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (DAL) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0

2 points (Greg 2):
SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs IM Eli Vovsha (QNS) 1/2-1/2

1 point (Jon 1):
IM Sam Shankland (SF) vs FM Igor Schneider (DAL) 1-0


Anonymous said...

Judges got it right, at least on first 2 games. The games were not terribly exciting and really the top 2 games were clearly the best. Everything else was so-so.

Ilya said...

its playoffs-- excitement must be tempered with solid play.

Anonymous said...

Does the USCL seem less exciting this year than in the past? Or is it just because this is less of a "new" thing.