Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Game of the Year -- 20th Place

This is the first part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2008 USCL Game of the Year. The eligible entrants are the thirteen Games of the Week along with the seven Wildcards (full list). There are five judges who ranked the games from 1st to 20th. If a game is ranked in 1st place by a judge, it receives 20 points, if it's ranked 2nd place it receives 19 points, and so on with 20th place receiving 1 point, and the games are then ranked on their total number of points. If there is a tie at a certain total, whichever amongst those games have higher individual rankings will win on tie-break (e.g. a game which gets a 1st + 4th ranking is higher than a game which gets a 2nd + 3rd).

The five judges are:

IM Ben Finegold
GM Jan Gustafsson
FM Ingvar Johannesson
FM Daniel Ludwig
FM Ron Young


20th Place: GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs IM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1-0

After a solid game by both players, Black finally cracked in time pressure with 38... Nf6?? where 38... Bd4 would have kept the game fairly level.

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.

IM Ben Finegold (15th Place, 6 points):
A very good game, marred, I assume, by time trouble. White is better throughout, but Black defends well, and, just as the game is equal, Black makes the time trouble error 38... Nf6?? Instead, 38... Bd4 would just have been equal. Otherwise, a great game.

GM Jan Gustafsson (15th Place, 6 points):
I'm not overly impressed with this game either. In the mainline KID Black plays the quite uncommon 10... c5, trying to lock the Queenside and stopping White's main plan of pushing c5. It does allow White to open lines over there easily though, and I think Ehlvest got an edge playing natural moves. After 18. exf5!, I dislike 18... gxf5 as played (yeah yeah, every Russian school boy knows one should recapture with the g-pawn), but 18... Nxf5 looks sounder to me anyways. In the game, Ehlvest keeps the initiative and gets the two Bishops playing good positional chess, but errs with 34. Bf4, when after 34... Qh7! Black seems back on track. Later the outcome is decided by the (time-trouble?) blunder 38... Nf6?, when 38... Bd4 should have been fine. A solid game by Ehlvest, but not enough beauty (whatever that is in chess) or entertainment to rank it higher.

FM Ron Young (17th Place, 4 points):
Some nice maneuvering by White, but pieces dropping with check mars the game's artistic impression.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (20th Place, 1 point):
White holds on to a very tiny edge throughout which doesn't seem enough for a win, but Ehlvest shows nice tenacity and takes home the point. Other than being important to win in the end this game didn't do much for me, and I found it clearly the "worst" of the bunch.

FM Daniel Ludwig (20th Place, 1 point):
I just wasn't impressed at all. Perhaps most people felt that the final result came about due to incredible technique by Ehlvest, but that couldn't be further from the truth. On move 38, the game was still dead even, however, Barcenilla responded with two terrible moves that resulted in immediate resignation. I was hoping for more from Ehlvest, especially considering that he had a sizable advantage earlier in the game.

Total Score of Ehlvest vs Barcenilla: (20th Place, 18 Points)


Stay tuned for eighteen more such articles as the field shrinks by one game almost every day to see which of the following games will be the 2008 Game of the Year!

Week 1: GM Alex Shabalov (NY) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 0-1 Article

Week 2: GM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0 Article

Week 3: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs GM Sergey Kudrin (PHI) 1-0 Article

Week 4: IM Lev Milman (CAR) vs GM Alex Shabalov (NY) 1-0 Article

Week 5: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 6: IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article

Week 7: IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1-0 Article

Week 8: GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1-0 Article

Week 9: GM Sergey Kudrin (PHI) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1/2-1/2 Article

Week 10: GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 1/2-1/2 Article

Quarterfinals: IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs GM Vinay Bhat (SF) 1-0 Article

Semifinals: FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1/2-1/2 Article

Championship: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #1: IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #2: GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 Article

Wildcard #3: GM Patrick Wolff (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1/2-1/2 Article

Wildcard #4: IM Dmitry Schneider (QNS) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #6: FM Bruci Lopez (MIA) vs GM Gregory Serper (SEA) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #7: IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article


20th Place (18 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs IM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

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