Sunday, January 11, 2009

Game of the Year -- 10th Place

This is the eleventh part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2008 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 Contest.


10th Place: IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0

The already unusual game had another interesting twist, with Knights being taken to corners of the board consecutively with 23. Nxh8 Nxa1. After more twists, White eventually prevailed due to passed pawns on opposite sides of the board.

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 Daniel Ludwig (8th Place, 13 points):
This was a nice game, more because of Lenderman's creativity than the soundness of the moves. 13. Rh3 probably wasn't that strong, but it's a good idea nonetheless, and one that causes imbalances. I'm especially impressed by 21. Nf4! My first reaction was that Lenderman was playing recklessly, but the truth is, it is a deep, well thought out exchange. It really is a great idea that ties up the Black Knights while also giving the Rook on h3 a good purpose in making a passed h5 pawn. Alex could have saved himself some trouble by instead of playing 28. Ne5, playing 28. Nf6, which makes the victory much easier. The reason I didn't put this game any higher is because Lenderman gave away the advantage with inaccurate technique, but won anyways thanks to poor defense by Zaikov, in particular 32... Qe7 and 33... a5.

FM Ron Young (9th Place, 12 points):
I admit to getting bleary at yet another Lenderman game, but there are two pretty cool things about this one — the way they capture each other's Rooks on opposite corners with their respective Knights, and Lenderman's Rook lift that takes thirty eight moves to complete but then forces immediate resignation.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (10th Place, 11 points):
An entertaining Knight tango in the early middlegame, and then White gets a very solid positional edge which he exploits in a very old school Soviet type fashion. I didn't know much about Lenderman before judging these games, but he has impressed me in the games I have seen in this competition, and his technique in this game did as well.

IM Ben Finegold (12th Place, 9 points):
A back and forth game and fun to watch! Black plays a couple of bad moves in the late middlegame though to earn his loss. Low quality, but fun for the spectators.

GM Jan Gustafsson (12th Place, 9 points):
Another entertaining, hard fought game. I didn't like White's opening, and 12. Rh3 especially strikes me as a bit odd. I wouldn't have shown my hand so early with 15... O-O-O, after a move like 15... Bf5 or 15... Be7, I'd prefer to be Black, and later on, 19... f6 seems to weaken some squares unnecessarily. The mutual knight dance to the corner some moves later has some aesthetic value and seems like good play too! The position remains unclear until Black loses the thread with 32... Qe7 and 33... a5, after which he never had a chance to comeback. A good fight, but basically just the stronger playing winning in an interesting game after messing up in the opening.

Total Score of Lenderman vs Zaikov: (10th Place, 54 Points)


Stay tuned for eight more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every couple of days 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 5: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 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 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

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

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


10th Place (54 Points): IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

11th Place (51 Points): IM Lev Milman (CAR) vs GM Alex Shabalov (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

12th Place (46 Points): GM Sergey Kudrin (PHI) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article

13th Place (44 Points): IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

14th Place (42 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs GM Sergey Kudrin (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

15th Place (35 Points): FM Bruci Lopez (MIA) vs GM Gregory Serper (SEA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

16th Place (34 Points): IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

17th Place (32 Points): GM Patrick Wolff (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article

18th Place (27 Points): IM Dmitry Schneider (QNS) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

19th Place (22 Points): FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article

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

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