Thursday, January 8, 2009

Game of the Year -- 12th Place

This is the ninth 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.


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

After a tough struggle, facing a dangerous array of pawns, Kudrin dismantled them with 41. Rxd3!, and after a nice tactical sequence by both sides, the game liquidated into a simple, even ending.

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.

GM Jan Gustafsson (9th Place, 12 points):
A well played game by both sides at least as far as I can tell. 9... b5 is a move that just feels wrong to me as it weakens many squares, but I can't suggest any obvious way to exploit it; maybe 10. c4 was worth looking into. In the game it looks like White is just in time, but Christiansen's strong exchange sac 15... c5! and 17... cxd4! proves that Black is doing fine. The game develops logically, but 27... Bxf3?! is a huge surprise for Bishop fans like me as after 27... Rc8!, I'd actually rather be Black! Even in the game, Black remains active enough though, at least his position is easier to play after 31... b3! After 33. Ne6 we get a very complicated position where Christiansen was still calling the shots, but Kudrin defends well, especially 41. Rxd3!!, a nice and correct way to bail himself out. A well played draw!

FM Daniel Ludwig (9th Place, 12 points):
I liked this game in many ways. I have always been a fan of exchange sacrifices, and it's especially nice to see a quality Grandmaster do it in a correct situation. It's hard to find any mistakes in this game. In general the entire game was a tense dynamic struggle where White was never much better, and both sides attacked and defended well, making the final result appropriate. Something tells me that 9... b5 is not the strongest move for Black, and that if White handled it more energetically, he could have caused some problems. My issue with this game is that there was no real excitement. The main reason this game is so exciting is because of all the tactics from moves forty one to forty three, but in reality those were just fancy ways of trading off lots of pieces and getting to a dead drawn position.

FM Ron Young (10th Place, 11 points):
A game where you could tell the players without a scorecard. Nimzowitsch's "mysterious rook move" to a closed file is well known, but Kudrin likes to employ the mysterious Rook lift, where the Rook is lifted to a closed rank. Meanwhile, Christiansen did his typical aggressive/sacrificial thing. It fizzled out in the end but before it did, the bubbles rose pretty high.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (12th Place, 9 points):
Not a flashy game but seemingly very well played. It's interesting how the balance seems to be kept almost throughout the game even though Black gave up an exchange; neither side seems to "threaten" to win the game at any point. Rare that draws are very interesting, but this one certainly is.

IM Ben Finegold (19th Place, 2 points):
Pretty good game. White is better all the way, then plays the awful 34. Ra6? I ranked the game lower than normal, since as I previously stated, it was a draw, and it simply was not as exciting as I would expect a GOTW draw to be.

Total Score of Kudrin vs Christiansen: (12th Place, 46 Points)


Stay tuned for ten 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 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 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


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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