Sunday, January 4, 2009

Game of the Year -- 16th Place

This is the fifth 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.


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

Already up a pawn, Kuljasevic won another with the nice tactic 27. Rxc4! and soon handed the two time MVP his only loss of the 2008 Season.

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 (8th Place, 13 points):
I must admit I had never heard of Mr. Kuljasevic before, but judging by this game and his overall result in the league, he seems pretty good at chess! Becerra's plan with 8... a6 and 9... e5 isn't the most popular one, and this game might well show why as Black ends up in a worse position with pawn weaknesses. I liked 20. Rxc6, changing the structure and making White's advantage more tangible. 26... c4 is just a blunder, but Black was much worse already, and 27. Rxc4! was a nice petite combination. High level play Kuljasevic, but the game is a bit too positional and one sided to make it higher on my list.

IM Ben Finegold (11th Place, 10 points):
Quality wise, this game wins hands down! White played virtually flawless positional chess and beats a very strong player. Too bad the game is so boring.

FM Daniel Ludwig (14th Place, 7 points):
I really liked this game, but I won't allow my bias to rank this game any higher than it deserves. This game was meaningful in that Becerra for the first three years of the league was undoubtedly the strongest player. This year however, there can be little doubt that the honor of best player belongs to Kuljasevic. It was after this game (which decided the match 2.5 – 1.5 in favor of Dallas) that I believed that Dallas could beat any team in the league and repeat. Becerra impresses me as he seems to be the master of the Spanish torture (and not just in the Spanish, but in any opening!). In this game, though, Kuljasevic wins so convincingly and makes toppling the league's greatest player seem effortless. So why didn't this game go higher in my book? Well Becerra simply made too many uncharacteristic positional errors. First of all, it is considered inferior to play the line that Becerra played with a6 and e5. Secondly, one of the main principles of isolated Queen Pawn positions is that the side with the isolated pawn should avoid minor piece exchanges, as it weakens the pawn, and defeats the purpose of the IQP which is to be active. Kuljasevic played excellently, capitalizing on every positional error Becerra made, but the game wasn't that easy until Becerra threw away not one, but two pawns. Normally beating Becerra would earn a top five spot, but if you ask Julio, he might tell you this was his worst game of the season.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (18th Place, 3 points):
A positional massacre. White is getting everything he wants from this opening when Black tries to give up a pawn but apparently missed the strong shot 27. Rxc4! A very clean game from White, but one gets the feeling that Black was a little too willing to place his head on the guillotine which makes for a rather low ranking for this game.

FM Ron Young (20th Place, 1 point):
Edmar Mednis once wrote "If you leave Pawns unprotected – this will be bad". But we can all still use a reminder from time to time.

Total Score of Kuljasevic vs Becerra: (16th Place, 34 Points)


Stay tuned for fourteen 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

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

No comments: