Saturday, January 3, 2009

Game of the Year -- 17th Place

This is the fourth 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.


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

Wolff went for a typical Sicilian sac with 12. Nd5?!, but the Game of the Year Judges didn't seem too impressed by it this time.

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 (10th Place, 11 points):
Lots of excitement with lots of hanging pieces, but in the end this game was plagued by poor technique. Neither Wolff nor this game gets credit for 12. Nd5, because first of all, every Sicilian player is dying to play this idea, and secondly the move is just bad here. After that both sides played accurately to reach a much worse ending for White, but unfortunately Zivanic did not play g6 soon enough to prevent Rf5 and Rxh5. If he had done that, the result would probably have been a win for him. In general, if Zivanic had slowed down and used good technique then perhaps this game would have been bumped up to sixth or fifth even.

GM Jan Gustafsson (13th Place, 8 points):
A sideline of the Taimanov, but I don't fully trust this 8... h5 9... Bd6 business; I think White should go for the gold with 10. f4 Nxd4 11. e5!

The piece sac in the game made for an interesting struggle, but objectively it seems dubious to me. Black managed the complications well and was somewhat better in the resulting ending. 23... f6 looked strong while 28... Ra7 looked a bit random and seemed to give up the advantage.

Overall, a well played game by both sides, but not quite enough drama; no bigger fan of draws than me, but then again I'm not trying to win GOTY prizes!

FM Ingvar Johannesson (15th Place, 6 points):
An entertaining draw to say the least. White stirred things up with a piece sacrifice in the opening; after that both sides seemed to find strong and inventive moves, and in the end we have a very funny position which is some kind of a stalemate position where neither side can do anything despite there being plenty of pieces still left on the board.

IM Ben Finegold (17th Place, 4 points):
White sacrifices for no reason, gets a bad position, and gets lucky to draw when Black's technique is not up to the task. Terrible.

FM Ron Young (18th Place, 3 points):
Wolff plays some cool moves here but when White does cool stuff, he's supposed to win. Otherwise, it's like wearing a leather jacket to your accounting job.

Total Score of Wolff vs Zivanic: (17th Place, 32 Points)


Stay tuned for fifteen 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

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