Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Game of the Year -- 1st Place

This is the final part in a series of articles which has counted down to revealing what game was voted as the 2008 USCL Game of the Year. For more information on exactly how this process worked and the prize information, please refer to: Game of the Year Contest.


1st Place: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0

Not content to have only one piece hanging, Christiansen began a parade of tactics with 15. Bxb5+!, never letting up and never giving his opponent a chance to recover.

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 (1st Place, 20 points):
This is clearly the Game of the Year:

(A) Last week of the event.
(B) Christiansen plays like Christiansen!
(C) White's tactical ability this game is like a SUPER computer! Larry's play is amazing.
(D) High quality + fun to watch, more so than any other game!

Winning a game of this quality (all of White's moves are perfect) when the chips are down, makes this GOTY!

FM Ingvar Johannesson (1st Place, 20 points):
When looking over all the games, this one catches your eye immediately. Crushing attack, lots of flashy moves, and many of them unexpected, at least for me. At the end of the day this is the kind of game that chess fans like seeing, and I feel the same way. This is I think the prettiest game and so my vote for GOTY!

FM Daniel Ludwig (2nd Place, 19 points):
When I stopped and took a deeper look at this game, there was no doubt that this game would be put high up there. Just try and think of the biggest blowout you have ever seen at the highest stage in sports. This game was just as bad, and it became ugly quick. According to the databases, the position after 9... Qxf4 has only occurred six times, but it seems that the previous assessment of this position is that Black is no worse. After 10. Rf1 Qc7 it seems that Black is fine with easy defenses, and apparently even Rybka agrees ... for a couple of minutes. Letting the computer mull over things for a little while allows him to discover the ideas that Christiansen used which gave him a winning position. 11. Qh5 is a theoretical novelty and a darn good one as well. After Christiansen calmly played 14. 0-0-0, Zivanic must not have seen the deadly threat and blindly walked into 15. Bxb5+! The rest was history, but not before Larry threw down the equally nice 17. Rxd6! and 18. Rxf6! It really is mind boggling to think of how badly poor Marko got crushed for the slightest inaccuracy 10... Qc7. Christiansen has always been known to be ruthless, but this was something even more frightening. Let's also not forget at what stage this game took place — the biggest of them all: Board One in the Championship Match. Phenomenal game by Christiansen, unfortunately for him I felt that the Erenburg vs Sammour-Hasbun game was just a little deeper.

FM Ron Young (2nd Place, 19 points):
Perhaps it was naive of Black to accept White's pawn sac, but Larry has surrendered bigger things in the opening for less compensation. In any case, this game featured an impressive series of notable moves and almost got my first place vote. In the end though I favored a game where the coolness was deeper even if less abundant.

GM Jan Gustafsson (3rd Place, 18 points):
A trademark Larry C storming the barricades effort. I haven't seen this 8. Bd3 pawn sac before, but accepting it against Christiansen seems very risky to say the least. Probably after 14. O-O-O Black is already in deep trouble, but I'm unable to suggest a decent improvement from moves ten through fourteen for Black, and White executes with ruthless precision. I especially like the quiet 16. Rf3! and afterward some roads lead to Rome. 18. Rxf6 and 19. Nd5 are definitely spectacular and at the same time an accurate way to do the job. White never lets his guard down, and both 25. Bc6! and 26. Rd6 deserve praise too.

Total Score of Christiansen vs Zivanic: (1st Place, 96 Points)


Final 2008 Game of the Year Standings:

1st Place (96 Points): GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

2nd Place (86 Points): GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

3rd Place (76 Points): SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

4th Place (72 Points): IM Davorin Kuljasevic (DAL) vs GM Vinay Bhat (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

5th Place (70 Points): GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

6th Place (64 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article

7th Place (62 Points): IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

8th Place (60 Points): GM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

9th Place (59 Points): GM Alex Shabalov (NY) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 0-1 Article Elimination 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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