Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Game of the Year -- 2nd 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.


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

Already having a dangerous attack, Erenburg effectively finished the game with the very nice 22. Rd3!, instead of settling for the banal 22. Bh5 and defeated a very strong opponent in a seemingly perfect effort.

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 (1st Place, 20 points):
This to me was perhaps the deepest attacking game of the year, and as Erenburg made clear in his responses on the USCL blog, none of this was by accident. So what makes a great attacking game? Kings castled on opposite sides, check. Pawn storms, check. Pawn sacrifices, check. Exchange sacrifices, check. Rook lift, check. This game was just so complete and oh so brutal. The biggest knock on this game was that it was so one sided, and thus was not a really great game. I for one am so sick of this one sided argument. One sided implies that one side played well, and the other side played poorly thus making it a wipe out. However, did people even take a close look at this game?! Sammour-Hasbun played great defense, and yet people act as though he played terribly. If someone defends well, and yet still gets crushed, that to me is the sign of a great game. It seems to me like most of the judges enjoy this crap where one side has a great position, but then blows it with a bad move, only to get the better position back when the other side also plays bad moves, and etc., etc., until move fifty or so when someone comes up with a cool looking tactic. I'm sorry, but that to me is not a great game, it is a comedy of errors. It is these kind of people who enjoy following Nakamura's one minute games on ICC rather than watching Linares. The same thing goes for the game Christiansen vs Zivanic. Erenburg took the time to post some of his own thoughts on this game, and how he was especially proud of his 17. Rhe1 move, instead of putting the Rook on the natural g1 square. He was of course correct in doing so, and just about every move he made this game was perfect. I'm especially impressed by 14. f5, because when he plays that, he knows that he is probably giving up the exchange. Not only was the exchange sac good on a psychological level, but according to my engine it was sound technically as well! Not surprisingly, Jorge declined to take the Rook on h1, and intended to go for a rock solid position with 16... f6 and 17... Ne5. However, once again Erenburg was right on the money with his response, 18. g6! Once again, I'm sure that Sergey had this line figured out in advance and when it came time, he struck soundly with the beautiful 22. Rd3, winning soon after. The recipient of this gem is especially notable. Sammour-Hasbun has always been the one dishing out nasty defeats, but this time, he gets a taste of his own medicine. Erenburg is a big fan of this line against the Najdorf, and he even dealt me a painful loss in a similar looking position. This was a truly spectacular game, the only downfall being that the game was not longer, so we could not see even more brilliancies from White! Congratulations to Erenburg on an excellent season and getting my vote for Game of the Year.

IM Ben Finegold (3rd Place, 18 points):
Sammour-Hasbun gets punished for playing 15... exf5? This fatally opens up the b1-h7 diagonal after a later f6 by White, as well as giving up the d5 square. Erenburg never lets up and wins quickly against a strong opponent in brutal fashion. But this game was so one sided, I could not rank it higher as it seemed like it was over before it started. Black needs to play either 15... Rfe8 or 15... Ne5 to have chances in this line and leave the Kingside as closed as possible.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (4th Place, 17 points):
A very impressive Sicilian slaughter by Erenburg. 22. Rd3! is the star move, and all I can say is that Sammour-Hasbun is DE ... wait for it ... NIED ... DENIED! But it's also impressive that it's not at all clear where Black goes wrong. The 16... f6 move seems to be a novelty, but maybe Black must just bite the bullet and accept the first exchange offer.

FM Ron Young (5th Place, 16 points):
White expressed the opinion that this was a very good game, and he ought to know. Black seemed to think otherwise, but he should realize, like the Duke of Brunswick, that it takes two to create a great game and be proud of his part in creating this one.

GM Jan Gustafsson (6th Place, 15 points):
A very good effort by Erenburg, making it look easy against a strong opponent. I lack knowledge about this Sicilian to say where Black went wrong as he already seems in big trouble after 14. f5!. 18. g6! also looks like a good decision, and 22. Rd3!! is a nice way to finish the game off. The game might be a bit one sided, but to win with such ease without obvious mistakes from his opponent is impressive for sure.

Total Score of Erenburg vs Sammour-Hasbun: (2nd Place, 86 Points)


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


Daniel Ludwig said...

It's funny how Finegold says that this game is too one-sided, yet ranks Christiansen-Zivanic number 1. In my opinion that game was even more one-sided.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the "one-sided" argument against judging games is bad. That's the main reason another of my peeps, Marc Esserman, was denied consideration for GOTW and wildcard spots despite some stellar games (IMHO); he crushed his opponents too easily.

I remember Jorge saying before the game, "I'm going to play the Najdorf and (mess) him up!" then there was a pause, "Of course, I might get mated..."

I had the dubious (for the Blitz) pleasure of relaying Sergey's moves to Jorge. It was the best attack I've ever played :). Congrats.


Anonymous said...

To quote Daniel:

"It's funny how Finegold says that this game is too one-sided, yet ranks Christiansen-Zivanic number 1. In my opinion that game was even more one-sided."

My response?

Ah, the mysteries of life!


Elizabeth Vicary said...

all I can say is that I'm very diasappointed in the lack of nicknames.

Rihel said...

Larry played the GOTY so flashily that spectators wanted to shower gold coins all over the board!