Sunday, January 25, 2009
Game of the Year -- 3rd Place
This is the eighteenth 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.
3rd Place: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 1-0
Sammour-Hasbun had been building up an attack for many moves, having sacrificed two pawns early in the game, and finally crashed through Black's position with 31. Nxe6!! after which the g pawn, which had previously seemed to be serving as more of a defender to the Black King, ended up proving its worth.
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 Ron Young (1st Place, 20 points): A double pawn sac for long term compensation, then a piece sac (31. Nxe6), and followed by a quiet move (32. Qf4), make this the Game of the Year, in my opinion. If it was all unsound, sorry, nobody told me.
FM Ingvar Johannesson (3rd Place, 18 points): Very entertaining game. Sammour-Hasbun goes all in with an inventive attack starting with 12. Nb5 - d6 followed by 15. f5 - f6. It was interesting, but somehow the attack ends up in a positional bind for White, down two pawns. There seems to be no way through, but an inaccuracy by Black allows another sacrifice and after that Sammour-Hasbun's raw tactical talent showcases itself, and he finishes the game in impressive fashion.
GM Jan Gustafsson (5th Place, 16 points): Not sure what to think about this one. I've never liked these French positions with that ugly c8 Bishop for Black, but that's highly subjective obviously. Castling Queenside and allowing 10... c4 etc. is risky business for sure though. Sammour-Hasbun's concept starting with 12. Nb5 and peaking in 15. f5! and 16. f6 is creative for sure, even though I'm not sure White was actually better after it as my computer is pretty happy with Black. Anyways, he got decent positional compensation and finished very nicely with the fancy 31. Nxe6!! after getting the chance from 30... Qf8. Nice stuff and far from easy to calculate that White is actually winning after 34. Qc7 and 36. Qd6!
Interesting concept, cute finish, but not at the top of my list since I'm not so sure about the objective merits of White's concept and how the position actually was before Pruess went astray with 30... Qf8?? (26... Kg8 also looks strange).
FM Daniel Ludwig (7th Place, 14 points): This was Jorge's finest game of the season. Typically Jorge beats you with some nice tactical shot that you completely overlooked but not in this case. In this case, Pruess had a long time to see what Jorge was doing, and was still unable to find a way to prevent the catastrophic break through with 31. Nxe6! In fact, Jorge spent moves twenty five through thirty preparing this idea, and during all that time, all Pruess could do was push his Pawns forward in what was a useless attempt to counterattack. Also, Jorge was one of the very fortunate people who had the opportunity to train with Tal, and I could definitely see a lot of Tal's influence in this game. 15. f5! was a great idea, regardless of what a computer might think. It is a deep double pawn sacrifice for long lasting pressure and open files. Tal was known for these sacrifices, without any concrete forced win in mind, just putting his opponent on the hot seat, forcing him to make all the tough choices. Unfortunately for Pruess, when the time came, he didn't have the gusto to play his last big opportunity, 30... e5! However, I can't blame him for not doing this, as I highly doubt I would play it either, considering how out of sync this seems to be with the position. After 31. Nxe6 the game is not quite over, but due to Jorge's relentless play, it seemed easier than it probably was.
IM Ben Finegold (13th Place, 8 points): A typical game between the weak players of the USCL. White sacrifices a pawn for nothing; Black has no idea how to defend so White equalizes. Then Black misses an obvious tactic and completely falls apart. Looks like a simul game. Once again, don't look at this game with Rybka or Fritz as you will be disappointed. I ranked it pretty highly though because the players have spirit!
Total Score of Sammour-Hasbun vs Pruess: (3rd Place, 76 Points)
Stay tuned for the final article in the next few days as we will announce the 2008 Game of the Year!
Week 8: GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1-0 Article
Championship: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 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