Monday, January 19, 2009
Game of the Year -- 6th Place
This is the fifteenth 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.
6th Place: GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 1/2-1/2
Following a strong exchange sacrifice by Ehlvest, Erenburg cleverly defended with 27... Bf5! After some more nice tactics by both sides, the game liquidated into a drawn endgame.
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 (2nd Place, 19 points): We need more Petroffs! Ok, Ehlvest's opening treatment is hardly a refutation, and Black got a very decent position quickly. But the middlegame phase is highly impressive. While the exchange sac 23. Rxf6! was done out of necessity, it also carries a lot of venom, and both sides had to be very precise and creative. 25. e4! Nf4!, 27... Bf5!, and 28. Kh2! are all very strong, non obvious moves – attack and defense on a great level! 28... Kh8 might have been slightly inaccurate, 28... Kg7 covering f6 is probably better. On move thirty Black had the great 30... Qe5! 31. Qxe5 Rxh4 32. Kg3 Rh3 33. Kg2 Rxe5 34. exf5 Rxd3! 35. cxd3 Rxd5 with a good Rook ending, but missing that with low time is hardly a crime. In the game the balance wasn't seriously disturbed, and after the cute 34... Rh1, it quickly finished peacefully. 36. Rh5 might have been a chance to try for more for White actually. A very spectacular game. I was very seriously considering making this one number one, but somehow having a draw as GOTY doesn't seem right, and I also slightly miss more critical opening play. If these should really be criteria is up for discussion of course. Anyways, a cool effort by both sides!
FM Ron Young (4th Place, 17 points): Some people see a Petroff and figure that a dull draw is in store. But every once in a while, you get an exciting draw that leaves you longing for the next Petroff and looking for a Petroff thematic tournament to play in.
FM Ingvar Johannesson (7th Place, 14 points): Had all the makings of a boring Petroff draw, at least the opening and the very end in the Rook ending. But somehow in the middle it seemed like most of the pieces on the board developed some kind of random Tourette syndrome, and the pieces just dropped every which way with no regard for human life. An array of surprising moves in this game like 23. Rxf6, 27... Bf5 and 31... Rh1, although mostly forced. So this game ranks pretty high for its inventiveness and entertainment value.
FM Daniel Ludwig (12th Place, 9 points): I have to admit, Erenburg is quickly becoming one of my favorite GMs in the United States. His play is typically sharp, and he's always trying to win. In this game against Ehlvest, Jaan plays unorthodox as always and gets a worse position out of the opening. After Black played a nice Rook lift, the pressure was too much that White decided to sacrifice the exchange. Black was clearly in control of the game after 12. Be3? and played sharply and accurately to achieve a nearly winning position until he blew it with 30... Bh7 instead of the strong 30... Qe5! This was truly a great game in many respects. It could have easily been Top Five but for two major things. First of all, Ehlvest was just asking for a beating by playing 12. Be3. This move is ridiculous, and I'm sure that Erenburg was upset with himself for having not finishing the job. Secondly, it ended in a draw even though the position was clearly better, if not winning, for Black.
IM Ben Finegold (16th Place, 5 points): Pretty interesting draw. White is outplayed and worse throughout, but plays very resourcefully, and Black misses his chances to be better with 30... Qe5! Pretty well played draw and by far the best of the draws submitted.
Total Score of Ehlvest vs Erenburg: (6th Place, 64 Points)
Stay tuned for four more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every couple of days to see which of the following games will be the 2008 Game of the Year!
Week 5: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 1-0 Article
Week 8: GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1-0 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 #2: GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 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