Thursday, January 15, 2009
Game of the Year -- 8th Place
This is the thirteenth 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.
8th Place: GM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0
With a tenuous King position and facing two dangerous passed Pawns, Bhat played the nice 40. Rf4!, simultaneously safeguarding his own King and opening up an attack on the opposing King.
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 (4th Place, 17 points): The situation that Bhat had is almost my worst chess nightmare. Move thirty five, deep in time pressure, gut tells you that your position is almost winning, but it is so unclear with a Knight for two connected passers and both Kings wide open. To make matters worse, Tate, who is always looking to complicate matters, decides to play 35... Kc6, 36... Kc5, and 37... Kb4, really putting the pressure on White to do something before the pawns start pushing. Let's also not forget that Bhat had to win this game just to tie the match! The entire game was quite good though, even on the side of Tate! Emory's opening choice was fun, and while it was off beat, it certainly wasn't against opening principles. I really like Bhat’s idea of pushing the Pawn all the way down to h6, to punch some holes in the Kingside. There was one point when Bhat could have seized a more serious advantage, but it's hardly clear, and for the most part, both sides were playing great moves. Interestingly enough, the piece sacrifice, 25... Nfxd4 was also strongest. Perhaps Bhat could have saved himself some trouble by not playing 31. f4, weakening his own King, but regardless he recovered excellently to pick up the full point. My favorite point in the game was when Vinay correctly moved his rook back and forth along the f-file forcing Black to give up some coordination. 40. Rf4! was a particularly strong computer like move, that cut off the Queen, while at the same time opening up his own Queen to harass the nomadic King. It's not very often that you find a game that is so fun to watch, with many exciting elements, that is also well played.
IM Ben Finegold (6th Place, 15 points): Now THIS is a USCL GOTW! White obtains a winning position without any trouble against Black's terrible play. Then, *no technique* sets in, and Black is fine. Then, Black goes WAY too far, and White cannot help but win. A very entertaining game for the spectators as it reminds me of two players rated under 1000 in a scholastic tournament. 39... d4?? is funny. Great fun, no quality! Awesome!
GM Jan Gustafsson (7th Place, 14 points): Fun stuff. Having fallen victim to Tate myself I'm well aware of his skills to mix it up even when things might look grim. Not a huge fan of the offbeat French he played and the early strategic decisions like 10... c4 and 12... b4 though, which left his King without a place to go. Bhat did a good job of getting an edge and after say 18. Ng5, I can't see Black surviving.
Later on we get a phase of crazy complications starting with 25... Nxd4 which both sides seem to manage well until the Black King starts a suicide mission with 36... Kc5 and 37... Kb4. Nice finish by Bhat. Being a bit of an opening freak I don't rate this game higher because of Black's strange play in that phase and the fact he didn't get punished appropriately for it. It seemed like Tate was making the key decisions in which direction the game should go but became too creative, and Bhat merely had to cash in later. Still, good entertainment for sure!
FM Ron Young (12th Place, 9 points): This was almost an epic, but it's easier to get the bards on board when the rampaging King prevails over the extra material rather than the opposite.
FM Ingvar Johannesson (16th Place, 5 points): Tate plays a rare opening line that somehow ends up in a French like structure. In the middle game Tate is kind of forced into a piece sacrifice, but we know he doesn't mind it as he likes complicated games with imbalances. It seemed to have the potential to be interesting with connected passed Pawns vs a Knight, but ultimately the King march by Tate proved suicidal.
Total Score of Bhat vs Tate: (8th Place, 60 Points)
Stay tuned for six 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 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 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 #2: GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 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