Saturday, January 10, 2009

Game of the Year -- Midway Comments

So now that we are halfway through the contest, it seemed appropriate to make some general comments about the way the contest has been going and how those of us who made our own rankings have been doing in terms of relative accuracy to the actual picks. For reference, these are the ten games left (half of which will win a prize!).

Week 1: GM Alex Shabalov (NY) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 0-1 Article

Week 2: GM Vinay Bhat (SF) vs IM Emory Tate (CHC) 1-0 Article

Week 5: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 6: IM Alex Lenderman (QNS) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 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

Finals: 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

Things certainly look bright for GM Erenburg, having all three of his games still in contention, though one can never forget the traumatic fate that befell GM Friedel in the 2006 Contest who also had three games in the contest but had his games eliminated in sixth, fifth, and fourth — just out of the prizes. Also, both IM Lenderman and last year's winner SM Sammour-Hasbun have two of their three entries still in the fray.

I can only speak for myself of course, but I personally have been very happy with the job the judges seem to have done (at least up to this point!), they definitely all seemed to put in good effort into their rankings; I've certainly noticed how many of their comments, especially in regards to pointing out key points or moments in the games, have often been very similar, which to me really showcases how carefully they really delved into all the games.

While I, like anyone else, will obviously not agree with every single ranking that the judges' have made (if one chooses to recheck my rankings, linked below, I obviously was hoping for Kudrin vs Christiansen to snare a higher ranking and was expecting Lenderman vs Zaikov to not crack the Top Ten). Of course, even if I wasn't expecting it, I would hope that Lenderman vs Zaikov cracking the Top Ten will silence the large amount of naysayers we had for picking it as GOTW winner. On the whole though, I personally have not been overly surprised by any pick (but that could of course have to do with being pleased with my general standing in comparison to the others who predicted the results of this contest).

On that note, who really has come the closest to predicting the actual results of the contest best? Well, four of us made an effort to do that, and for reference, here were our selections:

Jonathan Hilton

Greg Shahade

Jennifer Shahade

Arun Sharma


I would be remiss of course (given this is my blog and all) to not point out that I'm the only one (including the five actual judges!) to get nine of the Top Ten games correct (everyone else only has seven or eight). Yes, yes, the only one I got wrong happens to be the game which I ranked twentieth, but that's a subject for a different article. I should also note that of the seven Wildcard picks we GOTW Judges made, the only game left in the contest was my pick.

**End Aside**

In any case, recalling back to the Judging Contest we had last year, using the same scoring system (however far from the actual ranking you are for each game, that number of points, and lowest number of points is best), here is how we stand:

1st Place: Arun Sharma (14, 16, 18, 12, 15, 17, 19, 11, 2, 13): 36 Points (Rankings Left: 1, 3 – 10, 20)

2nd Place: Greg Shahade (14, 19, 11, 15, 17, 10, 13, 20, 7, 18): 41 Points (Rankings Left: 1 – 6, 8, 9, 12, 16)

3rd Place: Jonathan Hilton (17, 19, 8, 12, 13, 11, 20, 7, 3, 18): 53 Points (Rankings Left: 1, 2, 4 – 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16)

4th Place: Jennifer Shahade (15, 12, 13, 10, 14, 16, 17, 5, 19, 20): 54 Points (Rankings Left: 1 – 4, 6 – 9, 11, 18)

So at the moment I have the lead (which is likely to vanish once my twentieth place game, Lenderman vs Zaikov, appears), but I can enjoy it while it lasts.

I hope everyone is enjoying the sped up GOTY contest; I know the five month length people had to endure in previous years had a way of losing people's interest after awhile, but I sure hope that's not the case this time around. Be sure to stay tuned for the most exciting part of the contest as we get into the Top Ten and then of course into the Top Five and the winner of the $500 Grand Prize!

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