Monday, January 11, 2010

Game of the Year -- 12th Place

This is the ninth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 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.


12th Place: GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0

GM Gulko made an interesting exchange sac with 27. Rxb3! leading to a very unclear position where he eventually elegantly showcased the power of the two Bishops.

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.

WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (4th Place, 17 points):
I was going to rank this game higher until I realized that Gulko was White. Nonetheless, a very enjoyable game. I really like White’s play in an annoying and boring English that I usually struggle against. A simple, quiet position with no concrete plans that is usually so difficult and frustrating. I am not sure how sound the exchange sacrifice was, but I am going to overlook that. My guess is Black wasn't expecting the Queen sacrifice, which is surprising and a little hard to understand, but soon after the strength of two Bishops becomes visible and overwhelming. It is hard to see what exactly Black did wrong or how he could have improved; a few inaccurate moves later his position was hopeless.

FM Ron Young (5th Place, 16 points):
Queen + Knight is a famous combination of pieces, but they were outgunned here by the unsung Rook + Two Bishops. It could be a question of where they are in relation to the enemy King. I'll know better after I've seen a few more examples, but that is the way I am leaning right now. Anyway, I don’t know if I'd call this game beautiful, but it certainly has class. And beauty fades, but class endures. I know.

GM Gregory Kaidanov (13th Place, 8 points):
An interesting game, but the sacrifices were almost forced.

GM Robert Hess (16th Place, 5 points):
No surprise here: Gulko always wins (see his 9 - 0 career USCL record). This game I really did not like, though. Black was better after the exchange sacrifice, and 30... Rb8 was a blunder. 30... Ra7 would have left Black with an edge that more than likely would have put a blemish on Gulko's perfect record.

GM Alex Yermolinsky (19th Place, 2 points):
Yermolinsky only provides commentary for his top ten games.

Total Score of Gulko vs Zaikov: (12th Place, 48 Points)


Stay tuned for ten more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every day to see which of the following games will be the 2009 Game of the Year!

Week 1: IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article

Week 5: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 6: GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article

Week 7: IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article

Week 8: IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article

Week 9: IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article

Quarterfinals: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article

Semifinals: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article

Wildcard #4: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #7: GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

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