Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Championship Game of the Week

This year we have five judges for Game of the Week, each ranking their top five games. The games are then given from one to five points, based on these rankings, and whichever game receives the most total points wins the award. First place each week will receive a $150 bonus prize, second place $75, and third place $50. Our five judges are: IM Greg Shahade, FM Jim Dean, NM Michael Aigner, NM Jeff Ashton, and NM Arun Sharma. Click here for more details.


1st Place: IM Sam Shankland (NE) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0

IM Shankland played the strong 16. d5! forcing a favorable endgame which he eventually converted, a huge key to New England's Championship victory.

Jeff Ashton (1st place: 1 point): A very tough game. It seems that White carried a small advantage from the opening until the endgame. The opposite colored Bishop ending was instructive. Sam Shankland's games don't excite me to be honest, but I know they are played with a high level of skill very few can truly appreciate. He just consistently figures out ways to win. In my opinion he is "Player of the Year" and one of the most underrated (under-appreciated is a better word as I have no idea what his Elo Ratings are) players in US Chess.

On another note, I am so disappointed to see a forfeit in this match. I don't know what happened, but this is such an anti-climatic way to end a season.

Jim Dean (1st place: 1 point): Honestly, I really liked both games on the top two boards so it was a difficult decision despite having few games to choose from. In the end, I felt this game was more complete, and I really enjoyed Shankland's persistence and technique in the opposite colored Bishop endgame.

Arun Sharma (1st place: 1 point): Like the other judges, I also had difficulty deciding between this game and the Hungaski game as both seemed quite salient but in different ways. Shankland's game contained a very instructive ending while Hungaski's included a very rich tactical sequence. I honestly am not sure which was the correct pick, but I went with this game since the endgame was so interesting - the sort that one would really have to analyze deeply for a long time at many junctures to really understand fully. Naturally this likely means there were mistakes made along the way, but considering the overall situation, it seemed that both players conducted it quite well.

Greg Shahade (NR: 0 points): It was very close for me between this game and Hungaski's, and I think both are very deserving. A very interesting and rich Bishops of opposite color endgame occurred here, and while Black can probably draw with best play near the end, it's very hard to play all the best moves while defending. It was a good effort not just by Shankland, who showed great practical skill in this game, but also Becerra who had a tough job in defending a difficult position but got very, very close to securing the draw.

Total Score of Shankland vs Becerra: 3 points


Other Considered Games (judges' scores in parenthesis)

1 point (Greg 1):
FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM Robert Hungaski (NE) 0-1


s. suschitzky said...

"In my opinion he is "Player of the Year" and one of the most underrated players in US Chess." I think Player of the Year is similar to Game of the Week as I'm between Sam Shankland and Robert Hungaski, both incredible seasons. I'm glad to see Sam finally winning a GOTW especially the championship edition of it, superb job you two.

Anonymous said...

Certainly a deserving winner, but is there any opinions by very strong players about what the result of that endgame should have been? Looking at the game, I felt it was a comfortable draw for Black until ...Kd6 after Kc4, I thought Kb8 was holding

Anonymous said...

¿Qué es esto? ¿Por qué sólo le gusta cuando Becerra pierde? Los jueces deben usar la cabeza.

Anonymous said...

when are the all-star teams going to be announced?

Arun Sharma said...

All Stars will start to be announced on either Sunday the 28th or Monday the 29th.