Friday, December 31, 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 2010 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 Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) 1-0

With 50. Rh3!, and White's two Pawns trumping Black's Rook, GM Friedel nicely won the wild game in a well played ending.

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 Robert Hess (3rd Place, 18 points):
This game was really exciting, despite coming from a French Tarrasch (yawn). Josh mounted a huge spatial attack, while Akobian tried to counterattack on the Queenside. Josh missed a nice shot with 17. Nxh7! netting a Pawn. However, both sides continued to play best moves, with Var even making a cute King run to the Queenside. Just when it seemed like the dust had settled, and Josh was on his way to a win in typical "nice Knight against light squared Bishop" fashion, Var missed his chance to hold a draw with a fantastic save, faltering with 41... Rf8 (41... Qb2+ seems to hold: 41... Qb2+ 42. Qe2 Qxc3 43. Nxh8 Qg3+ 44. Kf1 c3! – followed by Bb5 and perpetual check). Considering the last thirty or so moves were made in severe time pressure, the end of the game is actually quite impressive. 50. Rh3 is a cute touch, and after that it's over. Nicely done by Josh.

FM Ron Young (6th Place, 15 points):
All right, this is kind of "meat and potatoes" too but it's Kobe beef and La Bonnotte potatoes. The Pawn storm that exposed White's own King was neat and 53. Rxd2 was a nice touch to finish.

GM Jan Gustafsson (12th Place, 9 points):
Another goofy French. I never liked Black's position at any point, the fact that I have trouble pointing out Akobian's mistake might mean that Friedel played a great game, or that this particular line just is not overly advisable for Black. Probably Qb2+ a move earlier to force the K to g1 was a better bet. Solid technique in the Rook ending, but it looked like White was always well ahead.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (18th Place, 3 points):
This was a very nice fighting game between two very strong players. For long stretches I had no idea what was going on. First I thought White was controlling the board, then I thought Black was doing ok and then again I thought White has this in the bag. In the end White came out on top and the simplification via the d3 square was perhaps the only truly aesthetic thing about this game, lifting it slightly from the bottom.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (20th Place, 1 point):
The game was uncertain for the longest time, with the possibility of it going either way. Throughout the game, Friedel ignored Black's burgeoning plans for the Queenside and endured with his own plan, which eventually concluded with a Pawn gain. The game was a bit lackluster compared to the others, but that is not to detract from a concerted victory by Friedel.

Total Score of Friedel vs Akobian: (12th Place, 46 Points)


Stay tuned for eleven more such articles as the field shrinks by one game almost every day to see which of the following games will be the 2010 Game of the Year!

Week 1: GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 1-0 Article

Week 2: GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs IM Florin Felecan (CHC) 0-1 Article

Week 3: IM Daniel Rensch (ARZ) vs WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (LA) 1-0 Article

Week 6: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Jesse Kraai (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 8: IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 0-1 Article

Week 10: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article

Championship: IM Sam Shankland (NE) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #1: NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs Alex Guo (SEA) 0-1 Article

Wildcard #2: GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Yury Shulman (STL) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #3: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs IM Sam Shankland (NE) 0-1 Article

Wildcard #4: GM Alex Stripunsky (MAN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 Article


12th Place (46 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

13th Place (42 Points): IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

14th Place (41 Points): IM Robert Hungaski (NE) vs IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

15th Place (40 Points): NM Ilya Krasik (BOS) vs NM Adithya Balasubramanian (BAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

16th Place (40 Points): Nicholas Rosenthal (MIA) vs NM Nick Thompson (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

17th Place (35 Points): GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

18th Place (31 Points): GM Dmitry Gurevich (CHC) vs IM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

19th Place (27 Points): FM Charles Galofre (MIA) vs FM Marcel Milat (SEA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

20th Place (23 Points): SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Sasha Kaplan (BAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


DDubov said...

From 3rd to 20th? That Rihel person might be correct, this sadly may be the most random selection yet. I realize there is such a thing as difference of opinion, but at their level there should be some concrete decision making in cohesiveness, if the majority of the predictions prior came for this game to be in the top tier from astute players, and then 6th Place and even 3rd from two judges, is it really fair for someone to throw out an 18 and 20? I'm not even defending the game, I'll even say if it fell truly at 20 why is there a third place finish?

Get new judges, seriously, this is highly unprofessional.

bruce tarr said...

Should it be broken down where each judge is responsible for a certain aspect of the game like in figure skating? I see your point and agree, I've never seen a gap like this in any other type of rating system, gives chess the appearance of having no real definitive beauty. My Larry Christiansen vs GM Jesse Kraai pick is still in the running so I'm happy, but knowing that some amateur games will certainly beat out both Akobians and Friedels matchups must be pretty insulting to them both. I did see a lot of blogs predict these as first and second place winners, to not make it into the top ten is puzzling.

Anonymous said...

Hess just ranked this game highly because he is friends with Friedel, while Melekhina ranked it low because she doesn't like him. Must be that. Or maybe they have been smoking of the crack. I don't know what's up with the other 3.

Alex Lenderman said...

Guys, come on, to make accusations of favoratism is completely silly, uncalled for, and offensive to the five judges who worked very hard to rank their games the best they can, and of course it's all subjective, people have different styles and preferances, and some games attract some people and not attract other people as much.

By the way to the anonymous who made this comment about favoratism, check out what ranking Hess gave Friedel's games, which ended up finishing in 20th place.

Yes, of course sometimes there could be mistakes or misjudges relatively some things, or understandimating and overestimating certain games, but that's why there are 5 judges, and all humans.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason why we have 5 judges in the first place is to prevent outliers from making a huge effect on the final ranking. e.g. one game might be fantastic, so ranked 1st/2nd by four judges, then one judge ranks it 20th.

But I think that the huge range of rankings just testifies to how competitive this contest will be.

Bionic Lime said...

Ever read movie reviews? Same film... critic A loves it, critic B hates it. I supposed you could throw out the high and low rankings and use the average of the middle three... that might be an interesting experiment to see if that woukd make the rankings different... check my blog later and I might do this.

bruce tarr said...

"But I think that the huge range of rankings just testifies to how competitive this contest will be"

"Yes, of course sometimes there could be mistakes or misjudges relatively some things, or understandimating and overestimating certain games, but that's why there are 5 judges, and all humans."

See I almost lean the other way in disagreement, I could see some judges naming a game 4th or 5th while the others named it 2nd and 3rd being competitive and adding intrigue, but from third place to almost dead last screams for error. I just think to a lot of outsiders and even other strong pros this screams incompetency, I think bias is also wrong to bring up, but I understand how someone upset might jump to that conclusion. I'd be willing to take the two or three judges that seemed to vote similar as next years judges, even if they disagreed with my lineup completely and I preferred the other judges. I'm just looking at it for Chess as a whole, I think an outcome of 20 to 3 in such a short selection of games just makes everything look completely wild and having no order.

"offensive to the five judges who worked very hard to rank their games the best they can"

This has little to do with the judges at all, I think some seem to be more qualified like any other judging profession, but I believe they worked hard as well, I'm just trying to throw out ideas for the future because if people see a discrepancy of a bronze medal in some eyes to almost a last place finish in others, it makes Chess look clownish. If fan support is for this completely random style of judging than so be it, just not my preference.

Anonymous said...

Hess ranked it highly because his playing style is all about fighting, and this game was a very tough struggle.

Alisa ranked it lowly because she highly values a glamorous/exciting bloodthirsty victory (see previous Alisa comments).

Anonymous said...

Hess ranked this high because he strongly values a fighting struggle and that's what his playing style is all about

Alisa ranked this low because she values a glamorous/brilliant/exciting/blood-thirsty struggle

motor mullen said...

ill say it since others wont, melekhina and Johannesson much like tonight really dropped the ball

DDubov said...

No I agree, rating this in 20th place is a bit much.

Anonymous said...

Except for 13th and 17th place games, Gustaffson has pretty much been on target.

Alex Lenderman said...

For some reason, noone besides me was upset about last year Becerra-Kacheishvili been ranked 3rd by Hess, and 9th and 10th by Kaidanov and Yermolinsky respectively, but was knocked out was down by Ron Young's 18th and Tatev's 20th, which was purely due to the fact that it was a blitz game. There also there was a big disparacy, just liek with this game, which in my opinion was even more unfair, but now everyone seems to go off for some reason, which I simply can't understand.

Anonymous said...

Feliz ano parranda de pendejos, espero en este nuevo ano dejen de jugar como huevones,o si no pailas, por el culo les van a dar..buena energia marikoncitos

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Could someone translate the spanish, all I could understand is" happy new year". I feel like since this is an english webpage all spanish comments should be followed by a translation. Happy new years folks

rihel said...

Sorry, Alex, I didn't like that last year, either. I am curious to see what Bionic Lime gets when he uses the median score, or throws out the highest and lowest to see how different the result is.

Maybe not as different as we would think?

When there is a single judge who is way off, that is one thing. When TWO judges are way off, well, maybe those two judges are right and the others are wrong.

The whole thing is subjective.

The annoying scenario will be when one game has a bunch of 1st-2nd place votes and one 15th place vote, while another game gets a bunch of 5th-6th place votes and wins. That will be annoying.

El Chupacabra said...

Me extranaron? Bueno ps he vuelto para decirle al senor vigorito que se lo van a culiar este ano si sigue haciendo esas jugadas tan culas, espero disfrute mamandolo :) realmente me gustari q parara con eso, deberia ser la meta para este ano senor v.

Anonymous said...

ok I thought these results were going to be released daily.

Arun Sharma said...

Sorry everyone my internet at home has been down for a couple days, and I've been really busy with running my tournament so haven't had a chance to update in the past couple days. Rest assured I will begin again soon full force once things calm down in the next day or two!

Anonymous said...

No offense to Panda but I am tired of looking at the same damn face. Arun, u need to get your priorities straight we really don't give a s..t about your internet,or your tournament. Either get your act togeather or resign from your lofty position effective immidietly. This blog has been slowly dying due to inactivity in an already inactive part of the season, its time for the people involved to display some proffesionalism and stick the promises they made to eliminate one game a day.

Alex Katz said...

Sometimes I wonder what idiots follow this league. Judging by the comments, this league is dying before it's even begun. If Arun has computer problems, is it really so hard to wait a few days? There are 5 judges each with a different opinion, each with different types of games that will appeal to them, and different skill levels. It is not rare or at all wrong for a game to recieve a 1st place pick and a 20th place pick. One judge may find a long positional struggle beautiful, while the next finds it insanely boring. This is highly unprofessional why? The only thing that is "unprofessional" is the absolutely disgusting comments on every blog post made, even something as simple as a 12th place results announcement. And as for being "sick of the same damn face", again, sometimes I wonder about this league...

Anonymous said...

Start bringing out 2 per day to make up for your internet company's failure.

Anonymous said...

If the League Workers do not start behaving more professionally, then I would like my money back.

Alex Katz said...

It's not like this league makes money in any way... come on.

Anonymous said...

Arun, I hope you'll be able to free up some time from your busy life as a Berkeley professor!

DDubov said...

Alex, I never post anonymously or try to go at anyone personally. I just think there should be a more cohesive structure for the judges to judge by to get a more structured voting result. If we went by your statement that its okay for one judge to vote a game 20th and then 1st why are we having a Game of the Year event? It can't be strictly personal taste, there has to be some sort of fine tuning in the selection. I think some broad guidelines need to be stated next year, or you could argue you just like rook movement and use that as a valid reason to put a game in first place. It would be unprofessional of me to keep quiet and not voice my opinion when I think the league could develop into a better product. I realize you are replying more towards the anonymous crowd, but I think a lot of people voicing their opinions have been really professional about it and are just making conversation towards a better year next year.

Eddie Chang said...

You know, I wouldn't be opposed to a more structured format for GotW/GotY. Maybe do what they do on TV with the cooking shows, rate them along different categories, with a number for each, and then award based upon those numbers, instead of just a ranking. It would create more complexity and a more open, more fair competition.

Alex Katz said...

@DDubov: My comments were more directed at those who were making destructive criticism, probably with the only intent of bashing on the league, which angers me. I have nothing against those (like you) who express their opinions as constructive criticism.

That being said, no system is truly perfect. "Getting new judges" wouldn't really change things too much. If all the judges voted essentially the same, why would we even need 5 judges? It also needs to be said that each of these 20 games are very good ones and variance is to be expected, especially when the strength of the judges are so different.

If anyone thinks they have a better way to rank the games, I'd like to hear it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have a better way: get rid of all of these overseas bums for whom this contest is a complete joke and time waster and let the fans who truly follow uscl vote.

Alex Katz said...

Firstly that system would not work at all, as you would have fake votes, multiple votes, and people that know nothing about the league voting. Secondly, why must you post Anonymously?