Sunday, December 19, 2010

Greg Shahade's GOTY Picks

Hello all, please note that these are not my predictions on what the actual rankings will be, but my own personal rankings that I made with about 5-10 minutes of thought :)

I sincerely doubt that Rosen vs Guo wins the contest, and would honestly be surprised if it finishes in the top five. The lack of name recognition is probably going to kill them with one or two judges. Also the quality was probably a bit lower than some of the games with stronger players (as White's defense would probably have been much more tenacious from a GM), but I just found this ...Rd5 move especially creative and shocking coming from Board Four, and the final combination that came from time trouble was nice as well. Of course I expect GMs to try that stuff sometimes but definitely not 2100s. However the difference between my first and fifth place choices is very small.

Also, you'll notice that at least one of my rankings has changed based on my picks from earlier in the year. These things happen after seeing some feedback about games.

Honestly this year I think the contest is tighter than ever. I have absolutely no clue which games have the best chances. Last year I correctly predicted the first and second place finisher, this year I will be shocked if I could predict them correctly. I think there are probably six to seven games with a real legitimate chance to win, and probably thirteen or so that can feasibly finish in the top five. It should be an exciting contest!

20th Place: Nicholas Rosenthal (MIA) vs NM Nick Thompson (ARZ) 1-0 Article

19th Place: IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article

18th Place: FM Charles Galofre (MIA) vs FM Marcel Milat (SEA) 1-0 Article

17th Place: IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 0-1 Article

16th Place: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Sasha Kaplan (BAL) 1-0 Article

15th Place: GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs IM Florin Felecan (CHC) 0-1 Article

14th Place: NM Ilya Krasik (BOS) vs NM Adithya Balasubramanian (BAL) 1-0 Article

13th Place: IM Sam Shankland (NE) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article

12th Place: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Jesse Kraai (SF) 1-0 Article

11th Place: GM Alex Stripunsky (MAN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 Article

10th Place: IM Daniel Rensch (ARZ) vs WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (LA) 1-0 Article

9th Place: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs IM Sam Shankland (NE) 0-1 Article

8th Place:
GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 1-0 Article

7th Place: IM Robert Hungaski (NE) vs IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) 1-0 Article

6th Place: GM Dmitry Gurevich (CHC) vs IM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1-0 Article

5th Place: GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) 1-0 Article

4th Place: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article

3rd Place: GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Yury Shulman (STL) 1-0 Article

2nd Place: GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

1st Place: NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs Alex Guo (SEA) 0-1 Article


Anonymous said...

I want Julius G's rankings!

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Julius G is the only reputable source left in the league imho.

Anonymous said...

JuliusG is gran marika imho and his rankings are as reputable as he is.

Anonymous said...

Interesting picking Seattle wins for the top three slots. It's not like Greg has ever shown the Sluggers much love before.

Michael said...

Greg, thanks for posting these - as a fan living overseas I appreciate the opportunity to follow things from a distance. Keep it up!

Julius G said...

My Pick For Game of the Year

GM Alex Stripunsky vs GM Sergey Erenburg 0-1

This was by far the most enthralling game. Now I know some people questioned the quality of the opening. Well, the main idea of Caro Cann is to solve the problem of developing the light squared bishop (In French, Black usually suffers throughout the game having a weak Bishop that would be beaten up in any public school). So, the idea behind 4.h3 is clear: to prevent black's Bg4. Next, after 4...d4 5.Ne2 c5, White transferred his knight to an active position on f4 and after 6...Nc6, White was consistent with his opening strategy and played 7.e5 to prevent black's e7-e5 with the following Be6. In addition, White has created a potential threat of the e5-e6 strike. Hence the move of 7...e6.

Now, 8.Bd3 looks awkward like when my Uncle and I were mildly drunk and stumbled under a mistletoe, but this is the only way to complete the development without losing the e5 pawn, and yes I gave him one mwah, but that was it. For example, if White plays 8.g3, then 8...Qc7 9.Qe2 g6, and after 10.Bg2 Bg7, White is one tempo short to protect the e5 pawn. In fact, there are many opening variations similar to this, where white's light-squared bishop is developed to d3. For instance, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.e5 d4 5.Bd3. Similar to the position from the game, isn't it?

Then we have 8.Bd3 Qc7 9.Qe2 g6 10.0-0. This is the critical position of the opening. If White manages to stabilize the situation, he'll be better, since he has a space advantage like the Q Continuum, and black's pieces have the rickets. Furthermore, it is not clear where the Black monarch will feel safe. In case of the short castle, white's attack with h2-h4-h5 seems very dangerous, taking into account that all white's pieces are directed at black's king-side. In the event of long castle, the white bishop will be transferred to e4 from where it will assist the movement of the queen-side pawns.

It's in my notion, 10...Bh6 is a very strong move, that for white's position, creates some disharmony (like the time I bought a violin at the pawn shop...); After 11.g3 Nge7, The Game of the Year winner created a new threat, namely 12...Bxf4 13.gxf4 Nd5, and if 14.Qe4, then 14...f5 breaks up white's position. So, he forced him to play 12.Ng2. Once again, White needs just couple of tempos to complete the development, after which his prospects will be great like being in line to an arranged marriage with Mallika Sherawat. So, he had to play pcp aggressively: 12...Nb4.

The tactics behind 32...f6 were far from obvious and to win that endgame required finesse and technique. An odd critique I've heard is unfamiliarity, well how about some originality? You judges have a serious case of Akobian fever, and I'm offering the cure. Here is your Game of the Year. This has nothing to do with the fear of the Lil' Kingfisher.

Julius G said...

Nobody knows when the Lil' Kingfisher first made its way to Baltimore, but every night around dusk, the city is filled with the Lil' Kingfishers cheerful song. Folks from miles around come just to peek at the adorable Kingfisher, and the whole retail industry has sprung up around Baltimore's most famous citizen. One can buy stuffed toy Kingfishers, Kingfisher pencil tops, and, of course, “The Lil' Kingfisher ate my baby” bumper stickers. Does the Lil' Kingfisher really eat babies? According to the local folklore, on moonless nights the Lil' Kingfisher will soar into young mothers homes, and eat her baby whole. And while this is a frightening story, it is, of course, only a story. The truth is far, far worse. Since the Kingfishers migration to the area, an unfathomable number of babies have simply disappeared, their bodies never recovered. In the three months since the Kingfisher first appeared in the Baltimore area, over seven hundred babies disappeared, nearly three hundred from St Agnes Hospital. Most families have left, the folks who stayed are older, or infertile, and most are turning a tidy profit selling their official “Lil Kingfisher Marshmallow Babies,” “Baby-Q Sauce,” and the very popular “Disappearing Kids.” The whole town smells like death…

If you plan on visiting the Baltimore Kingfisher I suggest the following, leave the kids at home. If you’ve got young ones, better to err on the side of safety. Leave them with a sitter in a neighboring township, or if you must bring them, keep them hidden under the car seat in a rubber suit. The Lil' Kingfisher cannot smell through rubber. Have caution. Remember, the Kingfisher is a wild animal. Don’t let its diminutive nickname and fuzzy appearance fool you. This thing is natures perfect killing machine. Stay at least three hundred yards away, and out of sight. If it sees you, it will kill you. One in six who see the Kingfisher don’t live to tell about it, and of the remaining five, four generally suffer some serious injury or loss of limb. Don’t get out of your car, don’t take its picture, and don’t look it in the eyes. It hates that, and if you do it, it will kill you. Screaming doesn’t help. Screaming just excites the Kingfisher’s “blood lust”. High-pitched sounds of any kind will drive it to a killing frenzy. Low-pitched sounds will activate its sexual cycle, which drives it to a killing frenzy. Medium-range sounds are safest, although even then there’s a fifty percent chance it will go into a killing frenzy. Don’t make a sound, and don’t move. It’s motion-sensitive, and if it sees you move, it will most likely kill you. Don’t bother shooting it, either. Bullets just bounce off its thick hide and drive it to a killing frenzy. If you plan on visiting the Lil' Kingfisher I suggest the following, change your mind.