Monday, December 13, 2010
Wildcard Game #4
Wildcard #4: GM Alex Stripunsky (MAN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1
Jeff Ashton: For those who do not know, I did not vote for this game originally. Using my Wildcard pick for this may appear inconsistent and ironic to some. It may appear to be a sign of "admitting I was wrong". All I can say is that it is definitely awkward for me!
I still think very fondly of the other games that I voted for, and I do not regret voting for them. But I also feel that the level of skill displayed by Erenburg should have been more appreciated by me, even if I wasn't incredibly entertained.
After the game was played (and after voting was complete) I saw game analysis from players that I admire, including the winner of the game; Erenburg. After I learned more about this game from different perspectives and reexamining it several times, I can say I appreciate it more than I originally did. I can even say that it is a lot more "interesting" than I originally thought it to be.
I try very hard to volunteer my time into making good, fair picks every week. Ranking anything fairly is tough, especially when you are encouraged to be subjective. Every single judge has grown accustomed to experiencing harsh criticism. The fact that this harsh criticism is the only feedback we get makes me admire my colleagues more.
I do not know why others do this job, but my biggest motivation for taking the job and "getting it right" is so I don't deprive a great player of receiving admiration for a well played game. I also do this because I believe that these extra "USCL contests" make the League more exciting, and this is just great for chess. And who wants a low-quality Game of the Week contest?
I know that mistakes inevitably happen. I'm not sure if I made an error, a major blunder, or if I just made solid picks based on what I liked that happened to be in the minority among a small group of five judges.
It's also possible that if there wasn't a strong player and fan reaction after this game finished second place, then I wouldn't be thinking about the game at the moment. But if someone interviewed me right now and asked:
"If you made a mistake this season, what was it?"
This is the only game that comes to mind.
To me this is an "obvious" candidate for GOTY Wildcard, and I am surprised that no one suggested it already. It would definitely be less awkward for me, and I wouldn't feel the need to spend all this time rambling! But I guess in a way, this might be the greatest form of justice at this point.
With the interest of moving forward and concluding this season on a good note, I choose this game for my Wildcard pick. I won't be surprised if it finishes very high in the GOTY rankings.
Until next season,
Jeffrey "Defender of Justice" Ashton