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


Anonymous said...

julius g whats your take on jeffs pick?

Julius G said...

How can this guy be the Defender of Justice when Pandas are still on the endangered species list? How can anyone from Michigan be qualified to judge anything, whats even left there, its predominantly a breakfast cereal industry. As you also know, the success and sales of these cereals depend on the endorsements of a small group of popular cereal mascots, be they elf, bear, tiger, amphibian, what have you. Over the years, this has created a strange sort of tension in the town. These animated creatures are very aware of the towns economic dependence on them. Consequently, many of these mascots consider themselves above the law. When a bunch of coked-up, cereal-hawking elves stagger into a diner demanding steaks on the house and a booth by the window, the townspeople really can’t refuse. If the elves leave town, the industry goes with them. I once stopped in one night at a local tavern for socializing and diet pop. Around last call, one of these “start-your-day-right-wings” crashed in through the front door on a snowmobile drinking burgundy straight from a six-gallon box and popping alkyl nitrites. (These thugs, by the way, also have the most powerful lawyers in the country at their disposal. Needless to say, I won’t be mentioning any names, but this one was an older mustached fellow with a high rank.) His snowmobile had a flame job, chopper style handlebars, and a vanity plate that said “Go **** Yourself.” Clinging behind him was a very, very young Swedish girl with a glazed stare and bad skin. I was told she used to plug hot chocolate before life in the fast lane made her looks “unmarketable.” The seafarer staggered to the bar and demanded four bottles of British Gin. When he was told he’d missed last call, he flipped. Destroyed the jukebox, urinated on the bar, and started beating up his Swiss companion. That’s when I stepped in, just to try to calm him down. He stabbed me four times in the neck with an apple corer I think he pulled out of his anus. The raging “crunchy in milk” magnate wouldn’t let me call an ambulance, so I crawled myself towards the nearest hospital. As I dragged away, he was drinking his Boodles and yelling that if he ever saw me in Michigan again he would fit me for a custom baking soda submarine that would never resurface. Point taken…

With that said, I think he made a good choice. However, with all the praise of Nicholas Rosenthal (he does deserve it mind you) and Alex Guo, I think we have been overlooking WFM Bayaraa Zorigt, who coincidentally beat them both this year, as well as Jim Voellker. Her win with black over Alex Guo should be considered, and by that I mean make it a choice.