Saturday, January 30, 2010

Game of the Year -- 1st Place



This is the final part in a series of articles which has counted down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 USCL Game of the Year. For more information on exactly how this process worked and the prize information, please refer to: Game of the Year Contest.


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1st Place: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0






















GM Kacheishvili continued his already strong play with the exchange sacrifice 19. Rxd4!, after which GM Friedel's open King soon forced him to return the sacrificed material with interest leading to an endgame that White skillfully converted.




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 Gregory Kaidanov (1st Place, 20 points):
Really liked this game, very interesting opening line, nice tactics, and good technique. Great game!



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (1st Place, 20 points):
Truly a great game. It seems like Black is making all the right moves yet still ends up in a miserable position. I like everything about this game: the sacrifice in the opening, the complications in the middle game, and the transition into an endgame that was played very well by White. White sacrifices a piece in the opening but does not rush into anything and plays quietly, developing his pieces, and improving his position. It was another opening that I know nothing about, but I love the idea that White didn't choose a safer line and made things exciting from the very beginning. Overall, compared to the rest of the games this really stands out to me as both an exciting and an instructional game played by two strong players.



FM Ron Young (2nd Place, 19 points):
Rather than explain why I ranked this game second, I should probably explain why I didn’t rank it first. By a quality-of-play standard, it's hard to beat a game where the loser plays all computer approved moves after the opening. Comparing it to his Board Three teammate's game in that same match, it seemed that Kacheishvili did his homework while Herman relied on bullshitting his way through, which was always my preferred approach back in school. But however and wherever this game was won, it is a nice piece of work, and so I offer thanks. Not for me. For them.



GM Robert Hess (5th Place, 16 points):
I must give Giorgi a great round of applause for this stellar victory. This game was not marred by any errors on his behalf as he dominated the game from start to finish. However, in judging this game, I may have considered it too easy. Sacrificing the light squared Bishop for two Pawns was not too difficult a decision to make; in fact, it seemed like Giorgi may have seen this position before (perhaps in preparation). Josh fought hard, but his position was not good. Giorgi easily converted a victory in this one.



GM Alex Yermolinsky (8th Place, 13 points):
For some reason Josh walked into a dangerous line. White's Bishop sacrifice is only temporary, as 12. e5 wins back a piece with a Pawn dividend. Facing a tough situation Josh decided to provoke an obvious exchange sac, hoping against hope that tactics would work out in his favor. Giorgi easily proved him wrong with another spectacular shot, 25. Bc5! The resulting two Pawns up ending was a piece of cake for the experienced Giorgi.



Total Score of Kacheishvili vs Friedel: (1st Place, 88 Points)


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Final 2009 Game of the Year Standings:


1st Place (88 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


2nd Place (87 Points): NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


3rd Place (71 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


4th Place (67 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article


5th Place (65 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


6th Place (59 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article




Game of the Year -- 2nd Place



This is the final part in a series of articles which has counted down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 USCL Game of the Year. For more information on exactly how this process worked and the prize information, please refer to: Game of the Year Contest.


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2nd Place: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0






















A wild Sicilian tactical slugfest began with 19. Bd5, as NM Herman made many creative sacrifice offers on his way to an amazing victory.




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 Alex Yermolinsky (1st Place, 20 points):
A wild tactical battle. Players left theoretical paths early (15. h5!? was a new move, possibly home prep by Herman). White committed himself to all-out attack after leaving his Bishop stranded. Black answered with the same attacking method by pushing his Pawns to the third rank. The battle was decided by White's superior communication lines, as he was able to move his Queen to an attacking position on the open h-file.



FM Ron Young (1st Place, 20 points):
First, let me weigh in on the sound (as in soundness) issue: it seems to me that for a game between humans (which is all I aspire to be), the game is easily sound enough. Even so, I'll admit some relief I admit that passions around here seem to die down once the season is over (they do, don't they?). But back to "sound": the combination of loud moves "....(18. h6, 19. Bd5) with quiet moves (20. Nc3, 26. f4) is reminiscent of Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony."



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (3rd Place, 18 points):
Actually, I am not even sure what to say about this game. I didn't bother to check the lines with Rybka; it would take something away from the game and completely mock the creativity of the players. I think both players deserve a lot of credit for playing this game. After move twenty one I gave up trying to understand the position. Saying that this game is exciting is an understatement. Completely insane. It can even motivate someone to study tactics!



GM Gregory Kaidanov (6th Place, 15 points):
Very interesting Pawn storm game, a3-b3 vs h6-g6 was very cute.



GM Robert Hess (7th Place, 14 points):
It seemed as if Naroditsky played frightened chess, which is fatal when entering dangerous Sicilian territory. It seemed to me that Black had many chances to come out on top, but I understand his fear. It is hit or miss in most Sicilians; here is a classic miss. Herman played exciting chess, but I feel that if Naroditsky just took a piece at some point, Herman would not have had sufficient counter play.



Total Score of Herman vs Naroditsky: (2nd Place, 87 Points)


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1st Place (88 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


2nd Place (87 Points): NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


3rd Place (71 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


4th Place (67 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article


5th Place (65 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


6th Place (59 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Game of the Year -- 3rd Place



This is the eighteenth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 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.


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3rd Place: SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0






















SM Esserman strongly continued with 13. Rxc6! Qxc6 14. Nxe5 Qc5 15. Nxf7!!, forcing a short but very elegant win.




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.



FM Ron Young (3rd Place, 18 points):
A nice old-fashioned display of violence, based on a true story. The quiet 23. Ra1 that finishes things is a touch of subtlety that places the game above the run of gore fests.



GM Alex Yermolinsky (4th Place, 17 points):
An attractive opening kill by Marc. Black chose a risky line in the Ruy Lopez and fell significantly behind in development. The situation was aggravated when he allowed the White Rook to infiltrate on the a-file (10... b4 looked better). Soon the flurry of tactical shots from Esserman ended the game in style.



GM Gregory Kaidanov (5th Place, 16 points):
A great game, very energetic and forceful play from White.



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (10th Place, 11 points):
I won't be surprised if I see this position published in tactics books. Another game that doesn't follow the main lines of theory, so either it's nice prep or just an attempt to be creative. Either way, a fun game to watch.



GM Robert Hess (12th Place, 9 points):
Now this is a sweet game. Both players seemed new to this position, as each spent quite a bit of time in the opening (thank you ICC). Granted Simpson made a rather poor opening choice as White attained a simple advantage (but in fairness, White gains an advantage in most opening lines), but it still was a very smooth victory. The exchange sacrifice was not a surprise, but was forcing and led to a short victory.



Total Score of Esserman vs Simpson: (3rd Place, 71 Points)


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Stay tuned for the final article in the next couple of days to see which of these two games will be the 2009 Game of the Year!


Week 5: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #4: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article



Eliminated:


3rd Place (71 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


4th Place (67 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article


5th Place (65 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


6th Place (59 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Game of the Year -- 4th Place



This is the seventeenth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 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.


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4th Place: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2






















The already interesting game had another twist when GM Charbonneau continued with 13. Nxd4?!, sacrificing his Queen for two pieces, leading to a very unbalanced position.




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 Alex Yermolinsky (3rd Place, 18 points):
A very topical line of the popular gambit line in the Four Knights Opening saw a novelty on move ten, but the real shock came three moves later when Pascal calmly offered his Queen for two pieces. Soon White reached a dominating position sending the opponent's Queen on the run. When it looked a sure victory for White (and the top honors in this contest as well), Dean refused to cooperate. Black’s tenacious defense saved the day as the White King became open for perpetual check.



GM Robert Hess (6th Place, 15 points):
Well these two clearly went for the others' throats in their matches this year. This game was incredibly exciting, and I actually disagree with the initial comments on this game stating that Black would just have a huge edge after 14... Bxc2 instead of 14… Bg4. Sure, Black may have been a bit better, but it still would have been a fight. This game upsets me though for a similar reason; clinching moves were missed. Strictly judging based on the opening, this game may have been an automatic winner in my book; However, with Pascal missing many game-ending moves, I'd have to say this game fizzled out into a bit of a disappointment.



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (8th Place, 13 points):
A crazy game which surprisingly ended in a draw. I actually was watching it live, but unfortunately I don't recall any of the deep and valuable ICC kibitzes to help me with my commentary. Obviously an imperfect game with many mistakes, but thrilling and shocking. The kind of game that is rarely seen in a team tournament, let alone between two strong players in the Semifinals. Taking all that into consideration and the fact that it is the only draw on the list, makes it a truly fascinating game.



GM Gregory Kaidanov (8th Place, 13 points):
Very imaginative play by White, too bad he wasn't able to win.



FM Ron Young (13th Place, 8 points):
With unbalanced material and the weird positions that result, mistakes are bound to happen. I nonetheless regret White's missing the win not from a primitive blood lust, but because checkmate represents man conquering his environment, while perpetual check shows a man being frustrated by it, reminding us of our insignificance in the great scheme of things.



Total Score of Charbonneau vs Ippolito: (4th Place, 67 Points)


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Stay tuned for two more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every day to see which of the following games will be the 2009 Game of the Year!


Week 5: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #4: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article



Eliminated:


4th Place (67 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article


5th Place (65 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


6th Place (59 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article




Monday, January 25, 2010

Game of the Year -- 5th Place



This is the sixteenth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 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.


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5th Place: IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0






















IM Bartholomew continued relentlessly with 30. d5!, after which the immense pressure on e6 soon compelled GM Becerra to sacrifice the exchange, and White converted smoothly.




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 (1st Place, 20 points):
I finally found my winner. This game began with a standard position, with White overtaking the semi-opened f-file. No real mistakes were obvious here. White had a slight advantage and even "sacrificed" a Pawn after trading his light squared Bishop for the Knight. 30. d5! was a nice shot. Unless I'm missing something here, 30... Qxd5 31. Nf4 Qd1 32. Nxe6+ Kg8 33. hxg6 Qh5+ is OK for Black.

Overall, a fantastic game. Clear winner in my book.



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (5th Place, 16 points):
Very smooth play by White. Taking over the center, leaving Black with a bad Bishop that never makes progress, creating weaknesses around opponent's King, and doubling the Rooks to attack the King – basically how we all learned to play chess correctly. Except it is nice to see the basics being applied against a strong GM. White stayed dedicated to his attack the whole game. The kind of game everyone wishes that could play more often. Especially against strong GMs.



FM Ron Young (7th Place, 14 points):
It seems to me bizarre for Black to seek the exchange of dark-squared Bishops in a Grunfeld. On the other hand, Becerra felt it was okay, as did Morozevich before him. So with three GMs on the judging panel, I will try to give the perspective of Joe Chessbag. Joe is not too bothered that the machines indicate Black could have won by rushing the a-pawn up the board, as White's Kingside attack looked dangerous, and it seemed that Black's Queenside passed pawns would always be there. He is more disappointed that White missed the elegant forced mate at move thirty five. On the other hand, he admires the witty 30. d5 and understands (or at least has heard) that a master who sees a clear win often just goes without worrying that there might be something faster available.



GM Alex Yermolinsky (13th Place, 8 points):
Yermolinsky only provides commentary for his top ten games.



GM Gregory Kaidanov (14th Place, 7 points):
Interesting but somewhat standard plan.



Total Score of Bartholomew vs Becerra: (5th Place, 65 Points)


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Stay tuned for three more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every day to see which of the following games will be the 2009 Game of the Year!


Week 5: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

Semifinals: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article

Wildcard #4: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article



Eliminated:


5th Place (65 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


6th Place (59 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article




Saturday, January 23, 2010

Game of the Year -- 6th Place



This is the fifteenth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 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.


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6th Place: GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0






















The deflecting 35. f5!, freeing up White's h-pawn, together with the sidelined Black Knight, were enough to allow GM Ramirez to cleverly squeeze the full point out of this 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 Alex Yermolinsky (2nd Place, 19 points):
An innocent looking Exchange Ruy Lopez transposed into a complex ending with four Rooks on the board. Joel's 20... f5?! was a logical attempt to fight for space, but backfired after Alejandro blasted the center open with the timely 24. c4. White consistently fought on to get the position open (19. g4! was particularly good). The key moment came on move thirty three. The Rook exchange followed up by a thematic Pawn sac led to a classic case of Bishop vs Knight domination.



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (6th Place, 15 points):
Quiet and simple, but pretty. Exactly the kind of game between GMs that is hard to understand. It doesn't seem like a boring position with nothing going on until White finds a nice breakthrough with 35. f5!. Nice game with no big mistakes, the kind that an average player hopes to play more of.



GM Gregory Kaidanov (11th Place, 10 points):
Nice technical effort.



GM Robert Hess (13th Place, 8 points):
Nicely done by Alejandro. He played a solid game, risk free for the most part. He took advantage by having the nicely placed dark squared Bishop on b6. He displayed excellent technique before finally finishing Benjamin off with the nice 35. f5! Solid, but unspectacular.



FM Ron Young (14th Place, 7 points):
A nice ending, but it didn’t challenge the conventional wisdom or force me to reexamine my beliefs.



Total Score of Ramirez vs Benjamin: (6th Place, 59 Points)


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Stay tuned for four more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every day to see which of the following games will be the 2009 Game of the Year!


Week 5: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 8: IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article

Semifinals: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article

Wildcard #4: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article



Eliminated:


6th Place (59 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article




Friday, January 22, 2010

Game of the Year -- 7th Place



This is the fourteenth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2009 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.


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7th Place: IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1






















FM Zaikov further extended his material advantage with 28... Bf3!, soon forcing his opponent's resignation.




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 Gregory Kaidanov (4th Place, 17 points):
Very impressive exchange of tactical blows though Black's win was never in doubt.



FM Ron Young (4th Place, 17 points):
In explaining his placing of this game behind several others played that week, one of the weekly judges opined that Black had to come up with only three difficult moves in the "game" phase of the game; the part between the opening and the technical portion. My only disagreement is with the "only". In this age of theory and technique, very often the first original move one is called on to make turns out to be the critical error. For me, to see a game with three good moves is like walking through the Gardens of Versailles.



GM Robert Hess (11th Place, 10 points):
I agree with Michael Aigner's comment when deciding Week 7 GOTW. The game did not have any real shocking moves. However, I must also agree with Jim Dean when he asserts that these two players most likely did not know theory from a game played in 1987. 18… Kc8 was a nice move to sidestep the assault. But really, not many moves were surprising. Great fight from both sides, but quite one-sided after the sacrifice.



GM Alex Yermolinsky (11th Place, 10 points):
Yermolinsky only provides commentary for his top ten games.



WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (17th Place, 4 points):
I am no expert, but these sacrifices don't seem to work if Black plays precisely. White's attack never really took off, and with a few accurate moves Black ended up with an extra piece and soon enough was able to launch his own attack. 28... Bf3 was a nice finish followed by 29... Ra7!, but at that point it really didn't matter anymore.



Total Score of Fernandez vs Zaikov: (7th Place, 58 Points)


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Stay tuned for five more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every day to see which of the following games will be the 2009 Game of the Year!


Week 5: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 6: GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1-0 Article

Week 8: IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article

Semifinals: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article

Wildcard #4: NM Matt Herman (NY) vs FM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Ron Simpson (CAR) 1-0 Article



Eliminated:


7th Place (58 Points): IM Daniel Fernandez (DAL) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


8th Place (57 Points): IM Dean Ippolito (NJ) vs GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


9th Place (56 Points): IM John Bartholomew (DAL) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


10th Place (55 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


11th Place (52 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


12th Place (48 Points): GM Boris Gulko (NJ) vs FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article


14th Place (43 Points): GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


15th Place (39 Points): FM Victor Shen (NJ) vs IM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


16th Place (36 Points): IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Jaan Ehlvest (TEN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


17th Place (35 Points): GM Gregory Serper (SEA) vs IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


18th Place (35 Points): FM Andrei Zaremba (QNS) vs SM Marc Esserman (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


19th Place (30 Points): SM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs FM Tom Bartell (PHI) 1-0 Article Elimination Article


20th Place (24 Points): GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs IM Marko Zivanic (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article