Friday, January 21, 2011

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 2010 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.


2nd Place: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0

The interesting 13. e4!? turned the normally tame opening into a tactical slug-fest, the exact kind SM Sammour-Hasbun thrives in, and he didn't disappoint here, bringing home the full point against a strong GM via very attractive play.

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):
A truly remarkable effort by Jorge. Even in the most peaceful of positions, Jorge can be dynamic and exciting. An exchange Slav turned into a tactical slugfest? REALLY?! Well somehow Jorge made it happen. 13. e4 was a nice shot, although 13. Nh4 also gave White a pleasant advantage. It seems that no real mistake was made by either side until move twenty five, when h4?! wasn't so good. 25. Bd6 looked much better than h4, as Black's response f4 creates complications seeming to end in a draw (25... f4 26. Bh2 Nc5!? 27. Rxc5 Bxc5 28. Qxg5+ Kh8 29. Qe5+ looks like a perpetual – all you engine users, please correct me if I made a mistake!). Anyways, mistakes made in time trouble are admissible. This game was my runaway top choice. Congrats to Jorge!!

FM Ingvar Johannesson (3rd Place, 18 points):
I am a big fan of Sammour-Hasbun's games. The guy can play, and he plays entertaining chess! It was especially nice how he uncorked the super tactical sequence starting with 13. e4! I watched this game live and every move impressed me, powerful forcing moves, doing everything for the initiative. Surprisingly this had been played before in an obscure game so not clear whether Sammou-Hasbun knew about this or found this over the board. Nevertheless 20. Nxb5 is a novelty according to my database and a stronger move according to my engine than the previously played 20. Qa3 in the stem game. From there on out Sammour-Hasbun held tight to the initiative, and Kacheishvili never got a chance to untangle and finally had to resign after some further nice tactical sequences near the end. A game I really enjoyed both watching live and analyzing again for the GOTY.

GM Jan Gustafsson (5th Place, 16 points):
A line of the exchange Slav that is considered fairly harmless. Last time I checked, 12... Be7 was the move, and White has nothing. 12… Qc8 is asking for trouble, and Sammour-Hasbun doesn't disappoint. His double pawn sac followed by the Knight sac 20. Nxb5 to exploit his lead in development makes quite an impression and also seem to be correct. What's up with Kacheishvili, and why do all of his losses get nominated for GOTY? Must be some behind the scenes beef I'm not aware of.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (7th Place, 14 points):
Leave it up to Sammour-Hasbun to make an opening supposedly as tedious as the Exchange Slav exciting. Using the inspired temporary double pawn sacrifice to creatively access the open c-file, Sammour-Hasbun was able to gain decisive control over the light squares that allowed him to unleash an unwavering series of threats on the back rank that once again left Kacheishvili in trouble and in a hopeless position.

FM Ron Young (7th Place, 14 points):
As has been observed, this game shows that White can play the exchange line against the Slav and still switch to aggression, which makes it an attractive option for those subject to drastic mood changes. The 13. e4 break was quite instructive; in fact it has already helped me to solve one of Elizabeth Vicary's kids' games quizzes. The position after move thirty one was Soltis's quiz in his December 12 New York Post column, so it can't have been too trivial. On the other hand, I solved it.

Total Score of Sammour-Hasbun vs Kacheishvili: (2nd Place, 82 Points)


Final 2010 Game of the Year Standings:

1st Place (82 Points): GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Yury Shulman (STL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

2nd Place (82 Points): SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

3rd Place (79 Points): GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

4th Place (68 Points): NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs Alex Guo (SEA) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

5th Place (65 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs IM Sam Shankland (NE) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

6th Place (64 Points): IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

7th Place (60 Points): GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Jesse Kraai (SF) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

8th Place (59 Points): GM Alex Stripunsky (MAN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

9th Place (58 Points): IM Sam Shankland (NE) vs GM Julio Becerra (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

10th Place (55 Points): IM Daniel Rensch (ARZ) vs WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (LA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

11th Place (53 Points): GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs IM Florin Felecan (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, both games got 82 pts , why not declare them co-champions. Seems fair especially in such a subjective and whacky contest as this. Oups... I forgot in this country they don't like to have co-champions, everything must be decided, even if it takes armaggedon and top female players throwing rooks in disgust.