Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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 2010 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.
3rd Place: GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 1-0
The strong 24. Rc5! by GM Shulman gave GM Khachiyan the unpleasant choice of permitting a White Knight on c5 or bringing his Queen away from the defense of c7, and soon White's initiative proved decisive.
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 Ingvar Johannesson (2nd Place, 19 points): Originally I ranked this game four or five places lower. However this game grows on you, and I appreciate White's play here more and more with each viewing. Shulman just pounds on the initiative and what an unenviable job Khachiyan had of defending this! After sacking the Pawns in the opening, Black isn't given a moments rest, and then we see some all-star moves in 21. b4 and 23. Rc5! Then the absolute end is nicely calculated as White accurately exploits the clumsy positioning of the Black Rooks to win one of them!
GM Jan Gustafsson (2nd Place, 19 points): Very nice effort by Mr. Shulman! I lack expertise to comment much on the opening. Via some weird move-order the players get a topical Catalan line, where White gets long-lasting compensation for a sacrificed Pawn. Not that sure Shulman was better all the way, 17... Bb5 instead of the weakening 17... b5? comes to mind when Black should be alright. The way it went, the punishment is ruthless and very pretty, the star moves being 21. b4 and 23. Rc5! To calculate all this stuff to the end, especially that Black can't avoid losing one of his Rooks to the bare Queen in the end, is quite impressive. Hats off!
FM Ron Young (2nd Place, 19 points): I am dating myself, but I remember when Bobby Fischer was regarded simply as a Howard the Duck-like "trapped in a world he never made" character, and was still the subject of nostalgic, affectionate reminiscences on the rare occasions when chess was on television. A well-known chess fund raising and administering guy of the time said that Fischer's moves were so good that simply to watch them brought tears to his eyes, and I was extremely skeptical because if this guy understood chess so well as to realize what moves were cry-worthy, he would have cried himself dry before the move was even played on the board; in fact would be crying all the time, contemplating what accurate moves there were out there to be played, and though he might still, in his constant state of flowing tears, have been able to raise money, the way someone with a nice sob story is able to raise enough on the subway to feed himself, he probably could not raise the kind of money from the people with the thick wallets that would enable his organization to send teams and players and their captains and their seconds to foreign countries for weeks at a time and still leave enough to pay his own salary. But if making a move like 26. Bb3 in Fischer-Spassky Game 10 Reykjavik seem to have the same effect on the chess fan that some lovers of music report upon listening to Barber's "Adagio for Strings" or that certain art aficionados claim on viewing Bernini's "Ecstasy of Saint Theresa" makes it possible to support America's best chess players, then who am I to sneer? That said, 21. b4 was not bad and 23. Rc5 was ok.
WIM Alisa Melekhina (8th Place, 13 points): This high-caliber game between two eminent GMs was an unequivocal demonstration of Shulman's strength. After enticing 10... Nxd4, Shulman prevented any opportunity Black had to castle until Black's defensive resources finally collapsed. Black was bound to be punished with his displaced centralized King and dislocated Rooks, and sure enough the clever combination with 28. Rxe7+ entailing an inevitable win of one of the Rooks fittingly did just that.
GM Robert Hess (12th Place, 9 points): I feel a bit better now that I have a Shulman victory on my list. For a minute there I thought Yury was becoming the poster boy for Game of the Year losses, which would be awfully unfortunate considering was a great player he is. Anyways, Yury punished Melik for being greedy this game. Not surprising considering how well Yury knows his openings, but still a nice victory over a very strong GM in Khachiyan. Melik was fighting valiantly, and looking back it seems that he should have played Rd8 at some point to protect his d7 bishop. But OK, hard to fend off so many threats, can't really blame Melik for faltering. Yury played a very smooth game and deserved the win.
Total Score of Shulman vs Khachiyan: (3rd Place, 79 Points)
Stay tuned for the final articles in the next couple of days to see which of the following two games will be the 2010 Game of the Year!
Week 10: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article
Wildcard #2: GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Yury Shulman (STL) 1-0 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