Saturday, January 15, 2011

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 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.


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

The somewhat counter intuitive 40... Kd4!, placing the King in front of the passed Pawns, sealed White's fate as the followup of Ne3+ trading Knights, ensured the triumph of Black's Pawn array.

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.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (3rd Place, 18 points):
The unwary opponent may find himself the prey of one of Shankland's dangerous opening lines, and indeed Kacheishvili was the next victim of not only excellent preparation, but an uncompromising finish. Shankland is to be commended for his courageous opening choice against a seasoned GM, and for his precision in utilizing the Pawn majority in the remainder of the game.

GM Robert Hess (5th Place, 16 points):
Sam is all over the top spots on my ranking list here. Well deserved, indeed, with two convincing wins over high class GMs. This one I liked a bit less, as I generally don't favor long variations that have been played so many times and do like this variation for Black. However, Sam showed deep knowledge of the opening, and his extensive preparation catapulted him to victory. Giorgi should have attempted to repeat moves 27. Rb5, but from there on Sam played flawlessly. Another impressive showing from the recent retiree.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (9th Place, 12 points):
Again not the most exciting game, no big attack, no big sacs. However a very well played game by Black. He seemed well prepared, and he conducted the endgame excellently. Probably White made a mistake exchanging Queens and giving Black such a great set of connected passed Pawns in the center.

FM Ron Young (10th Place, 11 points):
The Pawn swarm overwhelming the piece reminds me of those National Geographic videos of a pack of hyenas taking down a lion. But I always feel bad when that happens. I expected a battle over whose terms the Queens would be exchanged on, but White didn't seem up for that.

GM Jan Gustafsson (13th Place, 8 points):
Heavy theory Slav. The resulting positions with a piece for three Pawns have always been considered slightly better for White, but deep down inside I've always been scared of this very game scenario, the three pawns just running up the board. Good game by Shankland, but Commissioner Shahade advised me not to give props to games that feature Queen exchanges and no heavy sacrifices, sorry!

Total Score of Kacheishvili vs Shankland: (5th Place, 65 Points)


Stay tuned for four more such articles as the field shrinks by one game every couple of days to see which of the following games will be the 2010 Game of the Year!

Week 1: GM Yury Shulman (STL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 1-0 Article

Week 10: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #1: NM Eric Rosen (CHC) vs Alex Guo (SEA) 0-1 Article

Wildcard #2: GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Yury Shulman (STL) 1-0 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


bruce tarr said...

all my picks are done, I had christiansen winning, hungaski second, and this third, gustaffson was way off the mark and if his last sentence wasnt intended as humor im sure mr. dubov and others will flip their sh*t considering others have voted on how they like with all the comments pushing that style of voting

I think people were sick of seeing christiansen games, I think sammour-hasbun will be next for the same reason, and following boston/new england in its entire season I think shankland was the most mistreated player of the year

I heard from three sources that for cronyism and league image Guo is placing first

Anonymous said...

You'd think that once greg got all of his bad gotw picks done with, hed let real judges pick goty, but nooooo

Sam Shankland said...

Thanks to all the judges for taking the time to judge my games, and thanks for collectively deciding it's worth a hundred bucks. To be honest, I didn't expect my game to get this far, but many of the games that I thought were better were eliminated awhile ago... guess that shows what I know. And hey Mr. Gustaffson, what happened to no outside influence!? :)

DDubov said...

I actually wouldn't mind Guo, I think they are going to play it safe and pick Shulman vs Khachiyan, they figure top rated players equals competency. I'm glad a few agree and have thought up ways to change this system. I can show the hypocrisy in the voting structure for nearly every comparable two games. Take the Christiansen vs Kraai and this game, Christiansen was given a first place vote and they suffered severely for a short arsenal attack, it was the take down of the year and I could see it placing very high. Shanklands win is being heralded by the judges for its excellency and preparation, but get's doctored points for lack of excitement and sacrifices. A beautifully sound and long variation will not get you the win, a heavy sacrificing and exciting game will not get you the win. There is absolutely no credibility to first place, it has no meaning. I love how the majority of people just don't get it yet. "In other words, a judge will just change his vote to be more in line with his colleagues for every game." He or she should! If you are giving a game a 20 and everyone else is giving it a top 5, you are the idiot in the mix. This is a sport, it should be voted in categories with a healthy rating system so it's not the most absurd award in the history of any competition. Even Miss America has more coherent rules and regulations. If the President is already swaying votes on how he wants, just take the real step and convert categories and make this a fair and respectable contest. I question peoples lack of contribution and respect for the game, I'm looking at the sport and players in mind, Larry Christiansen, one of the greats in this league from the beginning to now got a 5th and 1st place finish for his game, and then he received a 16th place which cost him a spot in the top 5. Even if he missed out on a few hundred dollars, which could increase as the league does, he missed out on respect. Would you really watch a cage fight and see someone beat up the other guy three rounds and then lose because judges like a spirited defense of being able to take face punches and not pass out? There has to be some justification and regulation. I've held back conspiracies, but after that sentence, humor or not, I don't know what to think of this anymore.

Daniel said...

this is just such a beautiful game... i'm deeply sadden to see it finish 5th. I thought it would win.

Anonymous said...

Remember Greg "went out on a limb" and picked Guo game as the winner. Now, this raisrs obvious questions such as did Greg already have some inf back them how some judges may vote. If Guo wins, it will be ne a huge blow to USCL's image as well as stain on the entire judging process.

Joseph said...

Greg needs to stay out of making any picks or voicing his opinions out loud, there are other people for that. His job is to run things quietly in the background and to keep his mouth shut. Instead, for whatever reason maybe its arrogance(hubris) in trying to showcase what a great thing "I" created" that makes him constantly slip and make himself the subject matter of controversies and drawing away attention from the players and the games themselves.

Anonymous said...

Greg just wanted to see a player of his own strength win goty

Anonymous said...

Well then he should have nominated the Williams-Jones game or maybe even Hua-Theil

Anonymous said...

If Shankland is so "mistreated", why did a game with no energetic play that had probably already been played before get any money? I wonder how good that guy would be if he didn't have entire games memorized so that he never has to actually think.

Anonymous said...

This was such a great game, it's very saddening to see that 3 weakest judges (Johanneson, Young, Shahade) all gave it mediocre rankings because they did not understand how brilliant it was. I think Melekhina's ranking of this game was the most appropriate.

Jan Gustafsson said...

For the record, I was joking about Greg Shahade advising me to do anything, thought that was obvious. Meh, language barrier, blabla.

I liked this game like I said, but I felt it was a bit too "normal" of an illustration of what can go wrong if White isnt careful in this line.

Alex Katz said...

Now this is just pathetic. If you people can't understand THAT was sarcasm...

Secondly, the judges do not collectively decide who wins. They give their 20 picks in order and then the numbers are summed.

Thirdly, I don't see what was so amazing about this game. No offense to Shankland, and it was a nice effort, but I see no reason why it should have made it even this far, I expected it to end up more around 9th-10th.

Fourthly, no one has yet proposed an alternate system that has any value (besides fans voting, which is clearly ridiculous. Besides the huge amount of bias, I can't imagine there being a large amount of votes, and more than half would probably be people who barely follow the league and probably dont even know the games).

Anonymous said...

lol Greg's an IM...

Anonymous said...

so the best games remaining of the us chess league season are played in the first week...and the last week...

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Katz, nixe win by Sammy but not worthy of top 5, frankly don't get why tgis game created so much noise. Made it was done artificially. Gustafson knows more chess than most fools combined on this thread, just think about that.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty obvious Sam was kidding, he was actually quite self-depricating.

Anonymous said...

Greg can only be an IM if it stands for Impotent Muffinhead

Anonymous said...

how is Kacheishvili high-class GM if he rated only 2585 FIDE?
sure he is a strong player in general but not "strong" among other grandmasters such as Nakamura, Kamsky, and other members of 2700+.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is getting bent out of shape for no reason at all. from what I remember in the earlier years the picks werent wildly different only this year. the problem this time stems from having a clearly unqualified, no prize for guessing which one, judge. so if arun would stop hiring bozos wouldnt that solve the whole problem?

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure Greg hires.