Thursday, January 13, 2011

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 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.


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

With the clever 29... Nh3!, GM Christiansen forced the return of his sacrificed material and also destroyed IM Schroer's Pawn structure, eventually capitalizing on the latter to win a tricky 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.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (5th Place, 16 points):
A week later finds Schroer on the receiving end of a series of ruthless tactics. It seemed as if he had neutralized Christiansen's spatial advantage with a sequence of Knight maneuvers to establish outposts, but Christiansen's ominous positional sacrifice with 17... f5 was a preview of the startling sacrifices instigated by 25... b3 and 26... Nxf2. 29... Nh3 with the callous threat of smothered mate must be the most vicious tactic I have recently seen in high-level chess; 30. Rd2 could not have been a happy reply to make. However, Schroer did not make Christiansen's job that easy, and made a tremendous effort to put up resistance that made the game suspenseful even after looking over it the first time.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (6th Place, 15 points):
Man, you gotta love Larry C! This guy sure knows how to attack. He plays a Benoni which seems fairly fitting for an attacking player and begins by sacking a Pawn. He even develops tactically with 17... Nd7 (18. Nxd6 Bxb2 I presume). Then he gets to sac a piece on f2 and follows up with the nice looking 29... Nh3 move. From here, Schroer defends remarkably tenaciously and the only thing spoiling this game was how long it took to get the 0-1 on the scoresheet. My feeling was the win should have been a lot quicker and would have given it a higher ranking if so.

GM Jan Gustafsson (8th Place, 13 points):
And another typical Christiansen game. Unbalanced structure, I don't quite like it for Black, looks positionally suspect, blabla. But given the chance with 25. Bd3?, he strikes with the sequence starting with b3!, 29... Nh3 being the star move. The rest of the game is an uphill struggle all the way.

GM Robert Hess (9th Place, 12 points):
LarryC is afraid of no person or position. With 17... f5, he bravely opened the position, albeit giving Schroer a Pawn and an edge. Schroer couldn't decide where to keep his light-squared Bishop, subsequently making three straight moves with the piece. Many more sacrifices ensued, and LarryC obviously felt more comfortable. Schroer had chances to retain a nice edge, but kept faltering due to innumerable threats. Schroer should have put a Rook on e1 instead of d1, thus keeping e3 under control. After the exchange sacrifice and the beautiful 29... Nh3, the game should have been over quickly, but credit must be given to Schroer for fighting so valiantly. All in all, a tense tactical battle where LarryC out dueled his counterpart.

FM Ron Young (13th Place, 8 points):
When this game won Game of the Week, Christiansen asked that he be judged tougher in the future, so I will try to do that. I do, though, feel he was too hard on himself in saying he should have been arrested for impersonating a GM in the ending. In fact, that is the last thing I'd have accused him of doing there. Still, it was a nice middlegame. It's not Larry's fault Schroer didn't fall for the smothered mate.

Total Score of Schroer vs Christiansen: (6th Place, 64 Points)


Stay tuned for five 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

Wildcard #3: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs IM Sam Shankland (NE) 0-1 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


Anonymous said...

WTG judges, build larry up and then shoot him down, you guys are @$$holes

Rihel said...

You know, having been puzzled over the diversity of the ratings and the odd placement of games in the 5-15 range, the actual Top five game list is remarkably consistent with what I and others thought were top game contenders. The only one I miss in the Top 5 is the Hungaski-Schroer games.

Alex Lenderman said...

4 of my top 5 are remaining, the only replacement I would have, wtih all the respect to the Alex Guo game, I'd prefer Rensch-Abrahamyan in there. I do think Alex Guo game should be in top 10 for sure.

Anonymous said...

didn't Schroer have a draw in this game? Instead of 78.Bf7, what about 78.Kd3? I don't see how Black could make progress.

DDubov said...

I apologize for being the villain throughout these games, I agree some of the proper games are still left where they should be, and to the judge that responded to my comment earlier I apologize if you took offense, I wasn't singling you out, I do think one judge on the panel wasn't really taking time to judge with a chaos theory of selections, but that's neither here nor there. I just don't understand why we have a selection for Game of the Year if games can be 20th or 1st or even like 6th to 18th. Even if the judges all favor it being higher and get the overall game to place like 11th, it's not an accomplishment to the player who won, its saying your game could be top 5 or 20th, you don't know. There has got to be guidelines instituted to get the scores more in a grouping. I'm not being outlandish, you don't see this scoring style anywhere else, from figure skating to cage fighting, it's shocking and debatable when a judge marks a point or two differently than the others, yet nobody thinks its a bit amateurish to see a game placed in the 20s with some other judge thinking its deserving to win Game of the Year? One judge thought Josh Friedels game deserved a Bronze Medal out of all the candidates, another 6th place which is almost making the top five tier. Then 18th and 20th? And I've heard it a million times "each judge has their own opinions" I agree! That's the problem, every judge has their own opinion with no structure or policing to what they do, I don't even blame any judge if they didn't even look at the games, whats the point. Almost every blog I've read had that Hungaski-Schroer game Rihel mentioned as top 5, yet we get Christiansen-Schroer 6th which wasn't even his better game. Even if by chance the winning game has 1-2-3 votes by all judges, and the Game of the Year gets voted correctly for the top spot, I still think its unfair to everyone involved in these games to have no real validation of their work except "well this certain judge just doesn't like when you move your knight too much, sorry."

Frank Johnson said...

It's an interesting question to consider how one might subjectively judge a game of chess. You could put all the moves in Rybka or Stockfish and say, "Well, this player played an average of -.05 what Rybka would play so he/she played pretty well!

But I don't think that has much to do with the actual entertainment value of the game. In fact, it might be downright counter-productive with the most boring games receiving "extra credit" for less complexity.

So, I think we're left with human judges... I suppose you could add more judges and throw out the top and bottom, or top two and bottom two with even more judges, but nothing's going to be perfect. The reality is that we all value different things in games of chess. I dare say if you asked Topalov to comment opposite Kramnik you would get very different opinions. So keep a variety of judges, keep a variety of levels, and I'll keep enjoying GOTY :-)

Rihel said...

One way to improve the rankings would be for the judges to issue a preliminary score to all the other judges. Then each judge could re-evaluate their own rankings based on what the other judges say about the game.

In other words, if the judges acted more like a panel than as individuals, a better agreement could be reached.

Anonymous said...

Yes in the endgame he had a couple of draws. The endgame wasn't played well, which is why this game wasn't in top 5.

DDubov said...

That is a very good idea Rihel, and as simple as it might sound, it could do wonders. If everyone voted a game within the top five, and someone voted it dead last to hinder it from having any chance of winning GOTY they could maybe consider giving it another look, and if they really feel they were right they can do as is, but if they overlooked something they could bring it up dramatically to help it finish where it was intended to be.

"The reality is that we all value different things in games of chess."

I agree with your statement but I disagree on that being the approach to voting GOTY with honor and money involved, because as said a million times, whats the point, you could start voting on who's mustache you enjoyed during the game, it makes it all feel empty and pointless.

Anonymous said...

Actually its a very DUMB idea. All it does is stymies creativity and encourahes copy catting. I'm sure you all have seen those shows where the 5th judge sees that the previous 4 have given a certain contestent a 6/6 and they just do the same as to not stand out from the crowd. In other words, a judge will just change his vote to be more in line with his colleagues for every game and that isn't the idea of having 5 distinct individuals judging something subjectively and independently from one another.