Monday, January 10, 2011

Game of the Year -- 8th Place

This is the thirteenth 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.


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

The interesting shot 32... f6! cleared the way for GM Erenburg to double on the h-file which eventually 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 Ron Young (1st Place, 20 points):
This game had most of it. It's been fairly well discussed already. I thought of saying nothing, as sort of a poetic suggestion that mere words could not do justice to the game, but that feels like overboard. Anyway, 32... f6 was cute.

GM Jan Gustafsson (7th Place, 14 points):
Erenburg is pretty good at chess. I like his 3… a6 move, played it myself in order to avoid the slightly dull 3... Bg4. He wins the strategic battle afterward and gets huge pressure on the long diagonal, and I'm also digging the f6 Rch7 maneuver. Should have been followed up by 34... Rh1+ 35. Kf2 Rh3+ winning the Queen though - in the game he had to work quite a bit more to bring the point home. I still like the game somehow.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (8th Place, 13 points):
A great strategical game by Black. I very often end up with this kind of position with Black against some "system" play by White. Stripunsky seems to like these slightly offbeat blocking systems against the French and Caro-Kann. This time I think he was slightly strategically worse in the middlegame because of the strong Bishop down the diagonal, the good Knight on f5 and more dynamic possibilities for Black. These possibilities were demonstrated by the sudden swift of attacking force from the Queenside over to the Kingside with the nice attacking idea of 32... f6 clearing the seventh rank for the Rooks to double and also leaving the Knight on f5 was a nice touch. I agree with earlier comments that perhaps Black could have won sooner, but still there is not much to criticize. Perhaps 34... Rh1+ followed by R1h3 was a possibility when White has to give up the Queen getting probably way too little in terms of compensation.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (13th Place, 8 points):
Erenburg once again prevails with his favorite Caro-Kann. Stripunsky allowed Black to control the h1-a8 diagonal, and despite the Knight on e4 holding for a bit, the domination of the White squares eventually proved decisive. Soon White was placed into a bind with impressive play from Erenburg, but the game should not have dragged on as long as it did, with Black having several chances to be +5, and even +7 with 41... Bxe4.

GM Robert Hess (17th Place, 4 points):
The result is fantastic, but the game is not. Both players are very strong GMs, there is no questioning that. However, I recall a bunch of comments and controversy surrounding "it's hard to figure out where White went wrong, and this game deserves Game of the Week". After looking this one over, I have trouble figuring out where White went right. Stripunsky is known to play some offbeat lines, but this one was just bad. The Bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal was worth at least a Rook, and the silly Knight on g2 was useless.

Total Score of Stripunsky vs Erenburg: (8th Place, 59 Points)


Stay tuned for seven more such articles as the field shrinks by one game almost every day 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 6: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs GM Jesse Kraai (SF) 1-0 Article

Week 8: IM Jonathan Schroer (CAR) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 0-1 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


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...

We are approaching the bubble! Hopefully both the Christiansen games get eliminated.

Daniel Parmet said...

4 of my favorite 6 games still in it including the 4 I guessed would take down spot 1-4!

DDubov said...

So far I'm enjoying Ron Youngs outlook the most, I think he really took his judging honor seriously.

bruce tarr said...

Christiansen-Kraai is still in the running, I hope its the winner.

Zibbit said...

Dear Mr Dubov,

I think everybody took this seriously. I most certainly did and spent several hours over many days looking over these games.

It's very hard to judge chess and I felt this year that the games were very similar and not a clear best game (or bunch of games) like when I judged in 2008. People will always judge differently, some like positional stuff, others like flashy tactics etc. But trust me I gave it my best....still having said that after seeing other opinions I would still change some games 3-4 places in the rankings if allowed to do this again. I went back and forth with many games.

Julius G said...

Well, I am more than a little frustrated to see my pick for Game of the Year snubbed by the likes of Alisa Melekhina and Robert Hess. They clearly do not understand how difficult this game was for Sergey Erenburg. It is a little known truth that he had recently drunk a full liter of Bacardi 151, and the alcohol content was so strong that it temporarily caused his eyes to stop working. No matter how strong the player might be, anyone who is so drunk that they cannot even remember how the pieces move and unable to see the screen in which they are placed will usually make some comically bad moves. Erenburg's diligence in letting his feelings, rather than lost eyesight, guide his fingers to the mouse and consistently find strong moves across 76 moves does not demonstrate chance, but fate. Perhaps each of the judges should consume a liter of Bacardi and see how they fare against GM Stripunsky.

I sincerely apologize to all of the fans who were deeply bruised by my prolonged absence. How's this for an explanation: I was sitting in my hut in the South Saharan Desert writing up my next response when a mosquito carrying the malaria disease decided to give me a hickie. I experienced a horrible fever, and on the rare occasion that someone chanced upon my hut, they would laugh at my request to find help and bring me medicine, instead finding it more productive to make a loot out of all my personal belongings. After weeks of waiting for death to come, one fine gentleman found the kindness in his heart to bring me to a hospital. The doctor did not speak any English, but he seemed to know what he was doing so I did not interrupt, merely nodding in agreement as he rambled on and on in a language that I did not even know existed. his first attempt to euthanize me did not work as planned, the only part of me that died was my natural sense of fear and pain. As soon as I was conscious again I ran out of there as fast as I could and cut open my own neck and forcefully pulled the disease out. I realized it was not safe for me anymore, so I traveled west and eventually swam down to Cape Town, where I am currently being treated for a number of physical and mental illnesses. I have used my precious 15 minutes of computer time to bring the USCL fans this news, and I apologize that I may not be replying anymore if my luck runs out.

Julius G said...

That comment was not from myself, as I now obviously post with my blog link. Still it was an amusing read.