Saturday, January 8, 2011

Game of the Year -- 9th Place

This is the twelfth 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.


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

The strong 16. d5! brought about a favorable, but very tough ending for White which IM Shankland eventually converted with impressive technique, helping New England win the USCL Championship Match.

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 (4th Place, 17 points):
The first time I looked this game over, I kind of scrolled through it and thought that Becerra played pretty miserably. After looking it over a second time, I recognized that Sam just kind of played really well. I hardly ever approve of the silly doubled f-pawns, and thought 15... b5 was a huge lemon, but Sam really deserves a round of applause for this victory. Julio has been by far the most dominant player in USCL history while Sam led his expansion team to the greatest season ever. And the IM from California showed his swag by never backing down. Sam's technical ability was on full display, and boy was it impressive.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (6th Place, 15 points):
Another example of Shankland's ability to not only maintain, but develop a slight opening advantage into a win. Cleanly executing the simple plan of creating a passed pawn with the Queenside majority, Shankland rendered Becerra’s doubled f-pawns inefficient bystanders to the action occurring on the Queenside. Along with the calm and technical handling of a stubborn opposite-colored Bishops ending, this should serve as a reminder that retired or not, Shankland always takes his games seriously.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (11th Place, 10 points):
White got a very comfortable opening edge against Becerra's somewhat unusual opening play. Shankland handled the game technically well it seemed, and I especially liked the opposite colored Bishop ending. It looks like it's just a win for White at least as much as I have analyzed it, and Shankland didn't make any mistakes in the ending and brought the victory home to cap off a great season.

GM Jan Gustafsson (11th Place, 10 points):
Offbeat opening, shouldn't be terrible for Black, but it does look worse. I like the energetic 16. d5, after the reply bxc4? (cxd5 looks better) Black faces a joyless defense for the rest of the game. I'm not sure the Bishop ending could have been drawn, its not straightforward at the very least. Another good Shankland game, but it lacks fireworks, which is not a flaw, but makes it tough to win this prestigious competition.

FM Ron Young (15th Place, 6 points):
In his "My 60 Memorable Games" intro to Fischer-Keres, Zurich 1959, the late Larry Evans wrote "while perhaps unglamorous, there is meat here, and potatoes too". I think that describes this game pretty well. But since chess has failed to make us glamorous, we must try to make chess glamorous.

Total Score of Shankland vs Becerra: (9th Place, 58 Points)


Stay tuned for eight 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

Wildcard #4: GM Alex Stripunsky (MAN) vs GM Sergey Erenburg (BAL) 0-1 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


Daniel Parmet said...

Thats okay, my pick for GOTY is the other Shankland game anyways :)

bruce tarr said...

I had it 7th or 8th, I think the 4th might have been giving it a little leeway, the 15th was just being mean.

DDubov said...

That would be an excellent game for GOTY Daniel.

Anonymous said...

Guo game will win in your facw all you titled scumbags!! You just watch

rihel said...

Becerra missed a drawing line in this endgame.

Alex Katz said...

I felt that while Shankland made a great effort in this game, Becerra was drawing the endgame and simply collapsed.

Anonymous said...

whats the line?

BBoobov said...

I'm still annoyed that nobody appreciated the true game of the year, williams-jones