Friday, September 2, 2011

Week 1 Game of the Week

This year Game of the Week will be decided upon by IM Greg Shahade and NM Arun Sharma together. First place each week will receive a $200 bonus prize ($150 going to the winner of the game, $50 to the loser), second place $75, and third place $50 (both second and third going entirely to the winner).


1st Place: IM Conrad Holt (DAL) vs FM Joel Banawa (LA) 1-0

The already very interesting game was thrown for another loop with FM Banawa uncorking the strong 23... Nxd5!

This was a rather tough game to judge. It was clearly very exciting and both players displayed some nice creativity, but the inherent nature of such games, particularly in the USCL, is for them to come with their share of mistakes also. And while this encounter certainly did have some blunders, we still decided that it was the best choice for first. Again, it was certainly a very exciting game for the fans as the game seemed to be hang in the balance for many consecutive moves, with essentially every position being a very tough one to find the right move. Given that, it's hardly surprising that there were a few mistakes mixed in, but on the whole both players did quite a good job of navigating the mess which, in our opinion, made this the best choice for Game of the Week.


2nd Place: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Robert Hungaski (NE) 1-0

SM Sammour-Hasbun found the nice shot, 26. Rxd7!, and used the tremendous pressure garnered by this exchange sacrifice to hand both IM Hungaski and New England their first ever USCL defeats.

While this game might not have been the most exciting out there, SM Sammour-Hasbun really played a very nice game throughout, in particular his strong exchange sacrifice. While Black probably could have put up much stronger resistance afterward, being in such a tough position and facing so many threats, it's not at all surprising that White managed to come out on top not soon after.


3rd Place: FM Michael Casella (LA) vs FM Tautvydas Vedrickas (DAL) 1-0

FM Casella struck with 21. Rxe8!, using his opening pressure and a2-g8 diagonal threats to win material.

Another game that was very well played by the victor, sacrificing a Pawn for a nice long term initiative which he used to great effect. Adding to that the nice tactic displayed above along with the mating attack used to finish the game, it was a nice effort by FM Casella. While also somewhat exciting, like the previous game, what prevented this game from gaining serious consideration for first place was that it just seemed a bit too easy as the defending side didn't put up quite enough resistance.


NJKOs said...

Still no love for beautiful board four wins, like Matlin-Jones? How unfortunate.

Ilya said...

Matlin-Jones was brutally decisive if u are NJ but the knock on it( no pun intended) is that Black's play was just too cooperative and resistance-free. Looks like. NJ had Matlin well prepared for Jonesy and he caught one on the chin.