Thursday, January 12, 2012

Game of the Year -- 11th Place

This is the tenth part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2011 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


11th Place: GM Mesgen Amanov (CHC) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1

With 35... Na4, GM Kacheisvili eventually managed to grind out a win in the famous B+N endgame, clinching the Championship for the Knights.

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 Ingvar Johannesson (5th Place, 16 points):
A great win for Kacheishvili. With this being the decisive game of the Championship I am probably ranking it higher than I normally would have. It was a typical fighting game between strong players. Kacheishvili seemed to have a small initiative in the endgame with his better placed and active pieces. Amanov just made some small mistakes, and Kacheishvili cooly cashed in on his passed Pawn and then we need to give him a cookie for mating flawlessly with a Bishop and Knight as there is always a famous story of someone blowing that although it should be really straightforward for any serious player.

FM Victor Shen (5th Place, 16 points):
I wouldn't have ranked this game in the top five had it not been for its competitive importance. Kacheisvhili, who proved to be a great leader for his team all season, won with Black in the Championship Match to secure the victory. It was also very well played by Kacheishvili as he just outplayed his opponent throughout. Unfortunately, it seemed to me as if White played too passively in the opening and early middlegame, making it not the big fight that fans probably hoped for. However, well played by Black, and nice endgame technique to wrap up the match and the Championship.

FM Ron Young (12th Place, 9 points):
White's play may have been unambitious, but the ending he reached seemed just about tenable. Having two pieces get trapped in that particular phase of the game is pretty unusual. I haven't ranked it yet as I write this, but wherever it ends up, it probably got a couple of places worth of consideration for the clutchness.

GM Alex Lenderman (16th Place, 5 points):
Obviously a very clutch game as it was a deciding clincher in the League Championship Match helping New York to a 2.5-1.5 win over Chicago. This game however, if you ask Giorgi, is probably one of his least favorites amongst his many wins in USCL, some of which were left out of this contest. Problem was that there weren't very many exciting tactics in this one, and the bigger problem is that the game was not very high quality; possibly a nervous game from both sides as there was a lot on the line here.

White played a rather passive opening, and Black got very comfortable. 20... e5!? seemed a bit more accurate than 20... Nb6 which brought the Knight to a vulnerable square. After 20... e5!? Black probably has a slight edge but nothing more. The very next move, after 21. Bf4, 21... Rc2 is a mistake, leave his pieces vulnerable. 21... Rc4 followed by Ra4 had to be played. On 23. Bf1 there would follow 23... Nc4, and Black is solid and fine. After 21... Rc2?! Amanov returned the favor with 22. Rbc1?!. Instead 22. Bf1! gives White a solid edge, and the best Black can hope for in any line would be an endgame where Black would be suffering for a draw!

After a couple of more inaccuracies by White, Black got a very strong endgame without any risk. But on move 29, Black again erred with 29... f5?! which allows White to liquidate some of his weaknesses and untangle his pieces. Instead simply 29... f6 or Na4!? followed by pushing on the majority on the Queenside would be very strong. White had a couple of chances to equalize, like instead of 33. Nf1, bg2-f1. But his last chance was 37. Ne7+ Kf7 38. Bd5 and somehow try to get counterplay. After 37. a3?! Nc5 38. Nb6?! (all pieces away from the passed d-pawn), 38... Bf7 Black is simply winning and then the technique was good enough though probably not perfect, but nice execution of Knight+Bishop vs King, something that some GMs aren't even able to do. But besides the clutch factor, nothing seems intruiging to me in this game as I have seen many much better games by both of them!

FM Alisa Melekhina (20th Place, 1 point):
The action in this game only began after move 34 when Black managed to promote his pawn. Even though a Knight and Bishop checkmate is unusual to come across in tournament chess, especially among GMs, regurgitating endgame theory for 26 moves is insufficient to surpass the other nominees.

Total Score of M Amanov vs Kacheishvili: (11th Place, 47 Points)


Stay tuned for nine more such articles as the field shrinks by one game almost every day to see which of the following games will be the 2011 Game of the Year!

Week 2: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Lev Milman (MAN) 1-0 Article

Week 3: GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 0-1 Article

Week 5: GM Cristian Chirila (DAL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 0-1 Article

Week 7: WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (LA) vs FM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) 1-0 Article

Week 10: GM Yury Shulman (CHC) vs IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) 1-0 Article

Quarterfinals: GM Yury Shulman (CHC) vs GM Cristian Chirila (DAL) 1-0 Article

Semifinals: IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA) vs GM Josh Friedel (CHC) 0-1 Article

Wildcard #1: GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #5: SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Robert Hungaski (NE) 1-0 Article

Wildcard #6: IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA) vs FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) 1-0 Article


11th Place (47 Points): GM Mesgen Amanov (CHC) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

12th Place (46 Points): IM Marc Esserman (BOS) vs GM John Fedorowicz (NY) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

13th Place (45 Points): GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs FM Joaquin Banawa (STL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

14th Place (44 Points): GM Sam Shankland (NE) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

15th Place (43 Points): GM Jesse Kraai (SF) vs GM Julio Sadorra (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

16th Place (43 Points): GM Julio Sadorra (DAL) vs IM Gabriel Battaglini (CAR) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

17th Place (42 Points): GM Mesgen Amanov (CHC) vs IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

18th Place (32 Points): GM Hikaru Nakamura (STL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

19th Place (30 Points): Christopher Wu (NJ) vs NM James Black (MAN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

20th Place (27 Points): IM Conrad Holt (DAL) vs FM Joel Banawa (LA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

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