Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Game of the Year -- 3rd Place

This is the eighteenth 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


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

Despite having a very precarious King position for much of the game, with 32... Rd1+!, SM Sammour-Hasbun finished off the wild game with a nice counter mating attack

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 Alisa Melekhina (1st Place, 20 points):
Typically known for his uncompromising attacking play, it is unusual to find Sammour-Hungaski on the defensive side. However, after facing what must have been an unwelcome novelty from Kacheishvili on move eleven in an opening that already requires precision, Sammour-Hasbun defended accurately and in a very composed manner. After the dust settled he launched his own attack after coordinating his pieces and then finished off his seasoned opponent with the usual firework-type display we’re used to seeing from him. This was a high-level struggle that was one of the few memorable games from this year’s batch.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (3rd Place, 18 points):
The players contested the sharp Marshall Gambit in the Slav (sharp and Sammour-Hasbun go so well together that personally I would chicken out of sharp stuff!). I have no clue what was going on, and I am sure the players weren't completely sure as well! It seems that after 24. Qxh8 Black takes over a little ... instead 24. Qf4+ seems evenish, and some lines seem to lead to perpetual. After taking over, Sammour-Hasbun made his pieces work together beautifully (making like six to seven perfect moves in a row), and the finish was a textbook pretty tactical finish.

FM Victor Shen (6th Place, 15 points):
After a theoretical debate, a complicated position arose, where it seemed as if there was dynamic equality. On move 24, Kacheishvili took the hanging Rook on h8 (who wouldn't!?), but it turned out to be a big mistake after the nice manuever 24... Qe3+ 25... Qg5. With the Queen on g5, the Knight on g8 is indirectly protected (Bh3 ideas), and White astonishingly has no way to progress with his attack and is simply losing! He had to play 24. Qf4+ instead of Qxh8 which could lead to a repetition after 24... Kh5 25. Qe5+, or, if Black interposted after 24. Qf4+ Kh5 25. Qe5+ g5, then Qxh8, as there is now a Black Pawn on g5, stopping Sammour-Hasbun's Queen manuever! Overall, a complicated game with only one real mistake, and a nice Queen sacrifice at the end to cap it off.

FM Ron Young (7th Place, 14 points):
I never understood comments such as "a pity that either player had to lose" because really, what is the fun of winning if not that you made somebody else lose? Still, grant both players credit for the entertaining-ness of this game, wherein White threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Black King. If he used paper plates and plastic cutlery, perhaps he could have spared the sink, but there is the price for environmental consciousness.

GM Alex Lenderman (15th Place, 6 points):
Exciting topical opening and exciting finish but this game didn't do it for me. White decided to go for the line with 10. Qd8+ which doesn't seem as popular or good.

For the strong way to play this line, see last year's GOTY Akobian vs Shulman, that game says it all. After 11. f3 Qc2 was good, but 11... Qg6 was also strong. 13... e4 was a mistake though, blocking the Queen's access to the Kingside. 13... exf4!? was stronger, and unclear, because Black does have some Pawns. Then, after 13... e4?!, 14. Rd1! Nc5 (14... h5!? actually might've been stronger can't blame anyone for not finding that!) 14. Bb4 b6, White erred with 16. Bxc5?! With 16. Ba3 White would gain an amazing initiative and might just be winning as Black is boxed up and Nh3 followed by 0-0 is coming.

Sammour-Hasbun in his annotations simply could not find a good defence, there might not be any, with the Queen stuck like that on c2, and e3 allowing Nf3. The only adequate defence the computer finds is actually 16... e3! 17. Nf3 Ne7!! 18. Qxh8 Bb7!, a double Rook sac to trap the Queen, and now the Queen from c2 has access to h7 and Black is still battling! But e3 is a very hard move to find, though again without the Queen in the game it's hopeless. Actually even in that line the computer finds a solution. 18... Bb7 19. Rd8 Qc1+ 20. Bd1 Nd3+ 21. Rxd3! Rxh8 22. 0-0, and even though Black is actually up material, the Queen is so bad on c1 that White is actually winning! Black will lose time with 22... e2 23. Bxe2 Qxf4 24. Bd6 Qh6 25. Ne5+, and then the Black King will be under fire also!

Anyway, after the game continuation 16. Bxc5?! the game was led to a forced perpetual check with simple logical only moves from both sides. My main problem with this game is not about the inaccuracies in the opening because the position was very complicated (even though there were a lot of mistakes). The problem here is that objectively the game should've finished in a draw. The thing is Kacheishvili had to risk losing to try to win because at that point his team was completely losing. True, Boston ended up winning the match only 2.5 - 1.5, but that was only because an accident happened for Boston on Board Four once the team has already clinched the match, and things happen like that happen sometimes once it gets meaningless as Boston was completely winning on Board Four at that time as well.

Total Score of Kacheishvili vs Sammour-Hasbun: (3rd Place, 73 Points)


Stay tuned for the final article in a couple of days to see which of these two 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 5: GM Cristian Chirila (DAL) vs GM Melikset Khachiyan (LA) 0-1 Article


3rd Place (73 Points): GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

4th Place (70 Points): SM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun (BOS) vs IM Robert Hungaski (NE) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

5th Place (66 Points): GM Yury Shulman (CHC) vs GM Cristian Chirila (DAL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

6th Place (62 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

7th Place (56 Points): IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA) vs GM Josh Friedel (CHC) 0-1 Article Elimination Article

8th Place (52 Points): WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (LA) vs FM Eric Rodriguez (MIA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

9th Place (51 Points): IM Zhanibek Amanov (LA) vs FM Slava Mikhailuk (SEA) 1-0 Article Elimination Article

10th Place (48 Points): GM Yury Shulman (CHC) vs IM Mackenzie Molner (ARZ) 1-0 Article Elimination 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


Anonymous said...

So this game gets a high ranking because some no-name FMs give it a really high vote while the Grandmaster gives it a low one? This is fair somehow?

The USCL will *never* become a premier organization if BS like this is allowed to continue.

Erabin said...

I agree with you somewhat anonymous. However the GM also has some potential for bias, being a student of Kacheishvili. While I know Lenderman and Kacheishvili both personally and doubt Lenderman altered his opinion based on his relationship with his coach. However, given the fact that these relatively strong FMS alll agreed it was one of the best games, it does make sense to point this out.....

Also Mr. Anonymous, who is truly no named, I wouldn't call Victor Shen, the many recently famed as the winner of the Liberty Bell Open a "no name FM".


VerityCawley said...

I have to agree with some of the complaints, it's very hard to judge these games. Everybody likes different things and looks for certain things, so you'd think it would balance out. But in a case like Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, it becomes trickier than ever because of the volume of his games. If someone likes his style of games you'll see something like whats unfolding right now, the top tier stuffed with all his games making it almost nauseating. Where as if the majority didn't like his style you might have seen his games all flee right away. A lot of my favorite games went really quickly, and I don't see how a Jorge Sammour-Hasbun marathon to #1 is interesting or fair.

Matt Phelps said...

Touché Anonymous.

Still points out my complaints about the haphazardness of the whole contest though.