Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game of the Year -- 4th Place

This is the seventeenth 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


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

The strong exchange sacrifice 26. Rxd7!, perfectly executed, resulted in a very well played win by SM Sammour-Hasbun

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 (3rd Place, 18 points):
This game has to be taken in context with Sammour-Hasbun's win over Milman to be appreciated. Even after Queens have been exchanged when many people would assume a draw was not far off the horizon, Sammour-Hasbun manages to initiate a positional sacrifice before cajoling Black's King into the center and casting an unexpected mating net. This game is a reminder that when paired with the proper, adamant attitude, even exchanging is not the end of tactical and fighting chess.

GM Alex Lenderman (5th Place, 16 points):
If I didn't already know the names of the players, I would have thought Magnus Carlsen played White in this game because it looks like a typical Carlsen game, just squeezing a tiny advantage with perfect positional moves, slowly improving every single piece and putting the opponent into trouble without it even being entirely clear where the opponent made a mistake. This game also shows that Sammour-Hasbun is not only a great tactical player but is also extremely capable of playing great strategically and positionally. Just a wonderful game by White. I wish I could have placed it higher, but my Top Four games also had very interesting tactics and very nice play with the initiative which were somewhat lacking here, and my Top Four games were also nearly perfectly played, so I had to give preference to the games which also had exciting tactics at the end.

Some possible improvements for Black were (though I really am not sure, I can't exactly claim a clear mistake by Black here), 12... f5 was perhaps played too early and might have been too weakening and too committal. 12... Be7 was safer after which the position should be about equal. Maybe d5 had to be played at some point to declare the structure and to try to hold that endgame with only one weakness on c6 or d5 after which it should probably be holdable. Possibly with 16... Rfc8 Black tied his pieces down a bit too much. Then in a bad position already after a nice positional exchange sacrifice, 27... Ke6 was losing as the King becomes too exposed. 27... Rcb8 was probably more tenacious though White is still better. Still these inaccuracies (maybe I'm even wrong about them) are very subtle. Kudos to Jorge for such a great game. A clear example of the winner winning the game, NOT the loser losing the game.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (6th Place, 15 points):
I like this game. We had a Queenless middlegame out of a Scotch Opening. From there it felt like White made really efficent moves and placed his pieces on good squares. Then came a surprising exchange sacrifice (not that common with Queens off), and Black soon drifted into trouble. I liked the calm 23. f4! when most would have cashed in on the discovered check (threat is stronger than the execution!). Sammour-Hasbun then wrapped up it up nicely in the end with almost everything dropping off the board for Black. Only the lack of "flash" prevented this from getting close to the absolute top of my list.

FM Victor Shen (10th Place, 11 points):
Black was fine following the opening, but it seems to me as if he slightly misevaluated the position when he went for his solid set up in the endgame. Instead, it was objectively better to break with d5 early on and equalize. White then got a more pleasant position and some pressure, which he capitalized on with a nice exchange sacrifice. The White Knight and light squared Bishop combined with Black's open King proved to be a decisive advantage in a practical game. I liked this game, as it was hard to pinpoint exactly where Hungaski went wrong - I suppose he had to choose a more active plan, and White's play was clean and efficient.

FM Ron Young (11th Place, 10 points):
A nice exchange sac in a Queenless middlegame, but 27… Ke6 led too quickly to a Kingless endgame.

Total Score of Sammour-Hasbun vs Hungaski: (4th Place, 70 Points)


Stay tuned for two 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


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...

i was pretty happy with most of my choices, but looking back i would have ranked this one higher.

- Victor Shen

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Victor, for having the courage to admit your mistakes. The prejudices against some teams are becoming increasingly more pronounced.

dfan said...

Absolutely, Anonymous #2. It is a travesty that Boston is going to occupy only three of the top four places. It is really too bad that the judges refuse to give them their due.

Anonymous said...

its rare to see a judge admit his mistakes, in uscl almost unheard of, dfan u need to put your prejudices to rest, there is no league wide conspiracy in favor or against Boston, take some pills, drink some water.