Friday, January 20, 2012

Game of the Year -- 5th Place

This is the sixteenth 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


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

With 52. Kd4!, GM Shulman finished off a unique King manuever and shortly after broke through decisively on the Kingside

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 (2nd Place, 19 points):
A great positional game from Shulman. I love this game for its instructional value. White just plays the opening solidly, centralizing his pieces and then takes advantage when Black allows him to exchange and obtain good Knight vs bad Bishop and complete domination. Perhaps Black's only opening mistake was surrending the e5 square and allowing Ne5. After closing the Queenside, Black left White with a freeroll on the Kingside. Shulman built up slowly but after maneuvering and setting up Rh3/Qh4, forcing the further weakening 42... g6, and Black was drawing dead! The way Shulman then wrapped it up was very nice, the somewhat sadistic maneuvre of the King to d4, putting a stop to any counterplay based on sacking the d5 pawn and freeing the Knight to join the party on the Kingside. Then the eventual buildup on the h-file followed by a nice finishing tactic.

FM Alisa Melekhina (4th Place, 17 points):
With so many explosive games to choose from, this positional grind from Shulman was a refreshing addition to this year's selection. After Black had seemingly set up a resilient blockade, Shulman calmly maneuvered until Black’s conspicuous lack of a dark squared Bishop and White’s flexible Knight was enough for a powerful breakthrough. Shulman patiently persevered by chipping away at the wall until it cracked, an example of why positions like this only seem drawish.

GM Alex Lenderman (6th Place, 15 points):
This very nice strategical/positional effort by Shulman in a very clutch battle which helped Chicago get to the next round in the Playoffs and just missed my Top Five list.

As nearly flawless as it was, this game also seemed a bit too one-sided to go higher, and it did not seem like anything super special. Rather it looked more like a standard classical game, very straightforward, where Black simply could not get any counterplay. I also could not understand the purpose of 18. Qc2!??!. To me this move looks dubious as I don't understand really what the idea as 18. Ne5 seems to make much more sense. Maybe there is some huge detail that neither me or Rybka understands?! And in reply, instead of 18. Qd8 for Chirilia, Rae8 maybe makes more sense, getting pieces into the game? And then 20... Ra7 seemed also a bit strange. Overall it seemed like Black didn't really make it very hard for White. Nevertheless it was still an excellent game by Yury, at least after the position got closed up, very precise play.

FM Victor Shen (8th Place, 13 points):
A very nice positional squeeze by Shulman. He made it seem easy: trade, trade, good Knight vs bad Bishop. Lock Queenside, pile up slowly on Kingside, bring King to d4 for fun (but actually to prevent random central breaks), breakthrough on Kingside, mate. It was especially instructive to watch Shulman's patience - for example, knowing that Black was completely helpless, after bringing his King to c3, he played 53. Rg2 and 54. Rd2 to absolutely ensure that if Black decided to sac with d4, he could take with the Rook and stick it on d6. Not the most exciting game, but clean and masterful nevertheless.

FM Ron Young (19th Place, 2 points):
The immortal never-ending game. Admirable patience on all sides.

Total Score of Shulman vs Chirila: (5th Place, 66 Points)


Stay tuned for three 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

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

1 comment:

Ben said...

For a 19th place ranking by one of the judges, I would appreciate some commentary as to what made it unworthy of a higher ranking.