Monday, January 16, 2012

Game of the Year -- 7th Place

This is the fourteenth 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


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

The nice tactical blow 32... Rd2!, finished off a well played game by GM Friedel.

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.

GM Alex Lenderman (2nd Place, 19 points):
Another clutch game. Very key to Chicago advancing, and despite the pressure was played nearly perfectly by Josh if not perfectly. Black got a dream position out of the opening, which Black often has trouble in, examples like Kasparov-Karpov in 1987 match, or Kramnik-Radjabov recently in the candidates. Black used his trump, the space advantage with great care, shutting down White's light squared Bishop. Then he followed up with an interesting Pawn sack 18... e5!?. White probably should've taken the bait and risked grabbing it, so that his eventual suffering wouldn't have been for nothing. It would have required very accurate play against Black's initaitive but with a couple of correct moves the resulting position should be dynamically playable for both sides (roughly equal/unclear).

After that White's defence wasn't very tenacious as White should've tried maybe Ne4 at some point, and try to exchange some pieces, given Black's space advantage. For example, instead of 21. Re1?! allowing 21... Bb4 and the exchange of Black's bad Bishop, 21. Bxb7 followed by 22. Qg2 has good chances of equalizing. After that, Black was able to generate a nice initiative, with his powerful Queen+Knight combination and executing a nice tactical pattern. Very nice game by Josh all around. The reason this game I ranked second rather than first is because I thought the first place was a little bit more unique, unorthodox and creative, whereas this one was a bit more simple, routine, and straightforward. Nevertheless, it should take away from Josh, as he played the best moves the position could ask for. (I almost wish I could rank the top five games equally!), but unfortunately I cannot, so I have to give some little preferences to certain types.

FM Ron Young (6th Place, 15 points):
A nice attack with limited means. On the chessboard, that is. Plenty of means within the cranium, no doubt.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (7th Place, 14 points):
A good game by Friedel. He just seemed to play a good solid game, equalizing with Black and then taking over with some solid chess, weakening White on the light squares and then taking advantage of the weaknesses remaining. The 32...Rd2 tactic was a nice finishing touch

FM Victor Shen (16th Place, 5 points):
I thought Friedel played a very nice game, but it unfortunately wasn't really White's day at all. He seemed to flounder around in the opening and early middlegame, unable to find a plan while Black slowly built up his position. It was a nice performance by Friedel and had a nice finish as well, but White played too passively for this game to merit a higher ranking.

FM Alisa Melekhina (18th Place, 3 points):
This was a lackluster game until the end, not helped by White's choice of playing the Reti. Friedel combated it calmly and finished with the surprising and appealing 32... Rd2. If this were a tactics contest, this game would have been ranked higher for the miniature, but as far as the overall game was concerned, there was not enough to put it past the others.

Total Score of Z Amanov vs Friedel: (7th Place, 56 Points)


Stay tuned for five 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

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


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

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