It was his first game of the season, but GM Gelashvili wasted no time in winning a game with style, picking up where he left off last year as the 2012 Game of the Year Runner Up.
After an unusual opening, GM Gelashvili nicely broke things open with 18… Ncxe5!, leaving to a huge attack that his opponent was unable to fend off
IM Salvijus Bercys (1st Place, 3 Points): I am not entirely sure where White went wrong, but Black jumped on it like White on rice. It was just too fluid of an attack that seemed to never end to not reward it.
IM Victor Shen (1st Place, 3 Points): This game was ridiculous. I don’t know whether it’s brilliant or not, but it sure looks like it. Black was probably better by like move 13 with 2… b6 which is pretty shocking in itself, as White seemed to play all logical moves. And the piece sac and King hunt to finish the game off was pretty cool too. Definitely Game of the Week.
FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (1st Place, 3 Points): GM Gelashvili’s unusual French set up allowed him to obtain a surprisingly good position. Delaying his Queen’s Knight development for a few moves, Gelashvili was able to improve the famously dreaded light squared Bishop’s position after 8… Ba6, and lashed out with the typical French move 11…g5! Actually this move is featured in a well known French position that is reached after 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Ngf3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Bd3 Be7 8. 0-0 g5!?
In the game position, Black has the extra moves b6 and Ba6 (actually Bb7-Ba6) while White has Bc2, Re1, and a3. In the theoretical position, White is advised to continue 9. dxc5! and this also looks to be a reasonable move in the game, with interesting play ahead. Instead IM Esserman played the dramatic 12. g4?!, a move that is not as outrageous as it looks. This is certainly an idea that must be implemented with care, and Esserman was probably banking on his strong central control to deter any Black counterplay. What he probably wasn’t banking on was Gelashvili uncorking 18… Ncxe5! After this minimal material investment, Black grabs a lot of pawns and also gets the highway cleared for his heavy pieces to infiltrate to the Kingside. Black wrapped up with the cute 24… Rxd3+! and followed up with the silent 25… Rc4!
Chess.com (1st Place, 3 Points): 56% of vote
FM Alex Barnett (3rd Place, 1 Point): Ok IDC what anyone has to say about my comments for this game… this one looks like a straight up 1-minute street fight. I prolly should have ranked it first in terms of sexiness and fighting spirit, but it appears to me that White didn’t put up the best fight, so it’s not Black’s fault that I didn’t rank this game first…wow 18… Nxe5 was gangster…and then the forced win taking on d3 and then 22… Qe4 and 26… Rc4 winning was a nice touch…wow all the games this week were SUPER close, and all of them had awesome fighting spirit and no boring Catalan grinds, but this is the order of my games and I’m sticking to it. And like I said, sorry for my sub par commentary this week, I’m pissed off.
Total score of Esserman vs Gelashvili: 13 Points
Paying no heed to his hanging Knight, IM Neimer boldly pressed forward with 23… b4!, soon launching a devastating attack on his opponent’s King
FM Alex Barnett (1st Place, 3 Points): Wow these games are all sexy in their own way, but this is my first pick. BTW to everyone who had a game nominated, these games were all suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper close and my rankings could have gone almost any way. I ranked them as I usually do…in order of sexiness, and this one was pretty awesome… after White went 23. Bd3 Black didn’t even care and went 23… b4. That’s a pretty badass move and just won by force. I could write more about this game but I don’t feel like it because I’m pretty tilted bc Mr. GM Yermolinsky called me out for no reason in his most recent chess.com video, so I don’t really care about chess right now and my comments for this week are gonna suck so I apologize, except not really because I’m doing this as a volunteer, and I’ll write what I want. I’ll be back to my normal self next week.
IM Salvijus Bercys (2nd Place, 2 Points): Great attack by Black, but I was not a fan of White’s plans. Seemed like White should have restructured and enjoyed a slight edge with the two Bishops. Maybe d6, Bc4, Bf4?
IM Victor Shen (2nd Place, 2 Points): Another pretty wild game, I think white may have been winning at some point but Rhe1 was probably way too slow (the position probably demanded fxg6 followed by some sac although I’m not sure whats actually going on, the computer can tell you better).
Chess.com (2nd Place, 2 Points): 24% of vote
FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (3rd Place, 1 Point): This game reminded me of the Esserman-Gelashvili debacle considering that Black played something offbeat, sacrificed a piece, and delivered mate. And all in about 30 moves! Actually what’s up with all of these games… Black plays something unusual, gets a great position, and goes on cruise control.
With the players castling in opposite sides, the question was who would be able to get their attack in first. After move 18, Black had a very nice looking mobilized army and he turned this into something concrete with 19… Qa5!, intending to throw the b-pawn down the board. IM Neimer stuck to his guns with admirable determination by pushing the b-pawn even at the cost of a piece with 23… b4?!? This is actually one of the few games that I was watching live, and it seemed to be that perhaps FM Adamson was astounded by this unexpected sacrifice and it was a bit surprising that his position doesn’t seem to be salvageable after 25… Rb8! White tried to lead a blind counterattack with 28. fxg6 and 29. gxf7, but his King was already in too much hot water.
I’m wondering if this was possible to do earlier on move 25 since in this situation White would still be up a piece! Just as importantly, Black is denied the extra tempo of Rb8. If Black tries to correct that, White can put the tempo to good use with 26. gxf7+ Kxf7 and 27. Bh7 which allows White’s attack to land first. Otherwise, Black might try taking some Pawn on move 25, but I think White isn’t getting mated (right away?) even though his King will be staring at some scary looking pieces. I guess Adamson wasn’t sipping tea and analyzing this position at home so Neimer’s creative sacrifice yielded him a nice finish and a GOTW nomination. Just not first place.
Total score of Adamson vs Neimer: 10 Points
After the thematic exchange sacrifice 15… Rxf3!, IM Remlinger eventually made good use of White’s shattered Kingside Pawns, liquidating into a winning endgame
FM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (2nd Place, 2 Points): Black plays the ridiculous looking 3… Nc6 and then has a pleasant position by move 10! Probably the move isn’t too bad since 2700s play it. IM Remlinger uncorked the thematic 15… Rxf3! after which White probably wasn’t doing too badly, but Black is certainly having all the fun. Mo’s 20. Ng4 looked like an error which Remlinger highlighted with 21… Rf5!, cashing in for an unusual material imbalance of three minors versus two rooks. As strong as two rooks are on the 7th, they are also vulnerable to become notoriously clumsy and confused, and in this game they spent the end of their days wandering around aimlessly.
FM Alex Barnett (2nd Place, 2 Points): Ok so my first place game won clear, and second place is a tossup between the next two. I’m gonna have to go with this one. The long term exchange sac on f3 was awesome, that’s some old school Tal right there. After taking on f3 the game basically played itself, Black was in the zone and put pieces on the right squares and went for the kill and got it. This game could also have been ranked first but sorry man, in the first game ignoring the Knight on e4 after Bd3 and going b4 impressed me SLIGHTLY more than the ideas in this one, but the diff is only vvvvvvvvvvv small. Also maybe if I had nothing better to do than throw these games into Houdini instead of using my brain and intuition for ranking these games, my order would be different. However that’s not how I roll, so anyone who has a problem needs to suck it up and deal with it. But yeah, this game is good… my rankings this week could have gone in any order.
IM Salvijus Bercys (3rd Place, 1 Point): Good game, but White didn’t play so great. Begged for that Rxf3 sac. Maybe would have fared better if this week wasn’t so strong.
IM Victor Shen (3rd Place, 1 Point): Nice positional win by Larry, but I felt like it was too easy. He obtained a comfortable position out of the opening, made a thematic exchange sacrifice that just had to be good, and won cleanly. A good win, but the other two games this week were more exciting.
Chess.com (3rd Place, 1 Point): 21% of vote
Total score of Mo vs Remlinger: 7 Points