The judges seemed to like the play of the victor from this nice Playoff upset but felt the trumps needed to secure the victory were handed to him a little too easily resulting in this being the first game out of the contest.
This is the first part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2015 USCL Game of the Year. The entrants are the fourteen Games of the Week along with the six Wildcards (full list). There are seven judges who ranked the games from 1st to 20th. If a game is ranked in 1st place by a judge, it receives 20 points, if it’s ranked 2nd place it receives 19 points, and so on with 20th place receiving 1 point, and the games are then ranked by their total number of points. If there is a tie at a certain total, whichever amongst those games have higher individual rankings will win on tiebreak (e.g., a game which gets 1st + 4th ranking is higher than a game which gets 2nd + 3rd).
The seven judges are:
GM Eric Hansen
IM Jan van de Mortel
FM Alex Barnett
FM Varun Krishnan
FM Ron Young
SM Craig Hilby
NM Randy Bauer
In a nice Playoff upset, IM Korley continued with 19. a5!, scoring an impressive positional victory
NM Randy Bauer (8th Place, 13 Points): A nice demonstration of the power of the two Bishops; combined with an advanced outside passed pawn, White demonstrates efficient late middlegame/endgame technique.
GM Eric Hansen (16th Place, 5 Points): Looks like a poor opening from Stripunsky – White gets two Bishop advantage with the better Pawn structure. After that point it’s just a matter of technique, which Korley aptly demonstrated.
FM Ron Young (17th Place, 4 Points): There are situations where you’ve got to unbalance, and this may have been one, but Black’s attempts all seemed to unbalance strictly to White’s advantage. To put it another way, White gave a lesson in how to exploit the Bishop pair, more space and better Pawn structure. But how often do you get all that?
FM Alex Barnett (17th Place, 4 Points): Man….I just can’t rate this game highly because I lose this way as Black vs d4 all the time and idk what to possibly do differently. What is 14… bxc5 though? Mouseslip? Doesn’t 14… Nxc5 make perfect sense? What is 14… bxc5 lol, isolated Pawns are bad bro.
FM Varun Krishnan (18th Place, 3 Points): Nice positional play by Korley, who sets up a passed Pawn on b6 and nicely converts it, with his Queen cycling throughout the board.
SM Craig Hilby (19th Place, 2 Points): I am as surprised as you are that I ended up ranking this game so far down, but bear with me. Kassa played the rare 9. a4, which there’s nothing wrong with, but should allow Black to equalize with either of the principled breaks of 9… e5 or 9… c5. Instead, Alex responded by taking two moves to make a one move threat on the h2 pawn, giving away the Bishop pair, and ruining his own Pawn structure. Kassa was more or less gifted a winning position. Kassa had great technique up until move 31, where I can’t see for the life of me what Black would have done other than resign in response to 31. b7. Instead, the game went on for another twenty moves.
IM Jan van de Mortel (20th Place, 1 Point): Very clean effort on White’s part, but in GOTY terms it doesn’t help that Black is busted after little more than ten moves. It must have been a dry week in the USCL (or a wildcard).
Total Score of Korley vs Stripunsky: (20th Place, 32 Points)
Stay tuned for nineteen more such articles as the field shrinks by one game almost every day to see which of the following games will be the 2015 Game of the Year!
Championship: GM Illya Nyzhnyk (STL) vs GM Alex Lenderman (MAN) 1-0 Article
20th Place (32 Points): IM Kassa Korley (CAR) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article