The second of three draws makes it into the Top Ten with an interesting set of rankings, with four high rankings and three low ones, without any really in the middle – some judges being attracted by the seeming perfect nature of the last part of the game, and others turned off by the shortness and seeming lack of necessity of the complications.
This is the eleventh part in a series of articles which will count down to revealing what game was voted as the 2015 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
The interesting 15. Rxe6!? brought about extreme complications, well navigated by both players, resulting in a fair draw
IM Jan van de Mortel (2nd Place, 19 Points): Heroism: Black waves a red flag in front of the bull, the bull charges. Is it too short to win GOTY? Should a GOTY result in blood spilling? Nevertheless, it is greatly entertaining at an extremely high level so a good ranking is inescapable.
NM Randy Bauer (4th Place, 17 Points): This was a hair raising defensive performance by Black in the face of an enterprising White attack. The defense appeared perfect, and a draw the ‘correct’ result.
FM Ron Young (5th Place, 16 Points): “Who won?” “Chess won!” If all draws were as exciting as this, we could market chess as a game where you can see all the ties you love without having to sit among a bunch of drunken hooligans. The Center Counter has a time-losing image, but try this fun experiment: play some typical moves (say 1. e4 d5, 2. ed Qd5, 3. Nc3 Qa5, 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bishop somewhere), and now count the number of pieces each side has developed. Ooops! Did you miscount?! Try again! What, still off?!? Son of a gun! Dlugy did something a bit different; a little more in touch with his Caro-Kann roots, I suppose, but when invited to mix it up, he did so like a seasoned bartender. Still, everyone had a good time and got home safe.
FM Varun Krishnan (7th Place, 14 Points): I thought this was both a fun and surprisingly accurate tactical bonanza, starting from the opening. From 15. Rxe6 to 22. Nd5, White kept pounding – but ultimately it was only enough for a draw!
GM Eric Hansen (15th Place, 6 Points): An interesting opening attempt by Izoria. Dlugy replied concretely, and the game resulted in a fair draw. Definitely among the most objectively accurate games.
SM Craig Hilby (17th Place, 4 Points): I thought this was a very strange game. Dlugy, a respectable grandmaster, played a trash opening to snatch a pawn. Zviad followed up dubiously (8. Bf4 with the threat of Nb5 would have yielded White an enormous advantage) and basically forced Black to develop his pieces. As impressed as I am by White’s calculation with 15. Rxe6, going for this line does not make much sense at all, as it is fairly clear that Black’s replies are obvious and forced, and White had to be accurate in order to hold the draw in the way he did in the game.
FM Alex Barnett (18th Place, 3 Points): I’m feeling this Pawn sac line. Maybe it’s just nothing? This game was actually kinda cool… but I mean maybe this game is theory through even 15. Rxe6? Seems like Black is solid, and that is the only try. Not using an engine, but its sick, but I just played this game over 3x, and I don’t see anything else White could have done. Was this just a draw by force? Sick, lol. Seems likely….this setup for Black is just too solid and it’s either go ape or be down a Pawn for nothing. This game doesn’t do it for me either.
Total Score of Izoria vs Dlugy: (10th Place, 79 Points)
Stay tuned for nine 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!
10th Place (79 Points): GM Zviad Izoria (MAN) vs GM Maxim Dlugy (CON) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article
11th Place (78 Points): IM Tom Bartell (PHI) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (NJ) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
13th Place (71 Points): GM Timur Gareyev (LV) vs GM Rogelio Barcenilla (ARZ) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article
14th Place (68 Points): NM Ilya Krasik (BOS) vs NM Brandon Jacobson (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article
15th Place (66 Points): GM Daniel Naroditsky (SF) vs GM Wesley So (MIN) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
16th Place (65 Points): GM Illya Nyzhnyk (STL) vs GM Alex Lenderman (MAN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article
17th Place (53 Points): GM Conrad Holt (DAL) vs GM Illya Nyzhnyk (STL) 1-0 Article Elimination Article
18th Place (44 Points): GM Zviad Izoria (MAN) vs SM Mika Brattain (NE) 1-0 Article Elimination Article
20th Place (32 Points): IM Kassa Korley (CAR) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (NJ) 1-0 Article Elimination Article