Young GM Xiong has been picking up award after award in the USCL, and he does it again here with a second place finish in Game of the Year, in a game which was epitomized simply for strong, yet simple looking play, defeating a strong GM with the Black pieces with seeming ease
This is the final part in a series of articles which has counted down to revealing what game was voted as the 2015 USCL Game of the Year. For more information on exactly how this process worked and the prize information, please refer to: Game of the Year Contest
The simple but strong 20… Bxf3! put an end to White’s attacking dreams, and Black’s counterattack eventually proved to be stronger
NM Randy Bauer (1st Place, 20 Points): A very incisive performance; Black combined accurate defense with a strong counterattack. His back/second rank incursion with the White forces over-extended reminded me a bit of the classic Geller-Euwe game from the 1953 Zurich Candidates Tournament.
SM Craig Hilby (2nd Place, 19 Points): On moves 13 and 14, Ramirez was a bit hesitant, presumably unsure about which pieces to trade, but Jeffery responded with the confident 14… Nce4, showing he understood the strategic depths of the position and knew which pieces he wanted off. Indeed, in the latter part of the game when Black was seizing the initiative, White’s Bishop was only shooting into an empty void on the long diagonal. Jeffery finished Alejandro off nicely with a swift attack on the King.
FM Ron Young (7th Place, 14 Points): After 20. Qh6 and 22. Rh4, Black was a mere touch-move slip from defeat, but of course, this was an internet game, and White soon voluntarily disassembled (English note–“dissembled” is another word) his battery. 23… Qe5 brought to mind the annotation “the Queen is boss”, which Google tells me comes from Fischer. It emitted a sense of “I’ll just be here if anybody’s looking for me”. A Bishop seldom just captures a Knight without provocation, but to everything, a season. When it became clear the game would be settled on the Kingside, it was clear which minor piece was stronger. And I have seldom seen such a concentration of heavy firepower so near the enemy King where a player nonetheless needs just to give up as in the final position.
FM Alex Barnett (8th Place, 13 Points): This is a solid strategic game by Black. He just outplayed White. Rc5 inducing b4 to create the weakness on c4 is pretty dirty … prolly woulda been a draw if White didn’t fall for it.
FM Varun Krishnan (9th Place, 12 Points): This is a textbook example of how Black should handle hedgehog positions. After getting rid of White’s attacking chances (with nice moves such as Bxf3!), Black finally strikes with b5, which results in a nice finish.
GM Eric Hansen (11th Place, 10 Points): A smooth win by Xiong. Seemed to understand the opening and middlegame very well and nicely took over the position. A good example of strong, straightforward chess.
IM Jan van de Mortel (15th Place, 6 Points): What starts out as a fairly dry affair soon turns into a very nervous situation. Black certainly kept his cool with all of White’s pieces converging on the Kingside, but the overwhelming impression is that White just pushed things too far. It’s ironical that his first Queenside ‘sortie’ (34. Bb7?) was fatal and swiftly capitalized on.
Total Score of Ramirez vs Xiong: (2nd Place, 94 Points)
Final 2015 Game of the Year Standings:
1st Place (106 Points): IM Alexander Katz (NE) vs GM Giorgi Kacheishvili (MAN) 1-0 Article Elimination Article
2nd Place (94 Points): GM Alejandro Ramirez (STL) vs GM Jeffery Xiong (DAL) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
3rd Place (92 Points): GM Kayden Troff (LV) vs GM Illya Nyzhnyk (STL) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
4th Place (92 Points): IM Danny Edelman (CON) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (NJ) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
6th Place (87 Points): GM Pascal Charbonneau (NY) vs GM Joel Benjamin (NJ) 1/2-1/2 Article Elimination Article
7th Place (83 Points): IM Ruifeng Li (DAL) vs GM Varuzhan Akobian (STL) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
8th Place (83 Points): IM Georgi Orlov (SEA) vs GM Timur Gareyev (LV) 0-1 Article Elimination Article
9th Place (79 Points): GM Jeffery Xiong (DAL) vs GM Enrico Sevillano (LV) 1-0 Article Elimination Article
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