USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Saturday, January 22, 2011

USCL Chess Game of the Year 2010 is Akobian-Shulman

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi Everybody,

The United States Chess League Game of the Year 2010 has been announced. It is GM Varuzhan Akobian (SEA) vs GM Yury Shulman (STL) 1-0

GM Akobian nicely capitalized on his initiative with 21. Nxf6+!! breaking the position wide open after which his well placed pieces paid a nice dividend eventually scoring him an impressive victory against a super strong opponent.

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 Jan Gustafsson (1st Place, 20 points): Wow, a topical opening line, powerful positional play, a correct long-term piece sac, and flawless execution! In the opening, I think 9... b6 is a more critical choice than 9... f6, but that could of course be argued against. Not sure where Black went wrong afterward, White just has very good compensation, and his position is much easier to play. Maybe 20... Bb7 was more resilient. After 21. Nxf6+!! White gets an eternal initiative and never lets go. No complaints, I'll vote for this one.

GM Robert Hess (2nd Place, 19 points): Var really played one heck of a game. Yury did not seem to have a chance. One reason I ranked this so highly is that both players worked together at the Olympiad and have similar opening repertoires, yet Var seemed in total control. Var came out aggressively and never relinquished his threats, first forcing Yury to weaken all his Pawns, then milking his huge advantage in development and finally sacrificing material and going in for the kill. It is hard to pinpoint Yury's fatal error, and that just makes the game that much better in my eyes. Nicely done.

FM Ron Young (4th Place, 17 points): Sitting on c3 and f3, White's bishops seemed to have nothing to do with each other but after the explosion on f6, they swept in and left Black empty-handed. Watching this game was like watching a skilled pair of street scammers in action.

FM Ingvar Johannesson (4th Place, 17 points): The players don't get much stronger in this league. A very nice game by Varuzhan. He elected to play the very sharp Marshall Gambit. White gambits a Pawn and naturally gets some initiative. He followed that up with a well time sacrifice on f6 giving life to all his centralized pieces. Shulman simply couldn't handle the pressure and had to crack under the pressure. The easy tactics in the end were also a nice cherry on the top of the cake.

WIM Alisa Melekhina (12th Place, 9 points): A typical GM game where it's unclear where the crucial mistake was, and Black suddenly finds himself worse. At one point it seemed that Shulman had stabilized and was ready to consolidate his extra pawn, but Akobian's open lines proved too much, eventually facilitating the promotion of the c-pawn that seemed to have suddenly arrived on the seventh rank out of nowhere. A very nice and clean game, that I'm sure could be ranked higher if the other games didn’t display such exciting struggles and tactics. With all the games being so decisive, at this point it just becomes a matter of taste between more creative and original, rather than straightforward wins.

Total Score of Akobian vs Shulman: (1st Place, 82 Points)

Final 2010 Game of the Year Standings:

You can find more details here.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home