Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Can a game that didn't count be Game of the Year?

In a rather surprising decision, New York Knights IM Jay Bonin's win over NM Denys Shmelov of the Boston Blitz in the US Chess League Eastern Division Finals was selected as the 4th Wildcard entry into the Game of the Year selection process. The choice was made by Jonathan Hilton whose Game of the Week selections were often met with confusion during the regular season.

While I don't wish to diminish Bonin's effort, it is worth recalling that much of the game transpired after the Blitz had already clinched the match victory and Shmelov was forced to play out the ending with the rest of team and its fans celebrating around him. In addition, the original Rook and 3 pawns vs. Knight and Bishop ending was probably better for Denys. Kudos to Jay for outplaying his opponent, but hardly Game of the Year material in this observer's opinion.

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