Two Games Left Standing
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 14, 2008
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USCL commissioner Greg Shahade 
On Friday morning, May 16, the U.S. Chess League will announce its  Game of the Year recipient. The two finalists, whittled down from 20 candidates, are Jorge Sammour-Hasbun-Davorin Kuljasevic and Julio Becerra-Drasko Boskovic. 1000$ will go to the grand prize winner and 500$ to the runner-up.

Think about which one you think should win (posted below), and login to www.uschessleague.com  Friday morning to see what the judges thought.

 After months of silence, USCL commissioner IM Greg Shahade finally revealed to CLO that he agrees with GOTY judge Dennis Monokroussos  that Marcel Martinez's victory over Dmitry Zilberstein was the best game of the year. The game featured the stunning home-cooked novelty,22.Bh6!  Greg said:

 I think that awarding a game fewer points because one of the key moves was opening preparation is completely unprecedented in voting for "best game competitions".  Also even after this novelty, black isn't totally lost, they can definitely put up a strong fight, and the game went on for 20-30 more moves, which Martinez conducted in a glamorous fashion. Imagine how Kasparov would have felt if he played a brilliant game and the judges discredited it because he found one strong and spectacular move at home and then won 30 moves later. I think if the players were Nakamura - Christiansen, instead of Martinez vs Zilberstein, this game would have won in a landslide.

Zilberstein-Martinez was announced as third place last week , good for 300$. (I also included it below.) I voted the Martinez game as second place. If there was any bias against this game, it may be because judging games can lead to over-thinking, causing judges to second-guess the most obvious choices. But there seems to be no obvious bias toward GMs- after all, one of the two finalists is not even an IM! (Jorge obviously wants to pull a Christiansen and bypass the IM title on his way to GM.) 

Feel free to join in the debate of which of the following games is best.