Best Games of 2005 (#7-9)
by NM Arun Sharma  
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***Forward by League Commish IM Greg Shahade***

This is the second part of a series of articles highlighting the best games of 2005. We have taken all of the games of the week from the 2005 season. NM Arun Sharma then went through all 12 of them and has ranked them from 1st to 12th. Criteria used for ranking in order of importance were:

1. Level of Play
2. Excitement Factor (Were there lots of exciting sacrifices and etc)
3. Relevance towards Standings
4. Intrigue (big upset etc)

 With this article we will look at the 7th thru 9th best game of the year, and we will expand the article each week, until we reach the number 1 game of 2005. Below are the candidates that are still in the running for best game of 2005, followed by those that have already been eliminated:

2005 Games of the Week:

Week 2: IM John Donaldson (SF) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (DAL)  1/2-1/2 
Week 3: IM-elect Lev Milman (CAR) vs GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) 0-1   
Week 4: GM Larry Christiansen (BOS) vs IM Pascal Charbonneau (BAL)  0-1 
Week 5: FM Matthew Hoekstra (CAR) vs WGM-elect Jenn Shahade (NY)  0-1 
Week 6: IM Vince McCambridge (SF) vs IM Pascal Charbonneau  0-1 
Week 7: IM Pascal Charbonneau (BAL) vs FM Norman Rogers (PHI)  0-1 
Week 8: FM David Pruess (SF) vs NM Elvin Wilson (PHI)   1-0
Week 9: NM Jon Rouleau (BAL) vs FM Lewis Eisen (NY)  1-0
SemiFinals: FM David Pruess (SF) vs IM Blas Lugo (MIA)  1-0

10th place:  Week 1: IM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) vs GM Alex Stripunsky (NY)  1-0
11th place:  Finals: IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) vs IM Blas Lugo (MIA)  1-0
12th placeWeek 10: IM Dmitry Shneider (DAL) vs IM-elect Lev Milman (CAR)  1-0

*** Onto the rankings by NM Sharma***

9th Place:  IM Vince McCambridge (SF) vs IM Pascal Charbonneau  0-1 

After a fairly regular opening, this game got very interesting when
McCambridge found the interesting piece sacrifice 18. Nd4 which looks
very dangerous for Black.  However, Charbonneau showed no fear simply giving
up his Queen for Rook and two pieces.  Despite Black's material edge the
game still seemed anything but simple as his King still looked rather
exposed and his pieces somewhat uncoordinated.  However, with solid defense
Charbonneau consolidated once and after 31... Rhc8! transposed into a
winning but far from easy endgame.  Part of the reason Pascal won the MVP
award in 05 was because he was able to squeeze the full point in situations like

8th Place: FM Matthew Hoekstra (CAR) vs WGM-elect Jenn Shahade (NY)  0-1 

Originally I wanted to put this game at first, but League Commissioner Greg Shahade
didn't want to appear nepotistic and told me to put it last and so I compromised
and put it here. In any case, an extremely exciting attacking game developed here,
highlighted by the audacious 15... Nb5! where Black developed a huge
attack for which Hoekstra was unable to find an adequate defense.  A
very solid game both in its play and its importance in bringing the match
home for New York once again by the narrow margin of 2.5 - 1.5

7th Place: IM John Donaldson (SF) vs GM Alejandro Ramirez (DAL)  1/2-1/2 

A very interesting attack developed in this game (especially
considering the opening was a Slav, which rarely seems leads to such
 fireworks). White sacrificed a pawn for a somewhat exposed Black King and
a very promising looking attack, but Ramirez was more than up to the
defensive task as he fought back the White attack and consolididated
his position into becoming the attacking player himself.  The game
also had a good deal of "changing goals" as it first appeared as Ramirez
would need a win to salvage the match for Dallas but a sudden turn in the
board two game suddenly forced Donaldson into the must win situation. 
However, Ramirez once again defended very coolly and easily held the draw.

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