This has been a good year for NM Norman "Pete" Rogers. The long-time Philly resident has had many good results, but in the last two years he has picked his game up a notch. In the Wilbert Paige Memorial, a last round loss prevented him from getting his 2nd IM norm within a month's time. Despite the setback, NM Rogers played what was to be a most exciting encounter with another very exciting player in IM Amon Simutowe. This game would win the "best game" prize which was sponsored by SmartChess.com. GM Maurice Ashley described the game this way:
"There was really only one game that from start to finish featured a grand opening conception, creative middle game ideas that involved positional pawn sacrifices (in Kasparov style), an unexpected endgame transition a pawn down, dynamic endgame tactics involving the win of material and mate threats with limited pieces, another pawn sac to get passed pawns rolling, uncertainty as to whether the winning side had to allow a perpet, and a queen sac to tie up the knot (although it was really academic). And if the game was not enough, there was controversy because of the possibility of a threefold repetition that required the arbiter and myself to finally settle the issue. I think you all know I am talking about Simutowe-Rogers (sorry, Amon) and it is a game I think Pete should annotate and send to the Informant. It may not be entirely correct (positional sacs are always hard to judge), but it may be!! And still, it was by far the most thrilling game and I could not tell by looking at it if it was Pete or Kasparov! Look for yourselves very carefully; played at a fast speed, it will take your breath away."
Despite the fact that IM Simutowe was on the losing end in three of the candidate games, he has been on the winning side of many of these battles. In fact, his win over FM Ronald Simpson got an Honorable Mention. Others in the running were: Muhammad-Simutowe, Simutowe-Solomon. All exciting encounters! However, one game stood out in GM Ashley's mind as a game filled with tremendous energy, and most of all, an indomitable fighting spirit. Congratulations Pete!
Posted by The Chess Drum: 2 August 2001