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US Chess Championships 2011 (7)

Kamsky, Shulman and Hess through to final stages of US Championships

Irina Krush went through in first place.

Irina Krush went through in first place. | http://saintlouischessclub.org

Another interesting days play saw an early draw for Gata Kamsky against Yuri Shulman which turned out to be the result of him suffering from chest pains, how serious this is is yet to be established. Both these players go through to thi final stages. Robert Hess and either Shankland and Onischuk will play off for the final place in the B-group. Krush, Abrahamyan, Baginskaite and eitehr Foisor or Zatonikih qualified for the women's final section.

Semifinals Still Murky, Tiebreaks Await By FM Mike Klein

The final round of preliminary group play of the 2011 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship concluded Thursday with only a partial picture of the semifinals. Some players advanced in round seven while others will have to endure a rapid-game playoff Friday.

Ray Robson beat Alexander Ivanov to take 3rd in Group A which may have some significance for World Cup qualification. Photo © http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/us-championships-round-seven/.

GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yury Shulman, the reigning champion and the past champion, played a short draw to preserve their advancement. The two players were the highest seeds in Group A. Kamsky's half-point got him to 5/7 and guaranteed his graduation. Shulman, who admitted to being nervous before the game, now sat on an undefeated 4.5/7, but he had to wait to make sure GM Alex Ivanov did not win. A few hours later GM Ray Robson dispatched Ivanov in a complex king-and-pawn ending to nullify the need for a tiebreak. Robson's win pushed him to 4/7 and sole third place in the group, but as with all the non-qualifiers, his tournament ended today.

Although the position was relatively static and equal, the Kamsky-Shulman game did not go the required 30 moves before the draw was agreed. International Arbiter Carol Jarecki allowed the agreement when Kamsky complained of an acute illness. “It was her decision to make, whether to make an exception or not,” Shulman said. No update was available on Kamsky's condition as he left the club immediately following the game.

Yasser Seirawan proved he still has the class to play the US Championships but his lack of opening preparation work is now a huge barrier to any possible success. Photo © http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/us-championships-round-seven/.

In Group A, GM Robert Hess' four-game winning streak ended, but his draw against GM Yasser Seirawan was more disappointing for his opponent. Hess had already guaranteed first place in his group, whereas Seirawan needed to win to have any chance of creeping into a tiebreak. The tiebreak will still occur, as GM Alexander Onischuk and GM-elect Sam Shankland had already agreed to peace. Onischuk and Shankland essentially delayed their fates for only a day. The pair will play a two-game playoff tomorrow while Hess and Shulman will enjoy their rest day and Kamsky will have a free day to convalesce. Seirawan's draw nets him 3.5/7. The even score seems justified given his erratic form in his first tournament in eight years. For his part, Shankland was relieved he would only be in a two-person playoff. “I hope [Hess] will hold,” Shankland said. “I don't want to deal with Yasser.”

With the job already done Irina Krush was happy enough to draw in 30 moves in Round 7. Photo © http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/us-championships-round-seven/.

In the U.S. Women's Championship, IM Irina Krush's win streak also ended, but like Hess, it barely affected her tournament standing. Her draw against WGM Camilla Baginskaite earned them both invitations to the semifinals. Krush wins the top seed with her 5.5/7 score and a $1,000 prize bonus.

All attention then focused on IM Anna Zatonskih's improbable tournament comeback. She won again today, beating WGM Sabina Foisor, to pull even with her at 4/7. The two will play a two-game tiebreak tomorrow in the same format as the U.S. Championship – two rapid games with 25-minute time control (with five-second delay), to be followed by an Armageddon match if needed.

Iryna Zenyuk against Tatev Abrahamyan. Photo © http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/us-championships-round-seven/.

WFM Tatev Abrahamyan nearly had to join Zatonskih and Foisor in the tiebreak, but she narrowly escaped with a draw against WIM Iryna Zenyuk. Abrahamyan thus goes through to the semis with a tie for second place with Baginskaite The two will split the $600 second-place preliminary stage bonus.

All players who did not qualify for the semifinals have the option of staying in St. Louis for the duration of the tournament. Some will do so to play in the $10,000 blitz tournament on Monday, while others will just take the time to be fans of their the club and the tournament.

Hikaru Nakamura against Ben Finegold. Photo © http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/us-championships-round-seven/.

To follow the tiebreaks on Friday, log on to www.uschesschamps.com at 2 p.m. local, 3 p.m. Eastern.

Carol Jarecki explains Kamsky draw. Jon Ludvig Hammer is in town staying with Sam Shankland and giving some help. Photo © http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/us-championships-round-seven/.

New arrival GM Jon Ludvig Hammer is our guest for 15 minutes: http://blip.tv/file/5052668

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the public to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, lessons and special lectures.

Another important aspect of our mission is to develop in-school and after-school scholastic chess programs. Chess teaches valuable lessons for developing students like problem solving, critical thinking, spatial awareness and goal setting. If you'd like more information about the CCSCSL, our mission or our programs, or if you'd like to support our cause with a financial contribution, please call us at 314.361.CHESS (2437), or e-mail info@saintlouischesscub.org.

ch-USA GpA Saint Louis (USA), 15-21 iv 2011 cat. XIV (2579)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Kamsky, Gata g USA 2733 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 5 2714
2. Shulman, Yuri g USA 2622 ½ * ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2674
3. Robson, Ray g USA 2522 ½ ½ * 1 ½ ½ 0 1 4 2636
4. Ivanov, Alexander g USA 2540 ½ 0 0 * 1 ½ 1 ½ 2584
5. Akobian, Varuzhan g USA 2611 0 ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ 1 3 2524
6. Ehlvest, Jaan g USA 2586 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 3 2527
7. Naroditsky, Daniel f USA 2438 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ * 0 2496
8. Stripunsky, Alexander g USA 2578 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 1 * 2476
Round 7 (April 21, 2011)
Kamsky, Gata - Shulman, Yuri ½-½ 17 D43 Anti-Meran Gambit
Robson, Ray - Ivanov, Alexander 1-0 41 C67 Ruy Lopez Berlin
Akobian, Varuzhan - Ehlvest, Jaan ½-½ 52 E61 King's Indian Defence
Stripunsky, Alexander - Naroditsky, Daniel 1-0 44 A48 King's Indian Defence /c2-c4
ch-USA GpB Saint Louis (USA), 15-21 iv 2011 cat. XIV (2580)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Hess, Robert L g USA 2565 * ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 2811
2. Shankland, Samuel L m USA 2512 ½ * ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 4 2639
3. Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2678 0 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4 2615
4. Seirawan, Yasser g USA 2636 ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 0 2571
5. Shabalov, Alexander g USA 2590 0 1 ½ ½ * 0 1 0 3 2528
6. Kaidanov, Gregory S g USA 2569 0 0 ½ ½ 1 * 0 1 3 2531
7. Finegold, Benjamin g USA 2500 ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 * ½ 2488
8. Christiansen, Larry M g USA 2586 0 0 0 1 1 0 ½ * 2476
Round 7 (April 21, 2011)
Hess, Robert L - Seirawan, Yasser ½-½ 50 B14 Caro Kann Panov
Onischuk, Alexander - Shankland, Samuel L ½-½ 30 D45 Anti-Meran Variations
Kaidanov, Gregory S - Christiansen, Larry M 1-0 59 E00 Catalan
Finegold, Benjamin - Shabalov, Alexander 0-1 95 B50 Sicilian Defence
ch-USA w Prelim Saint Louis (USA), 15-21 iv 2011 cat. V (2363)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Krush, Irina m USA 2472 * 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 2577
2. Abrahamyan, Tatev wf USA 2326 0 * 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 2470
3. Baginskaite, Camilla wg USA 2342 ½ 0 * ½ ½ 1 1 1 2468
4. Foisor, Sabina-Francesca wg USA 2350 1 ½ ½ * 0 0 1 1 4 2415
5. Zatonskih, Anna m USA 2499 0 0 ½ 1 * 1 1 ½ 4 2393
6. Goletiani, Rusudan m USA 2367 0 0 0 1 0 * ½ ½ 2 2204
7. Zenyuk, Iryna USA 2245 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ * 1 2 2222
8. Melekhina, Alisa f USA 2304 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 * 2141
Round 7 (April 21, 2011)
Baginskaite, Camilla - Krush, Irina ½-½ 30 A07 Barcza System
Zatonskih, Anna - Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 1-0 47 B40 Sicilian Classical
Zenyuk, Iryna - Abrahamyan, Tatev ½-½ 71 D38 QGD Ragozin
Melekhina, Alisa - Goletiani, Rusudan ½-½ 58 B23 Sicilian Closed

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