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US Chess Championships 2011 (4)

Youth succeeds in Round 4. Krush beats Zatonskih in the US Championships

Irinia Krush beat Anna Zatonskih in Round 4.

Irinia Krush beat Anna Zatonskih in Round 4. | http://saintlouischessclub.org

Wins for Robert Hess over Shabalov and Ray Robson over Alexander Stripunsky along with some good draws saw youth have a good day in round 4 of the US Championships. Favourite Gata Kamsky won convincingly against Jaan Ehlvest but still shares the lead in the A-Group with Yuri Shulman. In what is surely just part one of their meetings in the championship Irina Krush beat Anna Zatonskih. There are four places in the final stages from their one group as opposed to two from each of the men's so Zatonskih should still make it through. The official website broadcast at: www.USChessChamps.com/Live is unlike anything except possibly for the London Chess Classic and sets new standards with its presenters Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade and produced by Macauley Peterson. They have daily Trivia with big prizes, Polls, and are giving away loads of additional prizes for best questions asked at USChessChamps.com/Questions and in spite of the lateness of the finish I've been watching it all. Below is Mike Klein's Round 4 report.

Youth Movement Continues at U.S. Championships By FM Mike Klein

Past the halfway point at the 2011 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship, the students are schooling the veterans. After four rounds at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, most of the leaders could not tell you what life what like in the 1980s.

Hikaru Nakamura might not be playing but he is still around as he lives in Saint Louis. He will play a match against Ruslan Ponomariov in Saint Louis 16th-25th May 2011. Alongside that is a match between Ben Finegold and Viktor Korchnoi. 6 Standard timerate games and 4 rapid. Photo © http://saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/2011-championships-day-2.

Maintaining her lead in the women's championship, Baltimore college student WGM Sabina Foisor beat WIM Iryna Zenyuk to get to 3.5/4. She survived a scary-looking rook for knight sacrifice to consolidate and win a queen-and-pawn endgame. Afrer being initially worried, Foisor found the winning path and said she "relaxed because at some point I was worse." Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura called Foisor his dark-horse pick to win the title.

Irinia Krush beat Anna Zatonskih but they are likely to meet again in the knockout stages. Photo © http://saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/2011-championships-day-2.

She kept her half-point lead over IM Irina Krush, who won for the third consecutive day, thus becoming the first player in either championship to do so. This time she took out her Olympiad teammate and longtime rival IM Anna Zatonskih. The two have played many times, including at the last half-dozen U.S. Women's Championships, but this was Krush's first win ever in their lifetime series. Krush played the rare 8. g4, which was briefly in vogue more than a decade ago, until then-World Champion Garry Kasparov crushed it as Black. Krush unearthed it from obscurity and briefly caused Zatonskih to hold her head in her hands. After a few minutes, Zatonskih eventually found a reasonable reply, only to be edged much later in the game.

The other two women's games were also decisive. Just as Foisor and Krush found, the White pieces were for choice this round.

WGM Camilla Baginskaite tore open FM Alisa Melekhina's kingside to earn the point and get to a plus-one score. WFM Tatev Abrahamyan got to the same score by defeating IM Rusudan Goletiani. Not surprisingly, the four women who won in round four right now hold the four qualifying positions to the semifinals.

In the U.S. Championship, GM Robert Hess continued his torrid play in Group B. As Black, Hess beat GM Alexander Shabalov to get to plus two and a tie for the lead in his group. "I forgot my preparation and had to think for 20 minutes," Hess said. "I've been playing much better with Black than with White. My coach (GM Miron Sher) told me that I should just ask for seven Blacks." Hess cannot claim to even be a college student yet. The Samford Chess Fellowship recipient said he will attend Yale in the fall after his gap year ends. "It looks like [Hess] is in good form and confident," said fellow competitor GM Larry Christiansen.

Hess is level with GM-elect Sam Shankland, who equalized in the easiest way against GM Yasser Seirawan. That game got so dull so quickly that Shankland said Seirawan momentarily forgot the 30-move draw rule and offered one on move 21. Shankland reminded him to play to move 30 and the game was duly drawn when they reached the required number. Shankland said his formation was like an improved Panov-Botvinnik formation, as his light-squared bishop got outside the e-pawn and therefore prevented any attack on h7. He said if Seirawan did not liquidate by exchanging his isolated queen-pawn then he would have been worse. Still, by not gaining any advantage with the move, commentator GM Maurice Ashley said, "This is like giving up," on the game and the tournament. For his part, Seirawan has remained positive and has stayed after his game every round to chat, analyze and be interviewed.

Gregory Kaidanov held Alexander Onischuk.

Photo © http://saintlouischessclub.org/gallery/2011-championships-day-2.

GM Alexander Onischuk only partially bounced back from his loss yesterday. He drew with GM Gregory Kaidanov but remains one point out of a qualifying spot. Christiansen is still lurking one half-point back, as he could only draw local GM Ben Finegold.

In Group A, the veterans took control. Past champions GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yury Shulman lead the way with three out of four. Both won today. Explaining his opening as Black against GM Jaan Ehlvest, Kamsky said, "I just wanted to develop and not to go into complications right away." Ashley questioned Ehlvest's decision to resign so early. "You mean two knights for a rook is not enough?" Kamsky said rhetorically. "These positions are not played at this level. [Ehlvest] used to be a world championship candidate. He knows he will lose and he wants to save his energy."

GM Ray Robson, leads the teenage brigade in Group A. He won today over GM Alexander Stripunsky's offbeat opening to get to plus one. Along with Shulman and Kamsky, Robson is the only other player in the group to not have a loss on his card, but he trails them both by a half-point. IM Daniel Naroditsky continued his solid play with this third draw, this one against GM Varuzhan Akobian.

Log on to www.uschesschamps.com tomorrow at 2 p.m. local time, 3 p.m. Eastern, to follow the games of round five live.

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 1 . . 1 3 2757
2. Shulman, Yuri g USA 2622 . * . 1 . ½ ½ 1 3 2728
3. Robson, Ray g USA 2522 ½ . * . ½ . 1 ½ 2722
4. Ivanov, Alexander g USA 2540 ½ 0 . * . 1 ½ . 2 2592
5. Akobian, Varuzhan g USA 2611 0 . ½ . * ½ 1 . 2 2567
6. Naroditsky, Daniel f USA 2438 . ½ . 0 ½ * . ½ 2502
7. Stripunsky, Alexander g USA 2578 . ½ 0 ½ 0 . * . 1 2380
8. Ehlvest, Jaan g USA 2586 0 0 ½ . . ½ . * 1 2385
Round 4 (April 18, 2011)
Shulman, Yuri - Ivanov, Alexander 1-0 53 E11 Bogo Indian Defence
Naroditsky, Daniel - Akobian, Varuzhan ½-½ 30 C06 French Tarrasch
Stripunsky, Alexander - Robson, Ray 0-1 24 C00 French Defence
Ehlvest, Jaan - Kamsky, Gata 0-1 30 B40 Sicilian Classical
ch-USA GpB Saint Louis (USA), 15-21 iv 2011 cat. XIV (2580)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Shankland, Samuel L m USA 2512 * ½ 1 . . ½ . 1 3 2782
2. Hess, Robert L g USA 2565 ½ * . ½ 1 . 1 . 3 2763
3. Christiansen, Larry M g USA 2586 0 . * ½ . 1 1 . 2654
4. Finegold, Benjamin g USA 2500 . ½ ½ * 0 . . 1 2 2599
5. Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2678 . 0 . 1 * . ½ ½ 2 2556
6. Seirawan, Yasser g USA 2636 ½ . 0 . . * ½ ½ 2477
7. Shabalov, Alexander g USA 2590 . 0 0 . ½ ½ * . 1 2423
8. Kaidanov, Gregory S g USA 2569 0 . . 0 ½ ½ . * 1 2388
Round 4 (April 18, 2011)
Christiansen, Larry M - Finegold, Benjamin ½-½ 48 C10 French Rubinstein
Seirawan, Yasser - Shankland, Samuel L ½-½ 30 B10 Caro Kann
Shabalov, Alexander - Hess, Robert L 0-1 25 C45 Scotch Game
Kaidanov, Gregory S - Onischuk, Alexander ½-½ 51 E06 Catalan
ch-USA w Prelim Saint Louis (USA), 15-21 iv 2011 cat. V (2363)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Foisor, Sabina-Francesca wg USA 2350 * 1 ½ . . 1 1 . 2672
2. Krush, Irina m USA 2472 0 * 1 . 1 . . 1 3 2578
3. Abrahamyan, Tatev wf USA 2326 ½ 0 * 1 . . . 1 2477
4. Baginskaite, Camilla wg USA 2342 . . 0 * ½ . 1 1 2469
5. Zatonskih, Anna m USA 2499 . 0 . ½ * 1 ½ . 2 2340
6. Zenyuk, Iryna USA 2245 0 . . . 0 * 1 ½ 2293
7. Melekhina, Alisa f USA 2304 0 . . 0 ½ 0 * . ½ 2037
8. Goletiani, Rusudan m USA 2367 . 0 0 0 . ½ . * ½ 2024
Round 4 (April 18, 2011)
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca - Zenyuk, Iryna 1-0 59 A57 Volga Gambit
Krush, Irina - Zatonskih, Anna 1-0 60 D31 Semi-Slav Defence
Abrahamyan, Tatev - Goletiani, Rusudan 1-0 41 B42 Sicilian Paulsen
Baginskaite, Camilla - Melekhina, Alisa 1-0 39 E62 King's Indian 6...Nc6

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