Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

US Chess Championships 2012 (1)

Favourites win in round 1 bloodbath at the US Championships

Defending champion Gata Kamsky outclassed Alejandro Ramirez. Already it seems to me close to certain he or Nakamura will win the event. Photo ©

Defending champion Gata Kamsky outclassed Alejandro Ramirez. Already it seems to me close to certain he or Nakamura will win the event. Photo © | http://www.saintlouischessclub.org

The US Championships started with the favourites in the men's and women's events all winning, indeed there was just one draw in the men's tournament and two in the women's. Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky both admitted to being rusty having last played seriously in the Wijk aan Zee tournament in January. Both had comfortable wins. Alexander Stripunsky was shocked by his opponent's surprise adoption of the Caro Kann and then unbelievably hung a piece on move 11. Yasser Seirawan got a miserable opening against Varuzhan Akobian and was ground down. Aleksandr Lenderman surprised Ray Robson with a very sharp idea in the Gruenfeld and went on to win an exciting game but Robson's inability to handle the clock properly (at least one 30 minute think and eventual desperate time trouble) is now looking like the biggest weakness in his game. Sometimes you just have to make your best guess and play it, Robson seems unprepared to do this and it doesn't work for him. His coach at the world juniors Ben Finegold said this addiction drove him nuts at that event.

Nakamura,Hikaru - Hess,Robert L [C51]
ch-USA 2012 Saint Louis USA (1), 08.05.2012
[Crowther,Mark]

1.e4

Hess was expecting 1.d4 and spent a few minutes trying to work out what might be coming.

1...e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4

Nakamura had been looking at some old games. "If someone like Nigel Short can play this then why can't I frankly." - Nakamura.

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Bd6

Not the most common move in the position.

6.d4 Qe7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.Re1 Ba3?!

Key position in the game. "I'm just a little bit better." It is so much easier for white to play after this. A plan with b6 and Bb7 was probably better.

[9...Na5 10.Bd3 Nc6 11.Nf1 Re8 12.Ng3 Qf8 13.Bg5 exd4 14.Bxf6 Bxg3 15.hxg3 gxf6 16.cxd4 d6 17.d5 Ne5 18.Nd4 c5 19.dxc6 bxc6 20.Bf1 Qh6 21.Rc1 c5 22.Nf3 Bg4 23.Be2 Red8 1-0 Fressinet,L (2693)-Naiditsch,A (2684)/Nancy FRA 2011/The Week in Chess 855]

10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Ne8 12.f4 Bxc1 13.Rxc1 d6 14.exd6 cxd6 15.Nf3

Robert Hess

r_b_nrk_
pp__qppp
___p____
________
__B_PP__
__P__N__
P_____PP
__RQR_K_

Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 15.Nf3

15...Bg4?

After this Nakamura was very confident of winning. Black is much worse after this.

[15...Nc7; 15...Be6 16.Bd3 Qc7 17.Nd4 Bc4 18.Bb1 g6 19.e5 (19.f5 Nf6 (19...Qc5) ) 19...Ng7]

16.h3 Rc8 17.Bb3 Bxf3 18.Qxf3 Rc5 19.Re3 Nc7 20.e5

"I'm just in huge trouble." - Hess who missed this.

20...dxe5 21.Qxb7 a5 22.Qe4 Ne6 23.fxe5 Re8 24.Rd1

"I wasn't sure what I was going to do." - Nakamura used a lot of time on this.

[24.Rf1 Qc7 25.Qf3 h6]

24...Qc7 25.Rdd3 h6

[25...Rb5 26.Rd5 Rbb8; 25...Qb6 26.Bd5]

26.Bd5 Qb6 27.c4 Qb1+ 28.Kh2 Qxa2?

Robert Hess

____r_k_
_____pp_
____n__p
p_rBP___
__P_Q___
___RR__P
q_____PK
________

Hikaru Nakamura

Position after 28...Qxa2. White to play and win.

29.Bxe6

Hess was down to his last 5 minutes whilst Nakamura had a lot of time to work out the mate.

29...fxe6 30.Rd7 Kh8 31.Rxg7 Kxg7 32.Rg3+ Kf8 33.Qh7 1-0

Kamsky,Gata - Ramirez,Alejandro [B42]
ch-USA 2012 Saint Louis USA (1), 08.05.2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.0-0 e5 7.Nb3 Nc6 8.Nc3 d6 9.Nd5 Be7 10.c4 Be6 11.Be3 Nd7 12.Qd2 0-0 13.Rad1 Nc5 14.Bb1 Rc8 15.Nc1!

"Black has no real squares or prospects." - Kamsky. "It's just a little bit better for white."

15...Re8 16.Nxe7+ Rxe7

"The position is already really bad. Black has no plan." - Kamsky.

17.b3 Rd7 18.Ne2 b5 19.cxb5 axb5 20.h3

Alejandro Ramirez

__rq__k_
___r_ppp
__npb___
_pn_p___
____P___
_P__B__P
P__QNPP_
_B_R_RK_

Gata Kamsky

Position after 20.h3

"Slowly neutralising all black's play." - Kamsky. "I didn't think my position was so bad until he played 20.h3" - Ramirez who had a bad position on the clock and he couldn't find a move.

20...b4

[20...Na6]

21.f4 exf4 22.Nxf4 Qh4 23.Nd5 Nxe4!

Black breaks free and at least creates some problems. Maybe it isn't quite enough but it is essential.

24.Bxe4 Qxe4 25.Nb6 Rdd8 26.Nxc8 Rxc8 27.Rf4

[27.Qd3 Qxd3 28.Rxd3 d5 29.Rc1]

27...Qe5 28.Kh1 h6?!

Weakening the kingside which Kamsky thought wasn't a good idea.

29.Rf3 d5 30.Re1

Alejandro Ramirez

__r___k_
_____pp_
__n_b__p
___pq___
_p______
_P__BR_P
P__Q__P_
____R__K

Gata Kamsky

Position after 30.Re1

"I have to remove the Queen from e5, it's really strong." - Kamsky

30...Qh5?

Black was already in time trouble and this is the wrong path.

[30...Qc3 Was the best here, white would at least have to be accurate. 31.Qf2 (31.Qd1; 31.Bxh6 Qxd2 32.Bxd2 Ra8 33.Rc1 Rxa2) 31...Ne5]

31.Rg3 Ne7 32.Bd4 Nf5 33.Rg4 Nxd4 34.Rxd4 Qg6 35.Rc1 Re8 36.Kh2 Qh5 37.Re1 Rc8 38.Rxb4 Bf5 39.g4 1-0

Stripunsky,Alexander (2562) - Onischuk,Alexander (2660) [B11]
ch-USA 2012 Saint Louis USA (1), 08.05.2012

1.e4 c6

A shock, Onishuk invariably plays 1.e5.

2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 e6 6.g3 Nd7 7.Qe2 d4

[7...dxe4 8.Nxe4 Ngf6 9.Bg2 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6 12.d3 Qc7 13.Bf4 e5 14.Be3 g6 15.Rae1 Rfe8 16.c4 Nf8 17.Qf3 Bg7 18.b4 Ne6 19.b5 Rac8 20.Rb1 cxb5 21.Rxb5 b6 22.a4 e4 23.dxe4 Qxc4 24.Qd1 Nc5 25.Bxc5 bxc5 26.Rb7 a5 27.Qf3 Bd4 28.h4 h5 29.Rfb1 Qa2 30.R1b3 Rf8 31.e5 Rce8 32.Bf1 0-1 Kulhanek,T (2410)-Willemze,J (2413)/Kemer TUR 2007/The Week in Chess 674]

8.Nb1 h5 9.h4 g5 10.hxg5 Qxg5

Alexander Onischuk

r___kbnr
pp_n_p__
__p_p___
______qp
___pP___
______P_
PPPPQP__
RNB_KB_R

Alexander Stripunsky

Position after 10...Qxg5

Black has totally surprised his opponent and surely got equality. A rattled Stripunsky undoubtably thinking about what he should do blunders horribly.

11.d3??

White makes an automatic move forgetting his bishop wasn't protected. Onischuk at first thought he had blundered but then realised it was his opponent that had done so. Their eyes met, Stripunsky realised what he had done and resigned.

0-1

ch-USA 2012 Saint Louis USA (USA), 8-20 v 2012 cat. XVI (2633)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2
1. Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2660 * . . . . . . . . . . 1 1
2. Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2775 . * . . . . . . . . 1 . 1
3. Kamsky, Gata g USA 2741 . . * . . . . . . 1 . . 1
4. Lenderman, Aleksandr g USA 2587 . . . * . . . . 1 . . . 1
5. Akobian, Varuzhan g USA 2625 . . . . * . . 1 . . . . 1
6. Shulman, Yuri g USA 2571 . . . . . * ½ . . . . . ½ 2594
7. Kaidanov, Gregory S g USA 2594 . . . . . ½ * . . . . . ½ 2571
8. Seirawan, Yasser g USA 2643 . . . . 0 . . * . . . . 0
9. Robson, Ray g USA 2614 . . . 0 . . . . * . . . 0
10. Ramirez, Alejandro g USA 2593 . . 0 . . . . . . * . . 0
11. Hess, Robert L g USA 2635 . 0 . . . . . . . . * . 0
12. Stripunsky, Alexander g USA 2562 0 . . . . . . . . . . * 0
Round 1 (May 8, 2012)
Nakamura, Hikaru - Hess, Robert L 1-0 33 C51 Evans Gambit
Kamsky, Gata - Ramirez, Alejandro 1-0 39 B42 Sicilian Paulsen
Lenderman, Aleksandr - Robson, Ray 1-0 64 D97 Gruenfeld Russian
Akobian, Varuzhan - Seirawan, Yasser 1-0 56 D37 QGD 5.Bf4
Shulman, Yuri - Kaidanov, Gregory S ½-½ 84 E11 Bogo Indian Defence
Stripunsky, Alexander - Onischuk, Alexander 0-1 11 B11 Caro Kann Two Knights
ch-USA w 2012 Saint Louis USA (USA), 8-20 v 2012 cat. III (2318)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Zatonskih, Anna m USA 2510 * . . . . . . . . 1 1
2. Goletiani, Rusudan m USA 2333 . * . . . . . . 1 . 1
3. Krush, Irina m USA 2457 . . * . . . . 1 . . 1
4. Abrahamyan, Tatev wg USA 2329 . . . * ½ . . . . . ½ 2228
5. Ni, Viktorija wm USA 2228 . . . ½ * . . . . . ½ 2329
6. Melekhina, Alisa f USA 2242 . . . . . * ½ . . . ½ 2224
7. Zenyuk, Iryna USA 2224 . . . . . ½ * . . . ½ 2242
8. Foisor, Sabina-Francesca wg USA 2364 . . 0 . . . . * . . 0
9. Baginskaite, Camilla wg USA 2358 . 0 . . . . . . * . 0
10. Kats, Alena wf USA 2137 0 . . . . . . . . * 0
Round 1 (May 8, 2012)
Zatonskih, Anna - Kats, Alena 1-0 33 D11 Slav Defence
Goletiani, Rusudan - Baginskaite, Camilla 1-0 36 A13 Reti Opening
Krush, Irina - Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 1-0 41 B14 Caro Kann Panov
Ni, Viktorija - Abrahamyan, Tatev ½-½ 68 A57 Volga Gambit
Zenyuk, Iryna - Melekhina, Alisa ½-½ 67 D34 Tarrasch Defence, Main Line

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