While Alejandro Ramirez may have been the crowd favorite, his career tournament would not end with a fitting ending. Ramirez had talled a strong 6.5/9 along with Gata Kamsky, but Kamsky won the Armageddon game convincingly to win the 2013 U.S. Championship. The first two games were hard-fought but petered out into textbook rook and pawn endings. This included a rare stalemating tactic in game two.
Leading up to the Armageddon game, the intensity in the hall was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. There was a pitched silence as many spectators (including many of the participants) were anticipating the final showdown. Ramirez sat at the board meditating on the most important moment of his chess career. As the time approaches, Kamsky entered the room and the two shook hands.
Alejandro Ramirez waits…
Now Kamsky waits.
The game was another English and similar to game one, but in this Kamsky had a much tighter grip on the position and initiated with 25. f5 Bxd5 26. exd5 Ne5, tightened the grip with 27. Nb4 and collected a pawn with 27…Qa5 28. Bxc5 dxc5 29. Rxc5. Despite being two pawns down Ramirez stayed the course and was able to steer the game into an opposite-colored bishop ending. However, he lost another pawn and with white pawns on c- and h-files became too much to contend with. The game ended with the snappy 51.Rxe5! when on 51…Kxe5 52.c7 black resigned due to 52…Rc4 and 53. h7! Kamsky actually told Ramirez that at some point he was a tempo short of drawing in the ending! The move …e5 spoiled that chance. Thrilling battle!
Ramirez resigns. Kamsky is the new U.S. Champion!
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
|1||Kamsky, G||6.5||2741||GM Ramirez, A||6.5||2551||½-½|
|2||GM Ramirez, A||7.0||2551||Kamsky, G||7.0||2741||½-½|
|3||Kamsky, G||7.5||2741||GM Ramirez, A||7.5||2551||1-0|
Ramirez had become a crowd favorite as he acknowledged in a post-tournament interview that the support of his friends such as FM Elliott Liu and WGM Tatev Abrahamyan helped him tremendously. Liu was posting fun photos on Facebook and it appeared that Ramirez was enjoying himself in their outings. 😎
Ramirez mentioned that the tournaments where there is a good social atmosphere are the ones where he excels. Nevertheless, it was the best tournament that the Costa Rican native has had in his career and $20,000 prize is more than he’s ever won. Ramirez’s performance caps off what was a wonderful showing of young stars in the 2013 U.S. Championship.
GM Alejandro Ramirez receives prize from Rex and Jeannie Sinquefield.
The groundswell of U.S. talent as a result of scholastic chess has created an inertia that is certain to produce strong GM-level talent for years to come! In the 1980s and 1900s a cadre of Soviet emigres came to the U.S. and dominated. That curtain is closing, but what has resulted is these players functioning as coaches and imparting a wealth of talent. Certainly the next Fischer or Nakamura is emerging as we speak, but this tournament was won by a world class veteran. Maybe next year!
Gata Kamsky receives his check for US$30,000
for winning the U.S. Championship!
In the women’s championship, Irina Krush won her fifth title, successfully defending her title from last year. She beat out her main rival Anna Zatonskih and both have traded titles for the last eight years.
IM Irina Krush speaks about her championship run.
Photos by Daaim Shabazz.
GM Maurice Ashley told The Chess Drum in an interview that this is likened to the Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova rivalry and perhaps in the future we will see new stars emerge. It seems not long ago that Krush was a young teen selling her autographed cards at the World Open, but she has turned into a dominant force in women’s chess and hopefully she will decide to enter the open field to raise the expectations and standards of women’s play.
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
|1||GM Kamsky, Gata||6.5||M||2741||2733||1||1||1||1||½||½||½||½||½|
|2||GM Ramirez, Alejandro||6.5||M||2551||2737||½||1||0||1||1||1||½||½||1|
|3||GM Onischuk, Alexander||6.0||M||2666||2670||½||½||1||1||1||½||½||½||½|
|4||GM Gareev, Timur||6.0||M||2674||2690||1||0||½||½||1||½||1||½||1|
|5||GM Holt, Conrad||5.5||M||2513||2679||1||½||1||0||½||1||½||1||0|
|6||GM Christiansen, Larry M||5.0||M||2579||2623||1||1||0||1||0||0||1||1||0|
|7||GM Shabalov, Alexander||5.0||M||2544||2626||0||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||1|
|8||GM Robson, Ray||5.0||M||2620||2613||½||0||0||1||1||1||0||1||½|
|9||IM Troff, Kayden W||5.0||M||2421||2614||1||0||0||½||1||½||½||1||½|
|10||GM Benjamin, Joel||5.0||M||2534||2644||½||1||½||1||½||0||1||0||½|
|11||GM Akobian, Varuzhan||5.0||M||2616||2554||½||½||1||0||½||½||0||1||1|
|13||GM Shankland, Samuel L||4.5||M||2612||2521||0||½||1||1||0||½||1||0||½|
|14||GM Kaidanov, Gregory S||4.0||M||2593||2457||1||½||0||½||½||½||½||½||0|
|15||GM Shulman, Yury||4.0||M||2570||2484||½||½||½||½||½||0||0||½||1|
|16||GM Finegold, Benjamin||4.0||M||2505||2522||½||½||0||0||½||1||1||½||0|
|17||FM Sevian, Samuel||4.0||M||2371||2474||½||½||0||½||0||½||1||½||½|
|18||GM Hess, Robert L||4.0||M||2595||2460||½||0||½||0||1||0||½||1||½|
|19||FM Bryant, John Daniel||3.5||M||2442||2471||½||1||1||0||½||½||0||0||0|
|20||GM Ivanov, Alexander||3.0||M||2529||2408||½||0||0||½||½||0||0||½||1|
|21||GM Arnold, Marc T||3.0||M||2538||2425||0||½||0||0||0||½||1||½||½|
|22||FM Sammour-Hasbun, J||3.0||M||2463||2422||0||0||1||½||0||1||½||0||0|
|23||GM Khachiyan, Melikset||3.0||M||2518||2431||½||½||½||½||0||0||0||½||½|
|24||GM Stripunsky, Alexander||3.0||M||2570||2415||0||½||1||0||1||½||0||0||0|
|1||IM Krush, Irina||8.0||F||2470||2613||1||1||1||1||1||½||1||1||½|
|2||IM Zatonskih, Anna||7.5||F||2466||2535||1||1||0||1||½||1||1||1||1|
|3||WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev||6.5||F||2280||2446||1||1||½||1||½||1||½||0||1|
|4||WIM Zenyuk, Iryna||4.5||F||2243||2285||1||0||1||0||½||½||1||0||½|
|5||WGM Baginskaite, Camilla||4.5||F||2278||2281||½||0||1||½||½||0||½||1||½|
|6||WGM Foisor, Sabina||3.5||F||2300||2198||0||0||0||1||1||½||0||1||0|
|7||WGM Belakovskaia, A||3.0||F||2263||2157||0||1||1||0||0||0||½||0||½|
|8||WFM Kats, Alena||3.0||F||2144||2171||0||½||½||½||0||½||0||1||0|
|9||WFM Chiang, Sarah||2.5||F||2098||2130||0||0||0||0||0||1||½||0||1|
|10||WIM Ni, Viktorija||2.0||F||2262||2062||½||½||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|