2007 U.S. Open: 3-way tie for 1st after seven

It was asked by a player at the Internet Chess Club when has there been two IMs leading the U.S. Open as late as the 7th round. No doubt it is a rare occurrence, but both Amon Simutowe and Benjamin Finegold acted like Grandmasters by agreeing to a 9-move draw. There was a pre-game strategy being acted out. Simutowe had looked at Finegold's games and had prepared specifically for the Sicilian. He did notice that Finegold played 1e5 back in 2005, but didn't look at that game. Thus, he was surprised when Finegold played 1e5! Simtuowe played 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3!? thinking that maybe a Petroff was in the offing.

Afterwards, Simutowe told The Chess Drum he should have responded with the usual 2.Nf3 followed by 3.d4 (Scotch). They went into a Four Knights Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6) and after the queens came off, they agreed to a draw to the disappointment of fans at the ICC. Finegold mentioned to Simutowe that he had seen his game with Ippolito and prepared 4.Bb4!? Black quickly equalized and a quick draw was agreed.

FM Enkhbat Tegshsuren has joined the other non-GM leaders with 6 while an esteemed group of seven players are on 6-1 (including five GMs). GM Alexander Shabalov overpowered upstart WFM Alisa Melekhina while GM Hikaru Nakamura got back on the winning track after his opponent inexplicably dropped a piece. It appears as the winner of the 2007 U.S. Open will have to score 8/9.

Monroi is providing
live coverage and Jennifer Shahade is filing reports at uschess.org. Coverage and blogging available at The Chess Drum.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 4 August 2007

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