2007 U.S. Open: 5-way tie on "D-Day"

The U.S. Open is shaping up into a predictable ending. All five Grandmasters are fighting at or near the top with the IMs in tow. Actually IM Ben Finegold is tied at 7-1 with four GMs going into the last round. Both he and Hikaru Nakamura played one of the most exciting games thus far.

Nakamura did not repeat his Dutch experiment which ended in disaster against Simutowe and trotted out the King's Indian. In a typical struggle for space, Finegold advanced on the queenside and seemed to get the better of the opening after Nakamura sacrificed a pawn. However, Nakamura had an interesting idea of  16 Nd4!? which brought dazzling complications and appeared to trap white's queen. Finegold fought back with 17.Nxe5! Followed by 17Nxe4!? 18.Rxe4 Bf5. (see diagram) Several of white's pieces are being hit either directly or indirectly, but Finegold was able to find his way through the maze of tactics and get two connected pawns for the exchange. The game eventually found a dynamic equality and a truce was made. (see game)

White under fire after Nakamura's 18Bf5

On board #2, the red-hot IM Amon Simutowe had the black pieces against the ever-dangerous GM Alexander Shabalov. He tested his Caro-Kann against Shabalov's aggressive style. While Shabalov did not play the g4-line, he got a good position. He nurtured a spatial advantage, but Simutowe was rock solid with knights and d5 and f5.  Shabalov continued to probe and started to direct pieces on the kingside.  After 24.Ne3, Shabalov wanted to open the f-file and launch an attack and Simutowe played 24Nde7?? Losing immediately to 25.Nxf5 Nxf5 26.d5! All of a sudden black's position was in total ruin. Simutowe resigned a few moves later.  (see game)

In other action,
GM Boris Gulko gave IM Alex Lenderman a lesson in why the Smith-Morra Gambit should not be played at this level. (see game) The tactics leading up to the end was stunning.  As this point, Finegold, Shabalov, Gulko, GM Sergey Kudrin and GM Michael Rohde  lead the field with 7-1. Nakamura and Simutowe are joint 2nd with 6 along with seven others!

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: 5 August 2007

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