2007 U.S. Open (Cherry Hill, New Jersey)

The 108th version of the U.S. Open began on July 28th with four schedules. Amon Simutowe is currently on 4-0 in the traditional schedule. Hikaru Nakamura and U.S. champ Alexander Shabalov are expected to play in the 5-day schedule.

The U.S. Open is not the premier U.S. tournament and many of the top Grandmasters are not present. Besides Nakamura, Sergey Kudrin leads a field of about 400 players.

The U.S. Open is also host to the United States Chess Federation’s committee sessions and workshops. It is also during this tournament that both the Arnold Denker Tournament of Champions and the Susan Polgar Championship for Girls tournaments are running. This tournament features the male and female high school champions from each state and features up-and-coming stars. Jimmy Canty III of Detroit, Michigan and Darrian Robinson of Brooklyn, NY are making their debuts.

Drum Reports (The Chess Drum)

Daaim Shabazz, “2007 U.S. Open: 5-way tie on “D-Day,” 6 August 2007.

Daaim Shabazz, “2007 U.S. Open: 3-way tie for 1st after seven,” 4 August 2007.

Daaim Shabazz, “2007 U.S. Open: Simutowe upsets Nakamura!” 4 August 2007.

Daaim Shabazz, “2007 U.S. Open: Simutowe leads with 5-0!” 2 August 2007.


  1. All is well in Cherry Hill… currrently Amon is undefeated with 5 pts. .James Canty III currently has 3 out 4 in the Denker tournament. In the game he lost to Warren Harper, he felt he had good winning chances , until a few inaccuracies. I didn’t get a chance to see Darrian Robinson today.. I will update tomorrow…

  2. Games from the U.S. Open (monroi.com)

    IM Amon Simutowe takes advantage of an oversight

    GM Sergey Kudrin beat Maxx Coleman in an exciting game

    FM Enkhbat Tegshsuren tames the young FM Tony Cao

    IM Justin Sarkar surgically dismantles Ryan Milisits

    GM Arthur Bisguier, a top American player of the 1950s is playing, but with a 2213 USCF rating, he merely plays for enjoyment. Some of the players at the U.S. Open have been playing in these tournament for decades. GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Shabalov and Boris Gulko are playing as well as IM Benjamin Finegold and Philly legend FM Norman “Pete” Rogers.

    The field is rather weak with only a handful of Grandmasters, so many players will have a chance for a scalp. IM Amon Simutowe leads the tournament with five, but he will no doubt have a date with one of the top GMs.

  3. Simutowe plays Nakamura in round 6. These two have developed quite a rivalry at the Internet Chess Club (ICC) playing tons of games of blitz. The “Zambezi Shark” has won his share. This is live from ICC.

    IM_Simutowe – GM_Nakamura [A89]

    1.d4 f5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.e4 f4 11.gxf4 exf4 12.Bxf4 Nxe4!?

     13.Qc1 e5 14.Be3 Nd6 15.Bg5 Qe8 16.Nb5 Rf7 17.Nxd6 cxd6 18.c5 dxc5 19.Qxc5

    19… b6 20.Qc4 Bb7 21.Bh3 Kh8 22.Be6 Rf5 23.Qh4 Qb5 24.a4 Qxb2 25.Rac1

    25… Qb3 26.Rc7 Bxd5 27.Rxg7!

    27… Rxg5+ [27…Kxg7 28.Qh6+ (Also 28.Bh6+ Kh8 29.Qe7 mating) 28…Kh8 29.Bxf5 with a mating attack] 28.Qxg5 Bxe6 29.Qf6


    Powerful performance by Simutowe! See Simutowe-Nakamura here!

    Photos coming!

  4. Hello everyone… I see you have the good news… Simutowe knocked off Nakamura… so now it seems he will have to play the winner of the Finegold-Sarkar game.. Norman “Pete” Rogers has 4 out of 6, naturally playing solid as usual… James Canty III has 5 out of 6 in the Denker tournament. So from here on in, everyone has one game a day until sunday… I have pics I will send …feel free to comment.

    Simutowe on the move against Nakamura.
    (Photo by Michael Williams)
  5. At Chess Life Online Jennifer Shahade offers 25……Qd4 for Nakamura. According to Fritz 8 this does not alleviate his problems: 26.Rfd1 Qxh4 27. Bxh4 Rf4 28. Bg5 Rf3 29. Rc7 h6 30. Be7 Rb8 31. Bd6 Bf6 32. Rdc1 Bxd5 33.Bxd5 Rd3 and white has a decisive advantage.

  6. I chatted with Amon on the ICC a long time last night and he feels confident, but is not thinking about the norm so much. It is a longshot and I’m not even sure it is possible given his earlier competition. He said that he had been putting too much pressure on himself and will just relax and play chess.

    I believe it is safe to say that this game got out of hand for Hikaru and he was caught ‘flat-footed.’ After 21.Bh3, I felt Amon was going to win. I looked at Jennifer Shahade’s 25… Qd4 after the game and it did not look convincing.

    This game also showed us two things (1) Hikaru’s continued problems in the opening and (2) Amon’s deft handling of complex positions… especially with two bishops. I believe people will take notice and in his remaining three rounds, he has a chance to secure his best result in a long time.

  7. It’s great to see Amon Simutowe gaining form and peak perfomance at this juncture. After all the Africa Individual to be held in Namibia at the end of August is the ultimate encounter for him. It will be the gateway to a berth with the best in the world (world championship qualifier). This pathway missed this talent!
    Amon’s sterling display of chess power comes at a perfect timing. Rumour has it that the perfomance by the Zambia team at the All Africa, had many of his detractors claiming he can no longer rule the roost back home. They MUST be eating humble pie!
    Well, soothsayers who never knew this man’s stature only have to look back at his teenage years. He had the knack of silencing his critics, letting the pieces do the talking! GO AMON!
    I perfectly concur with the sentiment that “openly” chasing the sometimes ellusive 3rd norm can become a distraction. Take it game by game, one move at a time!

  8. 7th round update: It was asked by a player on the ICC when was the last time there been two IMs leading the U.S. Open in the 7th round. No doubt it is a rare occurrence, but both of these players acted like Grandmasters by agreeing to a 9-move draw. There was a pre-game strategy being acted out.

    Simutowe had look at Finegold’s games and notice he played 1…e5 back in 2005. He didn’t look at that game and was surprised when Finegold played it! They went into a Four Knights Game 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 IM Dean Ippolito and prepared 4.Bb4!? They followed with 5.Nxe5 Qe7 6.Nxc6 Qxe4 7.Qe2 dxc6 8.Bd2 Qxe2 9.Bxe2 Be6 ½-½

    Simutowe waiting to begin game with Finegold.
    (Photo by Michael Williams)

    Both Simutowe and Finegold are on a sparkling 6½-½ while GM Alexander Shabalov is playing a red-hot WFM Alisa Melekhina and GM Hikaru Nakamura is looking to get back on the winning track against MacKenzie Molner. GM Boris Gulko no doubt took a bye due to his religious obligations.

  9. Jackie,

    What a pitiful shape we are in. It is depressing that some will make something negative out of something positive. I hope it was only friendly banter. The positive spin is to think what could have occurred if Simutowe had played top board for Zambia! Zambia’s bronze medal at the All-Africa Games and Simutowe’s U.S. Open performance should be rejoiced around the continent as a triumph in African ingenuity and resourcefulness. In the very near future, Simutowe will have earned the title of Grandmaster. Damn those detractors and may their tongues be cleft to the roof of their mouths!

  10. As it stands Darrian Robinson finished with 3 out of 6 in the Polgar tournament. She currently has 4 out of 7 in the US OPEN. James Canty III finished with 4 out of 6 in the Denker tournament but due to his age and score, he is foster eligible.
    (thats a good thing!)

    Pete Rogers has 5 out 7. And of course Amon tied for first with 6.5 out of 7.

  11. On Detroit’s Jimmy Canty III… he actually qualified for the Denker tournament last year, but couldn’t participate because he was not yet in high school! I interviewed him last year as well. I was also told yesterday in a phone conversation with Negash Bezaleel that Canty and his father came through Atlanta and stopped by the chess club. Bezaleel, a 2100-player, was highly impressed and feels that he is Grandmaster material.

    Below is a picture from Susan Polgar’s blog taken by Paul Truong.

    Darrian Robinson (top left) playing bughouse with teammate and last year’s Polgar winner Abby Marshall. They came in 2nd with 4-1 to Courtney Jamison and Sylvia Yang (pictured right).

  12. There were some exciting games today. Finegold-Nakamura was the crowdpleaser today with a complex array of tactics petering out to a technical draw. The key moment of the game began when Nakamura sacrificed a pawn in order to trap the white queen. His 16… Nd4!? caused spell-binding complications, but was based on tactical resources. After 16…Nd4!?, Finegold found the retort 17.Nxe5! and followed 17…Nxe4 18.Rxe4 Bf5. It appears as if all of white’s pieces are hanging.

    After a series of rapid exchanges, Finegold had two connected passers for the exchange. Click here to see how it ended!

    Simutowe unbeaten streak ended after losing to Shabalov. Giving the Sicilian a rest, the Zambian got a very solid position out of a Caro-Kann. Shabalov probed the position with his knights but Simutowe appeared safe (also with two steeds)… until he played 24…Nde7?? This clunker lost immediately to Shabalov’s 25.Nxf5 Nxf5 and then 26.d5! when black’s forces fall with a loud thud. (see game)

    GM Boris Gulko gave an instructive example of why you should not play the Smith-Morra against strong Grandmasters… you’ll lose! Gulko played this game with tremendous energy and refuted every tactical idea that IM Alex Lenderman threw at him. The tactics leading up to the end was stunning. What is an IM doing playing the Smith-Morra in any situation other than blitz? (see game)

    As this point, Finegold, Shabalov, Gulko and GM Sergey Kudrin lead the field with 7-1. GM Michael Rohde appears to be breaking through against IM Enrico Sevilliano which would also put him on 7-1. Nakamura and Simutowe are joint 2nd with 6½ along with seven others! Tomorrow will feature some interesting matchups, but there will certainly be at least one quick draw. 🙄

  13. Official Final Standings:

    IM Benjamin Finegold, GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Boris Gulko, GM Sergey Kudrin, GM Michael Rohde, IM Michael Mulyar, Anton del Mundo, 7½-1½.

    IM Amon Simutowe, GM Hikaru Nakamura, IM Dean Ippolito, IM Alex Lenderman, IM Mikhail Zlotnikov, FM Enkhbat Tegshsuren (three ½-point byes), FM Alexander Barnett, Ronald Henry, Abby Marshall, Andy May, Naor Brown (rated 1969!), 7-2.

    Polgar participant Abby Marshall (2038) closed the tournament by beating three Masters… FM John Bick, NM Victor Chen, NM Eric Rodriguez.

  14. I had a nice talk with Amon after the tournament.. He stated he got a little tired around the end of the tourney…He’s leaving the country tomorrow to play in the CMMB Caribbean Chess Championships. After that he’ll be back for a tourney in Miami around sept 26th…Let wish him luck and a safe travel.

    U.S.Open correspondent Michael Williams congratulating IM Amon Simutowe on his 7-2 2nd place performance.

  15. I’ll be at the Caribbean Chess Championship too… we’re on the same flight. I will be blogging, “photo-ing,” reporting… and playing! If we play, I will have to beat him. 😆


    Thanks for the reports on the US Open Michael. I’ll try to put some up and do a report when I get to Miami… I’m on the road at a hotel and their wireless Internet doesn’t work. 😐

  16. U.S.Open correspondent Michael Williams
    congratulating IM Amon Simutowe on his 7-2 2nd place performance.
    It should be tie for 8th place instead of 2nd place.

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