2014 U.S. Championships: Krush continues rampage

2014 U.S. Chess Championship
USA USA USA
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Round #5 (Monday, 12 May 2013)
Overall
Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Friedel, Joshua E 1.5 2505 GM Onischuk, Alexander 2.5 2668 ½-½
2 GM Gareev, Timur 3.0 2653 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2.0 2643 0-1
3 GM Ramirez, Alejandro 1.5 2595 GM Molner, Mackenzie 1.5 2522 1-0
4 GM Robson, Ray 2.0 2631 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 1.5 2543 0-1
5 GM Erenburg, Sergey 1.0 2633 GM Lenderman, Aleksandr 3.5 2582 ½-½
6 GM Shankland, Samuel L 1.5 2634 GM Kamsky, Gata 2.5 2713 ½-½
Games

What an exciting day at the U.S. Championships! There were some exciting encounters, particularly in the Women’s field.

Gata Kamsky stated there may be a new U.S. Champion. Don’t bet on it.

In the main championship, three decisive games were seen as the fighting vigor has picked up steam. Shankland-Kamsky and Friedel-Onischuk were nothing special while Erenburg-Lenderman drew in an exciting Sicilian Richter-Rauzer. Akobian was able to squeeze a win in a rook ending after Gareev made a terrible misjudgement.

Ramirez got the win in a funny conclusion. The black king has marched up the board to aid in raiding the kingside only to be entombed by his own pieces. However, 43…Kh3 resulted in an amusing finish after 44.a4 Qg4 45.Qc5 Bf4 46.Qf2! After 46…Bg3, Molner resigned before allowing Ramirez to play 47.Ng1 checkmate!

Robson has fallen on hard times with his second loss in a row after he played a novelty in the Berlin Defense 6.Ba4. White appeared to get adequate play as he controlled the e-file. However, as time wore on the marauding white rook actually got caught in a net. Instead of losing a rook, white decided to donate the knight instead, but the result was clear. Even Robson’s attempt at a “crazy rook” was nothing but a humorous self-deprecation.

2014 U.S. Chess Championship
USA USA USA
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Round #4 (Monday, 12 May 2013)
Women
Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Krush, Irina 2.5 2489 WGM Baginskaite, Camilla 0.5 2267 1-0
2 FM Melekhina, Alisa 1.0 2151 NM Eswaran, Ashritha 2.0 1979 ½-½
3 IM Zatonskih, Anna 2.5 2469 WIM Ni, Viktorija 0.5 2206 ½-½
4 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 0.5 2282 WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 2.0 2238 1-0
5 WIM Zenyuk, Iryna 1.5 2249 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2.0 2366 ½-½
Games

Krush-Baginskaite was simply a rout by any other name. The opening was normal, but black started to wander after 16…Be4?! The game would be over swiftly after 17.Bxe4 dxe4 18.Rd5 Qc8 19.Ng5. Baginskaite had to choose between two moves… 19…h6 and 19…f6. The former runs into 20.Qh5 hxg5 21.Rxg5 Be5 22.Bxe5 Nxe5 23.Rxe5 netting a pawn. This was not nearly as bad as the text 19…f6 which is noticeably worse after 20.Rd7.

Krush delivered the finishing blow 23.Bxf6! forcing resignation. If Baginskaite would have continued, there was a choice of three delectable mates. Either… 23…Rg8 24.Qh5 Qf5 (24…h6 25.Qxh6# Ashley pointed out) 25.Nf7# or 25.Qxh7+ Qxh7 26.Nf7# (Jennifer’s and Irina’s choice).

Now the light squares are indefensible. Krush who claimed not to be a good attacking player, sacrificed a rook with 21.Qh5! Qxd7 22.Qf7+ Kh8 23.Bxf6! and it’s done. The commentators were discussing which mates are the most aesthetically-pleasing. Of course the “smothered mate” is a favorite of many and this was demonstrated with gusto. Seirawan even shared a story of learning the smothered mate (with the queen sacrifice) as a boy. Certainly not a joking matter for black, but Krush seemed to revel is the opportunity to get such a rare finish. Yasser Seirawan seemed appalled as the sadistic idea that both Krush and Jennifer Shahade would prolong mate one move because of the aesthetic beauty. Quite hostile or maybe “Hostel“. 🙂

Nemcova played the scintillating 26.Ne4!! after 26…dxe4, white finished the game with a nice flurry after 27.Rxg6! Kxg6 28.Rg1+ Kh7 29.Qxf6 and black is mated.

The other beauty was Nemcova-Foisor out of a dubious Modern Defense. The sacrifice after 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d5?! 4. exd5 Nf6 5. Bc4 was simply bad. White held onto the pawn it ultimately became the battering ram in white’s virulent attack with 19.d6! A beautiful finish came after 25.Rg1+ Bg6 26.Ne4! After 26…dxe4, the coup de grace with the boomshot 27.Rxg6! Kxg6 28.Rg1+ Kh7 29.Qxf6 and mate is inevitable.

Viktorija Ni blew a great opportunity to get her first win against Anna Zatonskih after winning the opening battle with active play. Black simply stole a pawn with 13.Rxd5 and later won a queen for two pieces, but was unable to create more weaknesses before white set up a fortress.

2014 U.S. Chess Championship

A near-miss for Viktorija Ni who had Anna Zatonskih busted.
Photos by Lennart Ootes.

Ashritha Eswaran missed another opportunity after getting a big advantage against Alisa Melekhina’s Grand Prix Attack. The junior player shredded white’s plan and after 17…b5 was completely winning. However, black got a bit overzealous, grabbed the weak d3-pawn, but allowed white to liquidate into a rook ending. Rook endings are the most common in chess and many of them are drawn… even cases when there is a two pawn deficit.

Instead of bringing her king over to the queenside and free the rook, Eswaran tried to push the pawns and allowed white to attack the kingside pawns. Despite the advanced passed pawn, black could not advance without preventing white from gaining an unstoppable passed pawn. Disappointing for Eswaran, but the result is not a bad one, but a win would have put her into clear 2nd.

Catch live commentary of the event with GMs Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade at www.uschesschamps.com/live.

Official Site: https://www.uschesschamps.com/
Drum Coverage: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2014/05/09/2014-u-s-championships-st-louis-usa/

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

One Comment

  1. 2014 U.S. Chess Championship
    USA USA USA
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Standings (Overall)
    Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR W-We 1 2 3 4 5
    1 GM Lenderman, Aleksandr 4.0 M 2582 2843 +1.65 1 ½ 1 1 ½
    2 GM Kamsky, Gata 3.0 M 2713 2701 -0.07 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½
    3 GM Onischuk, Alexander 3.0 M 2668 2659 -0.05 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½
    4 GM Gareev, Timur 3.0 M 2653 2673 +0.14 ½ ½ 1 1 0
    5 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 3.0 M 2643 2650 +0.05 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
    6 GM Ramirez, Alejandro 2.5 M 2595 2599 +0.02 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1
    7 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 2.5 M 2543 2605 +0.43 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1
    8 GM Shankland, Samuel L 2.0 M 2634 2576 -0.39 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½
    9 GM Robson, Ray 2.0 M 2631 2549 -0.58 1 ½ ½ 0 0
    10 GM Friedel, Joshua E 2.0 M 2505 2520 +0.09 0 ½ ½ ½ ½
    11 GM Erenburg, Sergey 1.5 M 2633 2497 -0.91 0 ½ ½ 0 ½
    12 GM Molner, Mackenzie 1.5 M 2522 2464 -0.38 ½ ½ ½ 0 0
    All PGN Games (Overall)

    2014 U.S. Chess Championship
    USA USA USA
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Women
    Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR W-We 1 2 3 4
    1 GM Krush, Irina 3.5 F 2489 2570 +0.26 1 1 ½ 1
    2 IM Zatonskih, Anna 3.0 F 2469 2458 -0.03 ½ 1 1 ½
    3 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2.5 F 2366 2383 +0.09 1 0 1 ½
    4 NM Eswaran, Ashritha 2.5 F 1979 2333 +1.75 1 0 1 ½
    5 WIM Zenyuk, Iryna 2.0 F 2249 2402 +0.79 ½ ½ ½ ½
    6 WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 2.0 F 2238 2292 +0.27 1 1 0 0
    7 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 1.5 F 2282 2249 -0.22 0 ½ 0 1
    8 FM Melekhina, Alisa 1.5 F 2151 2110 -0.26 0 0 1 ½
    9 WIM Ni, Viktorija 1.0 F 2206 2024 -0.97 0 ½ 0 ½
    10 WGM Baginskaite, Camilla 0.5 F 2267 1906 -1.68 0 ½ 0 0
    All PGN Games (Women)

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