2015 U.S. Chess Championships (Round #6)

2015 U.S. Chess Championship
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Round #6 (Tuesday, 7 April 2015)
Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Troff, Kayden W 3.0 2532 GM Sevian, Samuel 2.5 2531 0-1
2 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 4.0 2798 GM Shankland, Samuel L 2.0 2661 ½-½
3 GM Gareev, Timur 1.5 2604 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 1.0 2633 ½-½
4 GM Robson, Ray 3.0 2656 GM So, Wesley 3.5 2788 1-0
5 GM Onischuk, Alexander 2.5 2665 GM Kamsky, Gata 3.0 2683 1-0
6 GM Holt, Conrad 1.5 2530 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2.5 2622 1-0
Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 WCM Virkud, Apurva 2.5 2132 IM Goletiani, Rusudan 3.0 2311 0-1
2 WGM Sharevich, Anna 2.0 2267 GM Krush, Irina 3.5 2477 ½-½
3 WIM Wang, Annie 1.0 1901 IM Paikidze, Nazi 3.0 2333 ½-½
4 FM Melekhina, Alisa 2.0 2235 WIM Ni, Viktorija 2.0 2188 0-1
5 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2.5 2322 WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 3.0 2235 1-0
6 WFM Yu, Jennifer R 1.5 2180 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 4.0 2279 0-1
Games (Men, Women)

Round #6: Rock ’em, Sock ’em! Boards ablaze in St. Louis.

Today was perhaps the wildest round yet! There were mates on the board, blunders into losses, blunders into draws, interesting motifs, but it was the day of the rook. In the women’s section, the rook played a prominent role in all the decisive games including the thrilling battle of Sharevich-Krush.

Position after Sharevich’s 42.Rxg6+.

Throughout the game, Krush was in command and was moving the menacing pawns up the board towards glory. Looking at diagram on the right, Krush had played 41…Nd2 in order to promote the pawn to a new queen. The commentators were analyzing 42.Rd8 which would have lead to a spectacular draw after 42…Rxd8 43.e8(Q)+ (43.exd8(Q)+ transposes) Rxe8 44.Rxe8+ Qxe8 45.Qxe8+ Kg7 46.Qe5+ with a draw. So the fans went beserk when the camera showed Sharevich play 42.Rxg6+??

According to Sharevich, she had the idea of a perpetual draw in mind and Krush perhaps saw the same line, but could have snatched the full point with the unlikely 42…Bg7! What was strange was that Krush immediately took the rook and perhaps did not consider the winning move. A very disappointing game for Krush who had her share of chances, but continues to struggle to find her form. Sharevich gave her thoughts after the game and was surprised to learn that 42…Bg7 was winning for black!

Video by CCSCSL.

The marauding rooks showed up in Yu-Nemcova when the young junior walked into a mating net. The game followed a main line until Yu deviated with 9.Nxe5 instead of 9.Bg5 or 9.d5. As play wore on, it was clear that the tournament leader was in for a fight. Black systematically broke down white’s already broken pawn structure with a …g5, …f6 battering ram on the e-file.

After white’s 32.h4,
black to play and mate in four.

At this point, white panicked with 25.e6 when 25.Kf2 would have kept the game unclear. After 25…Bd7 26.Be4+ Kc8! (not 26…Kb8?? 27.exd7!+-), black was on top. After a series of trades, play on the e-file was telling. With leaks in her position, Yu tried holding her position together with 31.Rg1, but after 31…Re2, she blundered with the zeitnot 32.h4?? After 32…R8e3+ the black king walks the plank after 33.Kd4 c5+ 34.Kd5 Kc7 35.Rbd1 Re5#.

There have been several comments by women players about the temperamental play of women in general. Is this true? Are women more unstable in terms of chess decisions? Perhaps, but that may not be the only reason that the games in the women’s section have such volatility. On the other hand, Wang-Paikidze showed tremendous fighting spirit of the youngster in holding the draw after 102 moves.

One game that showed the difference between the seasoned player and the inexperienced was Virkud-Goletiani. White allowed black a dream position after 15…b5! followed by the ambitious 16…Bxd5! Black was firmly in control after that ultimately got a crushing rook attack on the queen-castled king. White’s kingside pieces were flat-footed the whole game.

Rusudan Goletiani may be back in business.
Video by CCSCSL.

In Melekhina-Ni, white faced an enterprising sacrifice that Ni said was prepared by her Belorussian husband Yury Shulman. At the least, it managed take white out of preparation. the 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 is sometimes met by the 3.Bb5+ line, but the game continued 3.Nc3 Nxd5 4.Bc4 c6 5.Qf3 Nd7!? a novelty. In ensuing play, it doesn’t appear that black has enough compensation for the pawn, but in the game, black slowly gains momentum. In trying to wade through the complications, Melekhina began to feel the pressure and overlooked the tactic 28…Qxe5 netting black a piece. In fact, black ended up getting a mating attack by (guess which piece) the rooks.

Finally Abrahamyan-Foisor was a positional Ruy Lopez where not even a pawn was traded until move 27. By move 35, two rooks and two minor pieces remained with six pawns for each side. White’s pieces were better placed. Black tried sacking a piece to loosen the vice grip on the position, but white’s pieces were well-mobilized and it would not be easy for white to trade off the pawns. White trapped the king on the 8th rank and the opposing monarch rushed to deliver the coup de grace.

In the men’s group, there were four decisive games with Robson-So being the headliner. The two young GMs were roommates at Webster University and battled in the final of the Millionaire Chess Open. Both took a combined $150,000 (So $100,000 – Robson $50,000) which was captured in a famous photo. However, it was all business today.

Wesley So has suddenly looked mortal.
Photo by Lennart Ootes.

The Berlin Defense was employed by So and they reached a very dynamic position with pairs of bishops zipping around the middle of the board like missiles. In a critical moment, black essayed the queen sally of 26…Qh4 after which white found the logical and probably necessary 27.Rxe5. While the engines, give a slight plus for black, white has more than enough compensation…three passed pawns to boot.

Ultimately, black had to give the exchange back for a pawn, but white had advanced the a-pawn deeply. In order to stop this pawn, black had to blockade with the rook and with 42.Bb7 it became entombed. Black resigned as the white king would merely walk over to the b6-square and force the rook to fall on the sword. So has had a rough going losing a second game and tumbling down the ELO ladder.

Nakamura-Shankland and Gareev-Naroditsky were relatively short draws reaching the minimum limit for moves played before a draw can be agreed. Troff-Sevian featured the future of American chess. Their game featured a very unbalanced position as youngsters these days seem to be eschewing positional principles for unbalanced complications. The game was totally insane. White sacrificed an exchange to get passed pawns rolling up the board, but black found some accurate moves to stop the pawn and forced simplification into a winning ending.

Interesting contrast of expressions for Nakamura.
Photo by Lennart Ootes.

Holt-Akobian saw a gross blunder, but this time it was not Holt who was the victim, but the victor. This game started out tamely and then exploded in the middlegame. Black’s king was fished out into the center of the board and Akobian hunkered down and clustered pieces around him. However, black overlooked a combination after Holt’s Petrosian-like 46.Qc1. Retreating moves are often the easiest to misunderstand and after 46…Rg6 white banged out 47.Re8+ Kf6 48.Qf4+ netting a piece. Black resigned a few moves later.

Onischuk-Kamsky was a game between two veterans and positional maestros. White ultimately got a grip on the position and kept increasing pressure. The game went into a double rook ending with white having the better pawns and king. In the end the passed e-pawn and white’s king were able to outmuscle the lone black rook and Onischuk was able to get the full point.

Official Site: https://www.uschesschamps.com/
Livestream: https://new.livestream.com/ccscsl/USChessChampionships
Chess24.com: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/us-championship-2015#live
Drum Coverage! https://www.thechessdrum.net/



Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.


  1. 2015 U.S. Chess Championship
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Standings (Overall)
    Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    1 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 5.0 M 2798 2793 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½
    2 GM Robson, Ray 5.0 M 2656 2794 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1
    3 GM So, Wesley 4.5 M 2788 2752 1 1 0 ½ 1 0 1
    4 GM Kamsky, Gata 4.0 M 2683 2685 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1
    5 GM Troff, Kayden W 4.0 M 2532 2664 0 1 ½ ½ 1 0 1
    6 GM Sevian, Samuel 4.0 M 2531 2724 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½
    7 GM Onischuk, Alexander 3.5 M 2665 2631 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0
    8 GM Shankland, Samuel L 3.5 M 2661 2653 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
    9 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2.5 M 2622 2515 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0
    10 GM Holt, Conrad 2.5 M 2530 2549 0 1 0 ½ 0 1 0
    11 GM Gareev, Timur 2.0 M 2604 2497 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0
    12 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 1.5 M 2633 2423 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0

    All PGN Games (Overall)

    2015 U.S. Chess Championship
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Standings (Women)
    Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    1 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 6.0 F 2279 2502 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1
    2 GM Krush, Irina 5.0 F 2477 2378 ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 1
    3 IM Paikidze, Nazi 4.5 F 2333 2322 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1
    4 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 4.0 F 2322 2217 0 0 1 1 ½ 1 ½
    5 IM Goletiani, Rusudan 4.0 F 2311 2323 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 0
    6 WGM Sharevich, Anna 3.5 F 2267 2286 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1
    7 WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 3.5 F 2235 2242 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 0 ½
    8 WIM Ni, Viktorija 3.5 F 2188 2264 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 1 ½
    9 WCM Virkud, Apurva 2.5 F 2132 2203 1 ½ 0 0 1 0 0
    10 FM Melekhina, Alisa 2.0 F 2235 2080 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 0
    11 WFM Yu, Jennifer R 2.0 F 2180 2038 0 1 ½ 0 0 0 ½
    12 WIM Wang, Annie 1.5 F 1901 2025 1 0 0 0 0 ½ 0
    All PGN Games (Women)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button