2005 US Chess Championship

Round One
1   IM Jesse Kraai  
  GM Gata Kamsky
2   GM Gregory Kaidanov  
  FM Tegshuren Enkhbat
3   IM Irina Krush  
  GM Alexander Goldin
4   GM Boris Gulko  
  FM Marcel Martinez
5   FM Joshua Friedel  
  GM Igor Novikov
6   GM Alexander Shabalov  
  WGM Anna Zatonskih
7   FM Lev Milman  
  GM Alexander Onischuk
8   GM Hikaru Nakamura  
  FM Stephen Muhammad
9   GM Anatoly Lein  
  GM Ildar Ibragimov
10   GM Varuzhan Akobian  
  IM Ron Burnett
11   FM Dmitry Zilberstein  
  GM Alex Yermolinsky
12   GM Alex Stripunsky  
  Salijus Bercys
13   FM Bruci Lopez  
  GM Alexander Ivanov
14   GM Nick DeFirmian  
  IM Blas Lugo
15   FM Matt Hoekstra  
  IM Ben Finegold
16   GM Joel Benjamin  
  FM Robby Adamson
17   WGM Rusudan Goletiani  
  GM Larry Christiansen
18   GM Sergey Kudrin  
  WIM Jennifer Shahade
19   FM Fabio La Rota  
  GM Gregory Serper
20   GM Aleks Wojtkiewicz  
  FM Michael Casella
21   Jake Kleiman  
  GM Yury Shulman
22   GM Julio Becerra  
  WFM Tatev Abrahamyan
23   WIM Anna Hahn  
  IM Eugene Perelshteyn
24   GM Alexander Fishbein  
  WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg
25   WFM Laura Ross  
  GM Dmitry Gurevich
26   IM Levon Altounian  
  WIM Esther Epstein
27   WFM Olga Sagalchik  
  IM Cyrus Lakdawala
28   IM Renier Gonzalez  
  Chouchanik Airapetian
29   Vanessa West  
  IM Yury Lapshun
30   GM Walter Browne  
  WFM Anna Levina
31   Iryna Zenyuk  
  IM Stanislav Kriventsov
32   IM Dmitry Schneider  
  Tatiana Vayserberg

Let  the Games Begin!

As in the first round of the last U.S. Championship, there was a major upset (
GM Walter Browne lost to then-WFM Cindy Tsai). This upset featured the fall of the reigning U.S. champion, Alexander Shabalov. Anna Zatonskih took the upset crown this round in defeating the champion. In a swashbuckling Advanced French, pieces whizzed across the board with amazing alacrity and a fascinating display of tactical warfare was in store. Shabalov threw down the gauntlet and "bumrushed" Anna's king by sacrificing piece after piece. However, he miscalculated and had to try to salvage a perpetual check only to have to face the mating of his own king. After the game, Zatonskih stated, "By the way, it's the first time I've ever beaten an opponent rated over 2600! I got a couple draws, but this is the first win."  Certainly there will be more upsets to come.

Hikaru Nakamura faces off against Stephen Muhammad in round 1 of the 2005 U.S. Chess Championship. Photo by John Henderson.

Hikaru Nakamura faces off against Stephen Muhammad in round 1 of the 2005 U.S. Chess Championship. Photo by U.S. Chessmaster Championships.

Many  games in the first round were  not well-played. Several games ended in one-sided encounters, early resignations and hung pieces.  Chouchanik Airapetian tossed a piece on move 14 to Renier Gonzalez while Marcel Martinez was in a philanthropic mood by donating a clear piece to GM Boris Gulko. Of course, nerves are a factor. One of the most watched games of the round was GM Hikaru Nakamura versus IM-elect Stephen Muhammad.  The game was a Ruy Lopez that appeared slightly better for white in the opening.

After Nakamura's 17.Bf5?! Muhammad held a nice position after 17…Nxe3! with favorable complications. Muhammad decided to consolidate with 19…Bd6 instead of the provocative 19…Nxb2!? 20.Re8+ Kc7 21.Rxa8 Bxa8 22.Rxa5 c4 23.Bxb2 Kb6 24.Rxa8 Bc5+ with good chances for black. However, black had a good position after
20…Kc7, but was unable to take advantage of Nakamura's retarded pieces… the position became dead even. Muhammad, who rarely gets into time pressure, was bit my the bug and played the fateful 27…Rb8?? Nakamura, who was playing quickly, played 28.Rxd6 which would net a piece. Muhammad resigned.

Battles of the Sexes?

In round two, grandmasters will begin to face each other and one can expect some early draws and more upsets on the lower tables. Despite Zatonskih's win over Shabalov and the main site's touting of the "Battle of the Sexes," female players were abused in the first round… scoring  2-11 in the first round. It would be unfair to the women of this tournament to bill this as any type of gender battle. It puts undue pressure on them when they are already out-rated by 300-600 points in many cases. Let them play chess.

Round #1 Information Center

Selected Games

GM Alexander Shabalov - WGM Anna Zatonskih, 0-1
GM Hikaru Nakamura - FM Stephen Muhammad, 1-0
GM Varuzhan Akobian - IM Ronald Burnett, 1-0
IM Irina Krush - GM Alexander Goldin, 0-1
FM Josh Friedel - GM Igor Novikov, 0-1
GM Nick DeFirmian - IM Blas Lugo, 1-0

PGN download (all 32 games)

The Chess Drum

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