2005 US Chess Championship

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

Fire Blazing!

Leaving a blaze of fire from busted king positions was the order of the day in round three. All games in the lower half of the chart were decisive which gives evidence to the diverse elements of the tournament. In the old U.S. Championship, 10-12 players (most of who were friends) assembled and a torrent of draws followed. With the chess community losing interest in the tournament (which consisted of the same Russian émigrés and American legends), a change was needed from the boring annual routine. The revamped format was been a winner by all accounts. Whether the decisive results of this tournament demonstrate best play can be debated. However, it is without a doubt that organizer Erik Andersen is happy with the fighting play thus far.

In round three, Sergey Kudrin (pictured right) staked out his position as tournament leader with an exciting win over Ildar Ibragimov. Another complicated Ruy Lopez saw Ibragimov press for the attack, but Kudrin had already penetrated black's camp to disturb the full coordination of his pieces. In desperation, Ibragimov sacrificed a piece after which Kudrin sacrificed an exchange for one of the steamrolling pawns and wrapped up the point.

In another wild encounter involving
Julio Becerra, he and Igor Novikov had a bare-knuckled brawl involving a queen sacrifice and plenty of fireworks. Out of a Najdorf Sicilian, Becerra tried a common tactic, sacrificing a piece on the b5-square and sparks flew as pieces clashed violently.

Becerra uncorked a queen sacrifice with
22.Qxc8+ with the idea of advancing the a-pawn.  As  the pawn rolled up the board to the a7-square, play intensified, but Novikov found several brilliant replies to stop the pawn and win the game. Truly and exciting battle!

GM Sergey Kudrin

GM Sergey Kudrin

Other Cuban émigrés Renier Gonzalez (draw versus Varuzhan Akobian) and Lugo Blas (win versus Jesse Kraai) played interesting games while former U.S. Junior Champion, Marcel Martinez held Gata Kamsky. UMBC student Bruci Lopez played a tough game losing in 124 moves to Alexander Fishbein. There is something to be said about having such a support group and the Cubans are playing with a lot of confidence.

There were many interesting games featuring unique themes… several instructive rook and pawn endings, shocking sacrifices, brutal attacks, positional squeezes and yes… horrific blunders. One quick encounter was seen in Irina Krush's quick loss against  Tsagaan Battsetseg. Krush sacked a pawn for development but overlooked a neat tactical shot by the "Mongolian Terror."

In the diagrammed position, Battsetseg played 11… Nxf2! and after 12.Kxf2 Qh4+ 13.Kf1 Bxd4 white is busted. However, Krush missed her chance when Battsetseg got a bit too fancy with 15…Nc6 because after
16.Nf6+! White will maintain a material advantage. However, the game was interesting and provides a lesson in tactical alertness.

An alert Battsetseg plays 11.Nxf2!

An alert Battsetseg plays 11.Nxf2!

Several players got on the scoreboard including Stephen Muhammad with a nice win over Olga Sagalchik. Trotting out a Dutch defense, Muhammad established a formidable pawn center, invaded the queenside and then polished off his opponent with several devastating blows. He will face  Fabio La Rota in round four after the rest day on Saturday the 27th.

Round #3 Information Center

Selected Games

GM Sergey Kudrin - GM Ildar Ibragimov, 1-0
GM Julio Becerra - GM Igor Novikov, 0-1
IM Irina Krush - WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg, 0-1
GM Varuzhan Akobian - IM Renier Gonzalez, ˝-˝
WFM Olga Sagalchik - FM Stephen Muhammad, 0-1

PGN download (all 32 games)

The Chess Drum

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