2005 US Chess Championship

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

Nakamura shares lead… nice win over DeFirmian

Hikaru Nakamura is an odd-on favorite to record his first U.S. Championship.  In a surprise twist, Nakamura trotted out the Center Counter defense which perhaps made the hours of preparation by DeFirmian go to waste. Both of these players have a no-nonsense, no-draw mentality and this would certainly be an interesting fight.

This game appeared to be headed toward a level score when Nakamura uncorked an exchange sacrifice to get two steamrolling pawns moving. In the diagrammed position, black played
30…Rxe5! 31.fxe5 f4. The white rook was helpless to the advancing pawns and while the black knight probed white's position. Perhaps in a fit of panic or shock, DeFirmian dropped his queen in a completely lost position.

In DeFirmian-Nakamura, black played 30… Rxe5!

In DeFirmian-Nakamura, black played 30… Rxe5!

Alexander Stripunsky played very nicely winning against the tough Gregory Kaidanov… with what appeared to be a rather innocuous opening. Kaidanov pushed for the advantage, but overextended his pawns. He ended up with a pawn deficit with others ready to fall. In a nice display of technique in a rook and pawn ending, Stripunsky won the point and a share of the lead with Nakamara and Sergey Kudrin at 3½-½.

Gata Kamsky got into the winner's circle with a win over Yury Lapshun. The chess world is watching Kamsky very closely and this win will heighten excitement. His first three games have been lackluster due to the caution in which he is playing. He stated in a blogging session, "I'm still playing terribly, trying not to make mistakes. Playing like that there's always a chance you'll miss something exciting."

In fact, Kamsky DID miss something. He points out, "I was just putting pieces in pretty positions today, hoping he'd make a mistake somewhere. He played the opening well, but then started slipping. Instead of 39...Kh8?? he should have taken on e3, sacrificing the queen. The variation went 39...Qxe3 40.fxe3 Rxe4 41.Qd7+ R8e7 42.Qxd6 Bg5! OMG !!!"

It appears that both the chess world AND the players at the U.S. Championship are watching the progress of Kamsky. Six-time U.S. champion Walter Browne made an observation:

"Gata Kamsky has had 3 tough draws and hopefully will start winning soon because his presence here makes the event even more exciting. In fact this is most likely the most exciting US Ch. Since Fischer played. Also the strongest US ch. ever!!"

Up until now, Kamsky activity has been limited to a few New York Masters tournament in which he has scored mediocre results.  In the coming rounds, he may be able to hit his stride and demonstrate why he was a top-five players in the 90s. Certainly by looking at Kamsky, the maturity is evident… and there is no Rustam Kamsky lurking near.

GM Gata Kamsky

Gata Kamsky

Old rivalries die hard

Irina Krush and Jennifer Shahade played an all-out brawl with Krush winning the point over her close friend. This perhaps was one of the most exciting games of the round. In a blazing battle from the opening, Krush sacrificed the exchange for two dangerous central pawns. Shahade attempted to take advantage of black's exposed king, but the rolling pawns kept her from being too adventurous.  In fact, she sacrificed the exchange back to win one of the central pawns, but in a tactical melee, she ended up a pawn down. It was then that the long-range bishop demonstrated its superiority over the knight. Exciting battle!

Stephen Muhammad
fought hard to steal a point from Fabio LaRota, but to no avail. There was a lot of maneuvering and prodding in this game after which Muhammad tried to press a queenside advantage in space. Even with his two bishops bearing down on the kingside, Muhammad couldn't see a way to break the blockade, so he went for another ending with a slight advantage. Twenty more moves of playing tag, Muhammad ended up winning a central pawn, but it was promptly blockaded and a truce was made.

Round #4 Information Center

Selected Games

GM Nick DeFirmian - GM Hikaru Nakamura, 0-1
GM Alexander Stripunsky - GM Gregory Kaidanov, 1-0
GM Gata Kamsky - IM Yury Lapshun, 1-0
WIM Jennifer Shahade - IM Irina Krush, 0-1
WGM Rusudan Goletiani - FM Enkhbat Tegshsuren

PGN download (all 32 games)

The Chess Drum

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