2005 US Chess Championship

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

Nakamura back on top… joint 1st with Stripunsky

Going in the penultimate round, there is a close battle for 1st featuring the steady Alexander Stripunsky and the 16-year old phenom, Hikaru Nakamura. While Stripunsky decided to take the day off with an non-combative draw with Yury Shulman, Nakamura squeezed a win with his usual energetic play.  In a Grunfeld, Kaidanov had built a promising  position… Nakamura described what happened next:

Gregory Kaidanov – Hikaru Nakamura

Gregory Kaidanov - Hikaru Nakamura

"After a complicated opening Kaidanov started to err in the middlegame with 17.Qb4. If he had played 17.c6 instead he was slightly better."

Nakamura played the Petrosian-like 19…Bf8 and clipped the c5-pawn with 20…Bxc5. He then bore a hole in Kaidanov's position and simplified into a better endgame. When looking at the game, the queen's black steed stands out. It made a "knights tour" as it gallops throughout the board (moving 20 times and touching 18 different squares) while reeking havoc. It finally sacrificed itself so the lowly pawn can make safe passage to the queening square.  Kaidanov had seen enough and resigned.

The "Cuban Mafia" continues to impress as 
Julio Becerra, Renier Gonzalez and Blas Lugo are on 4½-2½. Both Gonzalez and Lugo have chances for a GM norm.  In a fit of luck (or by a bit of help), none of the Cuban players have had to play each other! It would really be interesting to see if that can last through the last two rounds. In a strange occurrence, ?Varuzhan Akobian was awarded a forfeit win when Dmitri Schneider's cellular phone rang during the game. Thirty-three moves had been played and Akobian held the advantage. Schneider stated…

"Well, at least I was losing. Having a phone ring to end a game is definitely not very satisfying and very frustrating. My opponent deserved to win though, he played very well until he mixed up the move order with Bxf6? instead of Nxe6 and only then Bxf6. Afterwards, I had a chance to draw but in time pressure didn't play well and by now most of you know about the phone fiasco."

In other action, the female players have not fared well and are mired at the bottom of the field.  Only
Anna ZatonskihRusudan Goletiani and Irina Krush have managed even scores. Nevertheless, it is a very tough field and by Walter Browne's account(6-time champion), the strongest U.S. Championship in history! With the increasing diversity of players and the dynamic format, it's only a matter of time before  we have more "cinderella" stories such as the Cubans and Jennifer Shahade's performance in 2002.

Round #7 Information Center

Selected Games

GM Gregory Kaidanov - GM Hikaru Nakamura, 0-1
IM Jesse Kraai - GM Igor Novikov, 0-1
GM Julio Becerra - GM Ildar Ibragimov, ½-½
GM Alexander Onischuk - WGM Anna Zatonskih, 1-0
FM Josh Friedel - IM Benjamin Finegold, ½-½

PGN download (all 32 games)

The Chess Drum

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