Round Eight (Group A)
Bd
White
Res
Black
101   Akobian, Varuzhan (5.0)
½
  Onischuk, Alexander (6.0)
102   Nakamura, Hikaru (4.5)
1-0
  Gurevich, Dmitry (4.5)
103   Ibragimov, Ildar (4.5)
1-0
  Friedel, Joshua E (4.5)
104   Schneider, Dmitry (4.5)
0-1
  Stripunsky, Alexander (4.5)
105   Kudrin, Sergey (4.5)
½
  Benjamin, Joel (4.0)
106   Serper, Gregory (4.0)
½
  Finegold, Benjamin (4.0)
107   Goldin, Alexander (4.0)
1-0
  de Firmian, Nick (4.0)
108   Fernandez, Daniel (4.0)
1-0
  Gonzalez, Renier (3.5)
109   Dlugy, Maxim (3.0)
½
  Stein, Alan (3.5)
110   Goletiani, Rusudan (3.5) (w)
1-0
  Bercys, Salvijus (3.5)
111   Kraai, Jesse (3.0)
1-0
  Baginskaite, Camilla (3.0) (w)
112   Zenyuk, Iryna (3.0) (w)
0-1
  Florean, Andrei (3.0)
113   Ross, Laura (3.0) (w)
0-1
  Tate, Emory (3.0)
114   Schneider, Igor (2.5)
1-0
  Kleiman, Jake (1.5)
115   Epstein, Esther (2.0) (w)
1-0
  Vicary, Elizabeth (2.5) (w)
116   Cottrell-Finegold, Kelly (0.0) (w)
0-1
  Lenderman, Alex (2.0)

Nakamura charges to 5th win in a row!

Hikaru Nakamura sat on -2 after three rounds and defending his title appeared to be out of the question. Despite this fact, everyone knew that Nakamura would come charging back into contention. He may yet come up short on tiebreaks (if he beat Onischuk in round 9), but his run of five wins in a row is the stuff of legends.

In Nakamura-Gurevich, black unleashed a Dragon, but after 8Qb6, the game steered into less ventured territory. Almost immediately pieces were flying across the board and exchange tried desperately to sacrifice an exchange after 12Bxb2, pieces were hanging all over the place! As it turned out, Dmitry Gurevich had to give up an exchange under unfavorable terms and got no counterplay at all. The defending champion clinched the victory with the crushing 30.c5! and suddenly Gurevich has lost his 2nd in a row while Nakamura has registered his 5th win in a row.

Akobian-Onischuk was an exciting slugfest as both players  tired to find ways to unbalance the game. Akobian's 14.b4!? Was an ambitious attempt to jettison the exchange for the two bishops and a strong center. Onischuk knew he couldn't afford to keep his material, so he returned a piece to reach a dynamically balanced position and a  three-fold repetition followed. Both Akobian and Nakamura have charged to the top of the chart, but it may not be enough to knock Onischuk from the top of the group. Four players trail Onischuk by one point.

Nakamura charged to his 5th victory in a row. He is now at +3.

Hikaru Nakamura charged to his 5th victory in a row. He is now at +3. Photo by John Henderson.

Emory Tate won an impressive clearly overwhelming Laura Ross in a positional crush. While there are those who contend that Tate is merely a tactical genius, this game shows another dimension of his play. Almost immediately Ross made an opening error by committing her center with 4.d5. Tate calmly played 4Nb8 and punched at the center with 6 c6. White's pieces appeared to be on bad squares as Tate started to set up distant pinning threats. The sign of a tactical player is one who can create the condition for combinations.

In this game, Tate focused on white's positional weaknesses and attacked them vigorously. After 20b4! 21.Nc4 Qb8 22.axb4 axb4 black won the exchange after 23.Bd2 23...Bxd2+ 24.Qxd2 (24.Nxd2 Ncxe4 25.Nfxe4 Rxc2 26.Nxf6+ Kg7 27.Nh5+ gxh5-+) 24Nb3.

Ross retreated all of her pieces while black's queen and rook penetrated and the knight delivered the knock-out blow with
37Nd3! Ross resigned due to 38.Bxd3 Qxd3 when white is in complete zugzwang. Nice performance! Tate will try to close out his first championship with a +1 score and this experience will be invaluable when he returns.

Ross-Tate (Final Position)

Ross-Tate (Final Position)

Selected Games

GM Varuzhan Akobian-GM Alexander Onischuk, -
GM Hikaru Nakamura-GM Dmitry Gurevich, 1-0
IM Daniel Fernandez-IM Renier Gonzalez, 1-0
WFM Laura Ross-FM Emory Tate, 0-1

PGN download (round 8 - all games)

Round Eight (Group B)
Bd
White
Res
Black
201   Shulman, Yury (6.0)
½
  Kamsky, Gata (5.0)
202   Fishbein, Alexander (4.5)
½
  Novikov, Igor (4.5)
203   Christiansen, Larry (4.5)
1-0
  Perelshteyn, Eugene (4.5)
204   Wojtkiewicz,Aleks (4.0)
½
  Yermolinsky, Alex (4.5)
205   Shabalov, Alexander (4.0)
1-0
  Gulko, Boris (4.0)
206   Kreiman, Boris (4.0)
½
  Ivanov, Alexander (4.0)
207   Lugo, Blas (3.5)
0-1
  Kaidanov, Gregory (3.5)
208   Ippolito, Dean (3.5)
½
  Fedorowicz, John (3.5)
209   Ginsburg, Mark (3.5)
½
  Kriventsov, Stanisl (3.5)
210   Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg (3.5) (w)
0-1
  Zatonskih, Anna (3.5) (w)
211   Becerra, Julio (3.0)
½
  Muhammad, Stephen (3.0)
212   Abrahamyan, Tatev (3.0) (w)
0-1
  Milman, Lev (3.0)
213   Christiansen, Natasha (0.5) (w)
0-1
  Browne, Walter (3.0)
214   Sarkar, Justin (3.0)
1-0
  Vigorito, David (3.0)
215   Liu, Elliott (2.5)
1-0
  Itkis,Hana (1.5) (w)
216   Airapetian, Chouchanik (2.5) (w)
1-0
  West, Vanessa (2.5) (w)

One down three to go!

No not three rounds to go. Rusudan Goletiani advanced to the playoff round by beating Salvijus Bercys, so there are three more positions to be determined going into the last round. It appeared that Anna Zatonskih may by the odds-on favorite to face Goletiani. Zatonskih crushed Batchimeg Tuvshintugs to arrive at +1. Tuvshintugs, who caused a stir early on, has lost three in a row, but still has had a fine tournament. On the men's side, Yury Shulman only needs a draw with Alexander Fishbein to advance to the playoff group.

Stephen Muhammad played an interesting game with black against Julio Becerra. The game featured blow-for-blow fighting toward the end. The sequence beginning with 25Nxe4! led to a mass series of exchanges after 26.Nxe4 Bxh4 27.Ra5 Rb8 28.gxh4. After 28d5! and 29.c4 the pace of the game quickened and black was nursing the initiative while trying to exploit the weak kingside.

After 42 Qa1+ the ICC crowd had already analyzed the game's tactical continuation of  43.Bf1 Ne4!
44.Rc5! but thought that maybe 44Qe1 may have been better than the game's 44Qa7. Nevertheless, black still had the edge, but moves later the queens were traded and the edge seem to dissipate.

Becerra and Muhammad went toe-to-toe after 28...d5!

Becerra and Muhammad
went toe-to-toe after
28...d5! and 29.c4.

In an interesting saga, Muhammad's black knight appeared trapped, but there was no to take it free and clear after 63.Bf3. The game ended peacefully after 63Rf6 64.e4 Nh2! 65.e5 Rxf3 66.e6! fxe6 67.Rxe6 Rf6 68.Rxf6 Kxf6 69.Kxh2.  The game was the last to finish and it was a gallant fight from the start.

Selected Games

IM-elect Stephen Muhammad-GM Julio Becerra,  -
WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs-WGM Anna Zatonskih, 0-1
GM Yury Shulman-GM Gata Kamsky, -
GM Larry Christiansen-IM Eugene Perelshteyn, 1-0

PGN download (round 8 - all games)



Round #8 Information Center


The Chess Drum

| Round 1 | Round 2Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 |
| Round 6 | Round 7 | Round 8 | Round 9 | playoffs |

| Home |


Related Sites

America's Foundation for Chess (official site - standings)
| TWIC | ChessBase.com | ICC | Mig's Daily Dirt |


Report written by Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum