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2013 US Championships Round 2

  • SonofPearl
  • on 05.05.2013, 10:54.

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Five Remain Perfect at U.S. Championships

By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS (May 5, 2013) -- After two rounds of the 2013 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship, there are curiously more perfect scores remaining in the latter tournament, despite having fewer than half the players of the former. Only three women (IMs Irina Krush and Anna Zatonksih and WGM Tatev Amrahamyan) and two men (GMs Gata Kamsky and Larry Christiansen) have begun with two wins, which represents about 15 percent of the combined field.

The most hyped game of the day featured teenage IM Kayden Troff against the top-seeded Kamsky. Going into the game, Troff said Kamsky was the highest-rated player he had ever faced, however the youngster drew GM Michael Adams, who is just a few points below Kamsky.

The veteran was the one who was surprised right away. “I didn’t expect Qa4 in the opening,” Kamsky said. “That really took me by surprise.” He ruminated more about his languishing pieces. “I can tell you this was not the position I was looking for when I played the Dutch Defense. I didn’t want to open the position. Next time I will be more prepared.” Kamsky praised 15. c5, with the idea than 15…d5 is well met by 16. Bxd5! and if 16…cxd5 17. Nxd5 and the black queen is left without a home. Overall, Kamsky said he could have been in serious trouble if Troff had used his active pieces to attack the king more.

“Even though it’s Kamsky, I really hate to lose,” Troff said. “This is the first time I lost to a GM in the last eight games.” Troff spent 20 minutes on his 16th move, and many spectators wondered if he would find the interesting gambit 16. Nd5! with wild complications. He said he surveyed it, along with three other candidate moves, including sacrificing the bishop on d5, or playing more simply with h4 or Bxc5. He chose the last one, but missed his chance to be more aggressive.  Kamsky said younger players should play more objectively against him instead of holding back.

Kayden Troff and Gata Kamsky

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Grandmaster Larry Christiansen, who won his first U.S. Championship in 1980 and his most recent in 2002, faced an uphill climb as he seeks to win a title in yet another decade. Facing second-seeded GM Timur Gareev as black, the veteran admitted that his opponent was better out of the opening. “I fought back,” he said. “When in doubt, go active! I hate passive positions – it’s not my style.” Christiansen has authored a pair of treatises on this exact idea, so he ditched his f-pawn to gain some initiative. In a balanced middlegame, he said Gareev pushed too hard to win. After the unbalanced endgame of queen for rook, bishop and some weak pawns, Gareev could not hold back the power of the queen. “Getting his bishop trapped for no reason, that was a major blunder,” Christiansen said.

Timur Gareev and Larry Christiansen

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Since they are the only players with two points, these two winners must play tomorrow  even though their colors do not line up. Both players are due white, but Kamsky is higher rated and will get his due color. Christiansen insisted afterward he would still play aggressively as black. “Historically against [Kamsky] you want to play actively,” Christiansen said. “You have to.” Though he did not get his preferred color, Christiansen was happy their meeting will come so soon. “I’m glad this game is coming earlier rather than later. He’s got a 20-year age advantage and I might be tired later.” Additionally, Kamsky admitted he is still adjusting to the time zone after flying back from a tournament in Switzerland one day before the event began.

The U.S. Women’s Championship so far has been far more predictable. The top three seeds are motoring, as  Zatonskih, Krush and Abrahamyan all won to go to 2-0. Zatonskih and Krush, the top two seeds and winners of the past seven titles, will face off tomorrow in their annual battle. The head-to-head matchup has served as the de facto championship in recent years. The two have played so many times that Zatonskih forgot who won in 2012 (it was a draw, but Krush won a dramatic tiebreak, which Zatonskih does remember vividly).

Today, Zatonskih had to use every facet of the game to narrowly edge the youngest player in the field, WFM Sarah Chiang. Her 34…b5 pawn lever complicated the game just enough to allow a decisive queenside breakthrough. “It is just equal,” Zatonskih said of the initial two-bishop endgame. “I needed to gamble with this move. With young players, you need to go to the endgame. I just proved this theory. I used to be like that; I could not play without a queen!”

Anna Zatonskih

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Krush kept pace with what she called a better effort than her first round win. She played quickly, making the first 25 moves with less than five minutes ticking off her clock. WIM Iryna Zenyuk kept it close before blundering on her 40th and final move before making the time control. “It was a fight,” Krush said. “You want your opponents to put up resistance.” Krush said she used to have trouble getting motivated playing Zenyuk, who she called, “my closest female friend in the world ... She’s the one person I don’t want to play against.”

Irina Krush

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As for tomorrow’s battle between the two highest-rated players, Krush did not downplay the game as championship players often do. She called the game “critical” and said, “Everything hangs in the balance.”

Not to be outdone was Abrahamyan, who in recent years has been climbing up the ranks of the best female players in America. She needed only 19 moves to dispatch WGM Camilla Baginskaite. A knight retreat trapped the black queen, and there was no need to play on. “You don’t expect a quick win in that line,” Abrahamyan said of her opening, the Giuoco Piano, which translates to “quiet game” in Italian. Abrahamyan’s king weathered a brief storm before the tempest ended suddenly. “I’m not sure she objectively had anything but it looked really scary.”

“I didn’t recall what I’d been preparing,” Baginskaite said. “It is kind of silly. I am embarrassed.” Even if she did not hang her queen, Baginskaite would have had less than two minutes to make 22 more moves before time control. “Time pressure makes fools of us all,” grandmaster Maurice Ashley said in the live commentary.

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The U.S. Championship may only have two perfect scores remaining, but a host of five other players are on 1.5/2 and lurking close behind. The most surprising among them is FM John Bryant, who played black and beat young phenom GM Ray Robson in a wild affair. With pieces on the edges of the board and pawns recklessly advancing, Bryant ignored all queenside problems and threw more fuel in the fire. After the computer had Robson at a +10 advantage, which is nearly always insurmountable, white played the reasonable but losing 27. Rb8, changing the evaluation to a whopping -18. The astonishing reversal was even more surprising since white got the first promotion, but black’s new lady was birthed with check. The forced mate was long but not complicated, and Bryant chased the white king toward his own to secure the point. “I got lucky in the end,” Bryant admitted. “I tried to come up with some tricks. I got the last attack in.”

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Making another run this year is GM Gregory Kaidanov. Still seeking his first U.S. Championship, he started fast last year, co-leading after four rounds before faltering late. He had several unconventional material imbalances against GM Conrad Holt. Kaidanov’s rook and five pawns, four of which were connected and passed, at first had Holt’s three minor pieces in near zugzwang.  Later the rook vanished and it looked for a while like the famed two knights versus king and pawn endgame would arise. Instead Holt forced a repetition in an equal endgame.

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For Holt, he continues to score against higher-rated opposition and will get another challenge in round three against GM Alejandro Ramirez. Both players have a University of Texas at Dallas connection, where they both were awarded scholarships. Bryant and Kaidanov will match up.

The final player on 1.5/2 is GM Joel Benjamin. His return to the U.S. Championship continues to go well, as he tiptoed by GM Robert Hess in a tight rook-and-pawn endgame. He will get black against Gareev tomorrow.

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A logjam of players have an even score; many have two draws in two games including third-seeded GM Alex Onischuk, who looks to get his first win tomorrow as white against hometown fan favorite GM Ben Finegold. Every player is now on the board except FM Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, whose armada of pawns could not get mobile before he was swindled in a better position against GM Alex Shabalov.

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A quartet of promising college players are all on 0.5/2 and looking to get back to even, including GM Sam Shankland, GM Marc Arnold, Hess and Robson. All four have said they have had school work conflict with the tournament.

Besides the marquee match in the women’s tournament, WFM Alena Kats will look to make the first dent in Abrahamyan’s score. She felt her drawn game today went much better than in round one. “Viktorija (Ni) and I have played the same opening twice before, and for once my opening preparation paid off,” Kats said, explaining that she lost those first two encounters. “Last year it took me like four games to get into the tournament.”

Seeking to get on the board will be WGM Sabina Foisor, who gets black against Baginskaite, and Chiang, who also gets black against WGM Anjelina Belakovskaia, who today won her first game at the U.S. Women’s Championship since 2004.

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Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.
 

Czytano 3471 razy 11 komentarze
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Komentarze


  • 17 miesięcy temu

    Marcokim

    @valentin... temperment is part of the game as you correctly said and even Kasparov once walked out of the playing hall after Petrosian neutralized his attack and made him look like a patzer... you can search this game it was played in 1980 or 1981 when Kasparov was still a young overly aggressive GM.

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    _valentin_

    That's possible, though a player with significant and uncontrolled mood swings can't achieve big results -- there comes a time when others, who are equally talented can win solely based on endurance, patience, and commitment.

    Kasparov too had to learn techniques to control/take care of his moods in order to become as strong as he did, over his sheer talent.

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    Marcokim

    My only guess is that Gareev (who has quite the mood swings) threw the game away in a tantrum, he knew he could draw, but his ego wouldn't let him accept the fact that Larry had outplayed him in the middlegame and negated his opening advantages, so he threw the game away to sooth his ego and spite his opponent... alla "Chucky"... Its the modern day equivalent of taking the chess board and smashing it to the ground when an opponent you undrestimated equals you on the board.

    Its more of a case of "true brat" than true blunder. This is after coming from an incredible 39board blind simul where he immerged 34+5=0-

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    _valentin_

    Gareev had a blind moment in choosing 42.Bb8?? -- he clearly can't hope to win this endgame, and after 42.Bd4 it's hard for black to have high hopes of winning either.  This one move was a self-defeat, interestingly coming at a point when the 40-move time control had already passed.

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    Marcokim

    Gata Kamsky "I would encourage younger players to play more objectively instead of holding back"... of course Gata is being utterly modest, he had the kid totally outpositioned the whole game despite Kayden's attempts at great tactics. He choked off all the white squares from white and took out the whites only useful piece, the black bishop, leaving a passive white bishop and a dead knight.

    It goes show you how difficult it is to beat a 2700+ GM, and Kayden is no patzer and can out-hustle a 2500 GM on a good day.

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    zezpwn44

    Good article!

    I would like it more, though, if it was sort of more in the style of the Candidates articles. With the scores posted in the bottom, and the US Championship tounrament clearly separated from the women's tounrament.

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    AncientAlienInnuendo

    Hi all, nevermind i found it. Was it there the whole time? lol

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    AncientAlienInnuendo

    Hi all, can anyone tell me if there is live commentary in the style of The Alekhine Memorial and other events? I can't seem to find the videos on uschesschamps.com

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    D_for_DJ

    Got me up all night
    All I'm singing is love songs
    She got me up all night
    Constant drinkin' and love songs
    She got me up all night
    Down and out with these love songs
    She got me up all night
    Drowning out with these love songs

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    The_Aggressive_Bee

    I want Christiansen to win the tournament.  I looked at a few of his games and I really admire his aggressive play.  Go Larry Christiansen!

  • 17 miesięcy temu

    magic-yak

    I LOVE this writer! "He ruminated more about his languishing pieces." That's chess writing GOLD

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