US Championship Rd3: Dejection and swagger

4/1/2017 – The big name encounter between world no.2 Wesley So and world no.3 Fabiano Caruana had seemed headed to a quiet ending, but things heated up and could have gotten ugly for So, who managed to draw. Naroditsky continued to strut his stuff, and beat Akobian, while Krush leads the Women's after a smooth win over Abrahamyan. Enjoy this illustrated report by Alex Yermolinksy who says it like he sees it.

By Alexander Yermolinsky

All photos by Lennart Ootes

Round 3 on 2017/03/31 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name
Result
  Name Rtg No.
1 2 2822 GM So Wesley
½ - ½
GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander
½ - ½
GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1
3 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav
1 - 0
GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
4 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan
0 - 1
GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
5 6 2668 GM Robson Ray
1 - 0
GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
6 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru
½ - ½
GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8

There were two eagerly anticipated match-ups today in both the Men's and Women's events.

Nakamura didn't manage to make any headway in a quiet Italian game against Jeffery Xiong, and one has to admire the composed and confident play by the youngster. Jeffery has yet to notch his first win in this campaign but I have a feeling it's coming up soon.

So-Caruana was the typical high-end pro affair we often see in elite tournaments. Their choice of opening says it all, but things did start to heat up closer to the time control.

Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana started slow, but things could really have swung the wrong way for So had Caruana managed to find the best continuation. See Yermolinsky's analysis below!

Wesley So - Fabiano Caruana

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.03.31"] [Round "3"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2822"] [BlackElo "2817"] [Annotator "Alexander Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Bg5 Be6 12. Rad1 Be7 13. b3 h4 14. Rfe1 a5 15. Rd3 Rd8 16. Rxd8+ Kxd8 17. Ne2 Bd5 18. Bxe7+ Kxe7 19. Ned4 Nxd4 20. Nxd4 Be6 21. c4 a4 22. c5 axb3 23. axb3 g6 24. Re4 Bd5 25. Rg4 Rh5 26. f4 Rh8 { [#] As it happens the Berlin endgame gradually turned in Black's favor. Seeing no way out for his rook Wesley went forward.} 27. f5 gxf5 28. Rf4 ({Problem is that as soon as the rooks are traded a remote position of the white king makes the ending dangerous for White, e.g.} 28. Rxh4 Rxh4 29. Nxf5+ Ke6 30. Nxh4 Bxb3 31. Nf3 Bd5 32. Kf2 {and here} Bxf3 33. Kxf3 Kxe5 {just wins.} 34. h4 f5 35. h5 Kf6 36. Kf4 b5 $19) 28... Kd7 29. Rxf5 Rg8 30. Rf2 Rg5 {Fabiano was getting short of time.} ({For that reason here he rejected the more promising continuation} 30... Rg3 31. b4 Rc3) 31. Kh2 Rxe5 32. Rf4 Rg5 33. Rg4 {A tough choice for Wesley.} ({The pawn down rook ending after} 33. Nf3 Bxf3 34. Rxf3 Ke6 {didn't look safe for White, yet it may have been a better choice. White has a plan to attack the black pawns:} 35. Rc3 Re5 36. Rc4 f5 37. Rb4 Rxc5 38. Rxb7 Rb5 39. Rxc7 {reaching safety.}) 33... Rxg4 34. hxg4 Ke7 {The king threatens to come out via f6.} 35. g3 $6 {Unnecessary.} ({The direct} 35. g5 f6 36. g6 {would force Black to shed his K-side pawns:} f5 (36... Kf8 37. Kh3 Kg7 38. Kxh4 Kxg6 39. g4 {is easy}) 37. Nxf5+ Kf6 38. Nxh4 Bxb3 39. Kg3 Bc2 40. Kf4 Bxg6 {and here there's a fancy way to force a draw:} 41. Nf3 (41. Ke3 Bc2 42. Kd4 {is also pretty reliable.}) 41... Ke6 42. g4 Kd5 43. Ne5 Bh7 44. Nd7 { The knight holds everything together.}) 35... Kf6 $6 {Time trouble.} ({Fabiano could have posed serious problems had he found} 35... h3 $1 {[#] Now} 36. g5 ( 36. Kxh3 {allows the king through in a situation where White's counterplay on the K-side is much slower in coming:} Kf6 37. b4 Be4 38. Kh4 Ke5 39. Ne2 Bf3 40. Ng1 Bd5 41. Ne2 Bc4 42. Ng1 Kd4 {One sample line goes as follows} 43. Nf3+ Kc3 44. Ne5 Kxb4 ({also,} 44... Bd5 {wins}) 45. Nxc4 (45. Nd7 Be6) 45... Kxc4 46. Kg5 Kxc5 47. Kf6 b5 48. Kxf7 {Now we will see new queens appearing and leaving the board in rapid succession.} b4 49. g5 b3 50. g6 b2 51. g7 b1=Q 52. g8=Q Qb3+ 53. Kf8 Qxg8+ 54. Kxg8 Kd6 $1 55. g4 c5 56. g5 c4 57. g6 c3 58. g7 c2 59. Kf8 c1=Q 60. g8=Q Qh6+ 61. Ke8 Qe6+) {can be answered with} 36... Bg2 37. b4 b6 38. g4 {Possibly, Caruana saw all this, but not the backdoor entrance for his king:} Kd7 $5 39. Kg3 Kc8 {[#] Trouble spot.} 40. Nf5 $1 {Only this saves White.} (40. Ne2 Kb7 41. Nf4 Ka6 $19) 40... Kb7 41. Nh6 Bd5 42. Kxh3 Ka6 43. Kg3 Kb5 44. Kf4 Kxb4 45. cxb6 cxb6 46. Ke5 {The king joins the fray just in time.}) 36. gxh4 Ke5 37. Nf5 Bxb3 38. h5 Kf6 39. Kg3 Kg5 40. h6 Kg6 41. g5 { Now the far advanced h6-pawn guarantees a draw} Bc2 42. Nd4 Bb1 43. Kf4 f6 44. gxf6 Kxf6 45. Nb3 b6 46. Nd4 bxc5 47. Nxc6 Kg6 48. Ke5 Kxh6 49. Kd5 c4 1/2-1/2

While the top guys are busy playing each other it opens room for the also-runs to move up. I'd mention first the U.S. Championship newcomer Yaro Zherebukh, who shook off a disappointing draw yesterday by putting up a solid performance against the tail-ender Shabalov, to get to plus one. There weren't many fireworks in that game, which usually spells bad news for Alexander. He needs to get back to his kind of chess pronto, or his 0-3 score might get even worse.

Another veteran, Gata Kamsky, is also struggling. A strange blunder yesterday and now this:

Ray Robson vs Gata Kamsky

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.03.31"] [Round "3"] [White "Robson, R."] [Black "Kamsky, G."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2668"] [BlackElo "2659"] [Annotator "Alexander Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Nb3 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Bd3 a6 8. f4 d5 9. e5 Nd7 10. Qg4 Nc5 11. Nxc5 Qxc5 12. a3 g6 13. Nd1 Nd4 14. Ne3 Bd7 15. O-O Bb5 16. Qd1 Nf5 17. Bxb5+ Qxb5 18. Nxf5 gxf5 19. Kh1 Rc8 20. a4 Qc4 21. c3 Bc5 22. Rf3 Rg8 23. b3 Qe4 24. Ra2 b5 25. axb5 axb5 26. Rd3 d4 27. cxd4 Bb4 28. Be3 Qd5 29. h3 Kf8 30. Kh2 Rg6 31. Qf3 Qxf3 32. gxf3 {[#] In the middlegame Gata spoiled a promising position by nearly getting his queen trapped in the middle of the board. At the cost of a pawn he managed to trade queens, but suddenly he faltered.} Rc3 $2 {When your remaining rook is stuck on the other side?} ({Of course, the right move was} 32... Be1 33. Bf2 (33. Rg2 Rxg2+ 34. Kxg2 {and only now} Rc3 35. Rxc3 Bxc3 $11) 33... Bxf2 34. Rxf2 b4 35. Rfd2 Rc1 {The miserable position of his king leaves White with no chances to win.} 36. d5 exd5 37. Rxd5 Rb1 38. R5d3 h5 $11) 33. Rxc3 Bxc3 34. Rc2 b4 {Tailspin.} ({ Still,} 34... Be1 35. Bf2 Bxf2 ({not} 35... Bb4 36. Bh4 {and suddenly it's the black king who's in trouble.}) 36. Rxf2 b4 37. Ra2 Rg8 38. Ra4 Kg7 39. Rxb4 Rd8 40. Rc4 Rd5 {would leave some practical chances.}) 35. Bd2 Bxd4 36. Bxb4+ Ke8 37. Bc5 Bxc5 38. Rxc5 Kd7 39. b4 $1 $18 {Ray manages to get his pawn up just in time. It is not going to queen, but it'll help his rook gain the 7th rank.} Rg8 40. b5 h5 41. b6 Rb8 42. Rc7+ Kd8 43. Rxf7 Rxb6 44. Kg3 Rb4 45. Rh7 Ra4 46. Rxh5 Ke7 47. Rh7+ Kf8 48. Rb7 Rc4 49. h4 Rc1 50. h5 Rh1 51. Rh7 Ke8 52. h6 Kf8 53. Rh8+ Kf7 54. h7 Rh6 (54... Kg7 55. Re8 Kxh7 56. Rxe6 Kg7 57. Rf6 Rh5 58. Kf2 {and the king marches to e6}) {Now comes the elegant finish.} 55. Ra8 $1 Rxh7 56. Ra7+ Kg6 57. Rxh7 Kxh7 58. Kf2 {Gata gave up.} (58. Kf2 {not wanting to see} Kg6 59. Ke3 Kh5 60. Kd4 Kh4 61. Kc5 Kg3 62. Kd6 Kxf3 63. Kxe6 Kxf4 64. Kf6 $1 Kg4 65. e6 f4 66. e7 f3 67. e8=Q f2 68. Qe2+ Kg3 69. Qf1 {played on the board.}) 0-1

I can't help but wonder if Gata struggles through a confidence crisis. In his interviews he comes across as dejected and pessimistic about his chess. Hey man, you're not too old for this! Find some inspiration in Anand or Gelfand, and come back strong.

There is no shortage of swagger in Naroditsky's approach to this tournament. His 5.h4!? against the Najdorf yesterday alone speaks volumes. Today he had black, so he had to behave, at least in the opening.

Naroditsky has played with great confidence so far

Varuzhan Akobian vs Daniel Naroditsky

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.03.31"] [Round "3"] [White "Akobian, V."] [Black "Naroditsky, D."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2645"] [BlackElo "2646"] [Annotator "Alexander Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Bg5 Bb4+ 5. Nbd2 dxc4 6. a3 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 Nbd7 8. a4 c5 9. e3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 h6 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. Bxc4 O-O 13. Qb4 Nd5 14. Qc5 b6 15. Qc6 Bd7 16. Qd6 Nf6 17. b3 Rc8 18. Bb5 Bxb5 19. Qxd8 Rfxd8 20. axb5 Rd5 21. O-O Rc7 22. Rfc1 Rxc1+ 23. Rxc1 e5 24. Nc6 Rxb5 25. Nxa7 Rxb3 26. Nc6 { [#] Some unconvincing play by Akobian led him to a difficult endgame while low on time.} Rb5 {Naroditsky starts off with the correct move.} (26... e4 $2 { would have surrendered an important sqaure for the white knight.} 27. Nd4) 27. h3 Ne4 $2 {and then he goes wrong!} ({White wasn't threatening anything. If his knight moves Black will have Rc5, so a gradual improvement with} 27... g6 { was in order.}) 28. f3 Nd6 29. e4 Kh7 $6 {This just feels wrong.} ({Although it may have been too late for} 29... g6 30. Rd1 Nc4 31. Rd8+ Kg7 32. Rd7) 30. h4 h5 31. Kh2 f6 32. Ne7 $2 {R+N endgames are largely tactical. It's important to find targets and hit them hard.} (32. Nd8 $1 Rc5 33. Rd1 Nc4 (33... Nb5 34. Rb1) 34. Rd7 {planning Ne6 would do just that.}) 32... Rc5 33. Rd1 Nc8 $5 { This is where you need time to correctly assess all possible simplifications.} 34. Nd5 $2 (34. Nxc8 Rxc8 35. Rb1 Rb8 {This only looks great for Black, who has his rook behind the passed pawn. In reality,} 36. Rb5 Kg8 37. Kg3 Kf7 38. f4 exf4+ 39. Kxf4 g6 40. g4 hxg4 41. Kxg4 Ke6 42. h5 gxh5+ 43. Kxh5 Kd6 44. Kg6 {is an easy draw.}) 34... b5 35. Ne3 {Varuzhan was mainly concerned with making the time control without blundering.} ({Truth to tell, it was too late for active play anyway:} 35. Ra1 f5 36. Ra6 fxe4 37. fxe4 Rc4 {and Black gets the second pawn.}) 35... b4 36. Rb1 Rb5 37. Rb3 Ne7 38. Kg3 Nc6 39. Nd5 Rc5 40. Rb2 Rb5 41. Rb3 f5 42. Kf2 fxe4 43. fxe4 Rb7 44. g4 (44. Ke3 {would allow Black to make an important step forward:} Nd4 45. Rb2 b3) 44... hxg4 45. Kg3 Kg6 46. Kxg4 Kf7 47. h5 Ke6 48. Kg5 Kd6 49. Kg6 Kc5 {Once again, Akobian was very low on time.} 50. Kh7 $2 {A wild attempt to get around to capturing the g7-pawn} ({Paradoxically, he should have parted with his knight right away:} 50. Nxb4 Nxb4 51. Rf3 Kd4 (51... Nc6 52. Rf7 Rb1 53. Kxg7 Rg1+ {and now White saves a draw with a spectacular idea:} 54. Kh7 $3 Kd4 55. h6 Kxe4 56. Kh8 Nb4 57. h7 {Self-stalemating!} Nd5 {the last thing left to do is to get rid of your own rook:} 58. Rf4+ Kd3 59. Rd4+) 52. Rf7 Rb6+ 53. Kxg7 Nd3 54. Rf6 (54. h6 Nf4 55. h7 Nh5+ 56. Kf8 Kxe4 57. Rf1 Rb7 58. Kg8 Rg7+ 59. Kh8 Rg3 60. Rf4+ { the same stalemate motif}) 54... Rb7+ 55. Rf7 Rb1 56. h6 Rg1+ 57. Kh8 Nf4 58. h7 Ng6+ 59. Kg7 Kxe4 60. Rf6 Nf4+ 61. Kh8 {and once again!}) 50... Kd4 51. Nxb4 Nxb4 52. Rg3 Kxe4 53. Rxg7 Rb6 {Now White comes short of his goals, maybe by a tempo or two.} 54. Rg6 Rb8 55. h6 Nd5 56. Kg7 Rb7+ 57. Kf8 Kf5 58. Rg1 Nf6 0-1

Varuzhan Akobian is a much better player than this game indicates. He just needs to start making his decisions a little faster. Time trouble is a death knell against the kind of opposition he's facing here.

One has to admire the professionalism of Alexander Onischuk. He may not be the player he was in his younger days, but when it comes to strong nerves and measured approach to the problem in hand, Alexander sets a great example. Today he drifted into a somewhat unpleasant situation against the well-prepared Sam Shankland, but then found a timely exchange sac which turned the tables. It was Sam's turn to feel uncomfortable with his weak king, and the decision to force a draw seemed a reasonable way out. Both players started the tournament well, and I expect more good things from Sam and Alex.

Men's standings after three rounds

(click for full-size)

Round 3 on 2017/03/31 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie
½ - ½
WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca
1 - 0
WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
3 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev
0 - 1
GM Krush Irina 2444 11
4 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R
½ - ½
WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
5 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily
0 - 1
WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
6 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi
0 - 1
IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8

A young fan follows her heroes

Now to the ladies. Abrahamyan-Krush was vintage Irina. Smart choice of an obscure opening line, designed to rob Tatev of her attacking prospects, followed by all-around solid play, taking advantage of the opponent's mistakes. When she plays this kind of chess, Irina Krush usually wins U.S. Championships.

Paikidze-Zatonskih was the longest game of the tournament so far, and boy, what a strange affair it was.

Nazi Paikidze - Anna Zatonskih

[Event "ch-USA w 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.03.31"] [Round "3"] [White "Paikidze, N."] [Black "Zatonskih, A."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D78"] [WhiteElo "2369"] [BlackElo "2451"] [Annotator "Alexander Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "258"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 c6 7. Nc3 e6 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. e4 dxc4 10. a4 c5 11. Rd1 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Qe7 13. b3 e5 14. Ndb5 cxb3 15. Qxb3 Nc5 16. Qa3 b6 17. Bg5 Bb7 18. Nd5 Bxd5 19. exd5 Qd7 20. Be3 Rac8 21. d6 Rfd8 22. Rac1 Ne8 23. Bxc5 bxc5 24. Rxc5 Bf8 25. Rxc8 Rxc8 26. Qe3 Nxd6 { [#] Good defense by Zatonskih, but she left herself only with a couple of minutes to reach move 40.} 27. Nxa7 $4 {A horrible blunder.} ({Objectively, the game should have been drawn after} 27. Nxd6 Bxd6 28. Qxe5 Bxe5 29. Rxd7 Rc7 ) (27. Qxe5 {as} Qg4 {leads White nowhere.}) 27... Qxa4 28. Rxd6 Qa1+ 29. Bf1 Rc1 30. Rd8 Rxf1+ 31. Kg2 Rg1+ 32. Kh3 Kg7 {Black is up apawn and the white knight is out there somewhere. Should be an easy win even with just the increment seconds.} 33. Re8 Re1 (33... Qf1+ 34. Kh4 Rh1 35. Qxe5+ f6 36. Re7+ Kh6) 34. Qb6 Qd1 35. Qb7 Qh5+ (35... Rg1 36. Rxe5 Qf1+ 37. Kg4 Qxf2 {requires no calculation.}) 36. Kg2 Qe2 37. Qb5 Qe4+ 38. Kh3 Qe2 $4 {That's just panic.} 39. Qxe2 Rxe2 40. Nc6 Rc2 41. Nd8 Rxf2 42. Rxe5 h5 {Black is probably still winning because of the bad position of the white knight, but it should have never come to this.} 43. Rd5 Be7 44. Nc6 Bf6 45. Nd4 g5 46. g4 hxg4+ 47. Kg3 Ra2 48. Nf5+ Kg6 49. Kxg4 Rxh2 50. Rd6 Re2 51. Kf3 Re8 52. Ne3 Re5 53. Nd5 { Unsure play led Black to an awkward situation} Rf5+ $2 ({Only} 53... Re6 { keeps the winning advantage. I bet Anna was afraid of a possible blockade in a minor piece ending, but it doesn't see to be happening.}) 54. Kg4 Rf1 {[#]} 55. Ne7+ $2 {The defending Champion is floundering.} (55. Ra6 Kg7 56. Nxf6 Rxf6 57. Ra5 Rg6 {is a draw because Black cannot untangle. The only thing to avoid is} 58. Rxg5 $4 Kf6 59. Rxg6+ Kxg6 $19) 55... Kh7 $19 56. Nd5 Be5 57. Rd7 Kh6 58. Re7 f6 $6 ({Why not} 58... f5+ 59. Kh3 Bd4 {finishing the game in a few moves?} ) 59. Re6 Kg6 60. Ra6 Rg1+ 61. Kf3 Rf1+ 62. Kg4 Rg1+ 63. Kf3 g4+ 64. Ke4 Re1+ 65. Ne3 Kg5 66. Kd3 Ra1 67. Rc6 Ra3+ 68. Ke4 Ra4+ 69. Nc4 Kh4 70. Rc8 Kg3 71. Kf5 Kf3 72. Nd2+ Ke3 73. Nc4+ Kf3 74. Nd2+ Kg2 75. Ne4 g3 76. Rc2+ Kf3 77. Nd2+ Ke2 78. Ne4+ Ke3 $4 (78... Kd3 {was there to round it up.}) 79. Nxg3 Bxg3 80. Rc3+ Kf2 81. Kxf6 {[#] The notorious endgame has been reached.} Bf4 82. Kf5 Be3 83. Rd3 Kf3 84. Rd5 Rh4 85. Ke5 Rh5+ 86. Ke6 Rh8 87. Kf5 Rf8+ 88. Ke5 Bf4+ 89. Kd4 Ra8 90. Kd3 Ra4 91. Rf5 Ra3+ 92. Kd4 Ra7 93. Rd5 Ra1 94. Kd3 Kg4 95. Ke4 Re1+ 96. Kd3 Be3 97. Ra5 Kf4 98. Ra8 Rd1+ 99. Kc3 Bc5 100. Kc4 Bd6 101. Ra2 Ke3 102. Rc2 Bf4 103. Ra2 Ke4 104. Ra4 Bd6 105. Kc3+ Kd5 106. Kc2 Rh1 107. Kd3 Bc5 108. Rg4 Rh3+ 109. Ke2 Be3 110. Rg8 Bf4 111. Ra8 Be5 112. Kd2 Ke4 113. Kc2 Rh2+ 114. Kb3 Rb2+ 115. Kc4 Rc2+ 116. Kb3 Rc7 117. Kb4 {Black hadn't been making a lot of progress, so Nazi got a bit too comfy here.} ({It was about time to set up the reliable second rank defense.} 117. Rb8 Rc3+ 118. Kb4) ({or the Reshevsky method:} 117. Rg8 Bd4 118. Rg4+ Kd3 119. Rg3+ Be3 120. Rh3) 117... Bd6+ 118. Kb5 Kd5 119. Kb6 (119. Rh8 Rb7+ 120. Ka4 Bc5 (120... Rb4+ 121. Ka5) 121. Rh5+ $5 (121. Rh1) 121... Kc4 122. Rh4+ Bd4 123. Rh5) 119... Rc1 120. Ra5+ Bc5+ 121. Kb7 {It's getting a little dicey for White.} Rh1 {[#]} 122. Ra8 $4 { This is the losing error.} ({It is still a draw after} 122. Rb5 Rh7+ 123. Ka8 Kc6 {but you have to see} 124. Rb7 $3) 122... Rh7+ 123. Ka6 Kc4 124. Ka5 Rh6 $6 {This just wastes two more moves.} (124... Rg7 125. Ka6 Kb4 126. Rb8+ Ka4) 125. Rc8 Rh1 126. Ka6 Rh7 127. Ra8 Kb4 $1 {Finally, on the right rack.} 128. Rb8+ Ka4 129. Ra8 Rg7 {It must be hard to lose this endgame only two moves away from the safety line of the 50-move rule.} 0-1

A tough match between the two players, Nazi Pakidze and Anna Zatonskih

I think the nerves played a large role in this blunderfest. Both Nazi and Anna knew how important their head-to-head game was. Now, as it's out of the way, they will play better!

Women's standings after three rounds

(click for full-size)

US Championship pairings/results

Round 1 on 2017/03/29 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L ½ - ½ GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 2 2822 GM So Wesley 1 - 0 GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
3 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander ½ - ½ GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
4 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav ½ - ½ GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
5 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan ½ - ½ GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
6 6 2668 GM Robson Ray 0 - 1 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
Round 2 on 2017/03/30 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2817 GM Caruana Fabiano ½ - ½ GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
2 8 2674 GM Xiong Jeffery ½ - ½ GM Robson Ray 2668 6
3 9 2659 GM Kamsky Gata 0 - 1 GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645 5
4 10 2646 GM Naroditsky Daniel ½ - ½ GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605 4
5 11 2556 GM Shabalov Alexander 0 - 1 GM Onischuk Alexander 2667 3
6 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L ½ - ½ GM So Wesley 2822 2
Round 3 on 2017/03/31 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 2 2822 GM So Wesley ½ - ½ GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander ½ - ½ GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1
3 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 1 - 0 GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
4 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan 0-1 GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
5 6 2668 GM Robson Ray 1 - 0 GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
6 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru ½ - ½ GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
Round 4 on 2017/04/01 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2817 GM Caruana Fabiano   GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
2 9 2659 GM Kamsky Gata   GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
3 10 2646 GM Naroditsky Daniel   GM Robson Ray 2668 6
4 11 2556 GM Shabalov Alexander   GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645 5
5 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L   GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605 4
6 2 2822 GM So Wesley   GM Onischuk Alexander 2667 3
Round 5 on 2017/04/02 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander   GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav   GM So Wesley 2822 2
3 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan   GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1
4 6 2668 GM Robson Ray   GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
5 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru   GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
6 8 2674 GM Xiong Jeffery   GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
Round 6 on 2017/04/04 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2817 GM Caruana Fabiano   GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
2 10 2646 GM Naroditsky Daniel   GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
3 11 2556 GM Shabalov Alexander   GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
4 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L   GM Robson Ray 2668 6
5 2 2822 GM So Wesley   GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645 5
6 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander   GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605 4
Round 7 on 2017/04/05 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav   GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan   GM Onischuk Alexander 2667 3
3 6 2668 GM Robson Ray   GM So Wesley 2822 2
4 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru   GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1
5 8 2674 GM Xiong Jeffery   GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
6 9 2659 GM Kamsky Gata   GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
Round 8 on 2017/04/06 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2817 GM Caruana Fabiano   GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
2 11 2556 GM Shabalov Alexander   GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
3 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L   GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
4 2 2822 GM So Wesley   GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
5 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander   GM Robson Ray 2668 6
6 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav   GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645 5
Round 9 on 2017/04/07 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan   GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 6 2668 GM Robson Ray   GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605 4
3 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru   GM Onischuk Alexander 2667 3
4 8 2674 GM Xiong Jeffery   GM So Wesley 2822 2
5 9 2659 GM Kamsky Gata   GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1
6 10 2646 GM Naroditsky Daniel   GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
Round 10 on 2017/04/08 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2817 GM Caruana Fabiano   GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
2 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L   GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
3 2 2822 GM So Wesley   GM Kamsky Gata 2659 9
4 3 2667 GM Onischuk Alexander   GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
5 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav   GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
6 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan   GM Robson Ray 2668 6
Round 11 on 2017/04/09 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 6 2668 GM Robson Ray   GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru   GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645 5
3 8 2674 GM Xiong Jeffery   GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605 4
4 9 2659 GM Kamsky Gata   GM Onischuk Alexander 2667 3
5 10 2646 GM Naroditsky Daniel   GM So Wesley 2822 2
6 11 2556 GM Shabalov Alexander   GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1

US Women's Championship pairings/results

Round 1 on 2017/03/29 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna ½ - ½ WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie ½ - ½ GM Krush Irina 2444 11
3 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 1 - 0 WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
4 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 1 - 0 WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
5 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R 1 - 0 IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
6 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily ½ - ½ IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
Round 2 on 2017/03/30 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2359 WGM Nemcova Katerina 0 - 1 IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
2 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna 1 - 0 WIM Nguyen Emily 2173 6
3 9 2262 WFM Virkud Apurva 1 - 0 WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196 5
4 10 2234 WFM Yip Carissa ½ - ½ WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364 4
5 11 2444 GM Krush Irina 1 - 0 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2272 3
6 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna ½ - ½ WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
Round 3 on 2017/03/31 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie
½ - ½
WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca
1 - 0
WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
3 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev
0 - 1
GM Krush Irina 2444 11
4 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R
½ - ½
WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
5 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily
0 - 1
WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
6 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi
0 - 1
IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
Round 4 on 2017/04/01 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2359 WGM Nemcova Katerina   IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
2 9 2262 WFM Virkud Apurva   IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
3 10 2234 WFM Yip Carissa   WIM Nguyen Emily 2173 6
4 11 2444 GM Krush Irina   WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196 5
5 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna   WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364 4
6 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie   WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2272 3
Round 5 on 2017/04/02 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca   WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev   WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
3 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R   WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
4 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily   GM Krush Irina 2444 11
5 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi   WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
6 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna   WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
Round 6 on 2017/04/04 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2359 WGM Nemcova Katerina   WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
2 10 2234 WFM Yip Carissa   IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
3 11 2444 GM Krush Irina   IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
4 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna   WIM Nguyen Emily 2173 6
5 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie   WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196 5
6 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca   WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364 4
Round 7 on 2017/04/05 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev   WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R   WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2272 3
3 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily   WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
4 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi   WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
5 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna   GM Krush Irina 2444 11
6 9 2262 WFM Virkud Apurva   WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
Round 8 on 2017/04/06 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2359 WGM Nemcova Katerina   WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
2 11 2444 GM Krush Irina   WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
3 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna   IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
4 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie   IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
5 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca   WIM Nguyen Emily 2173 6
6 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev   WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196 5
Round 9 on 2017/04/07 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R   WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily   WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364 4
3 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi   WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2272 3
4 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna   WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
5 9 2262 WFM Virkud Apurva   WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
6 10 2234 WFM Yip Carissa   GM Krush Irina 2444 11
Round 10 on 2017/04/08 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 12 2359 WGM Nemcova Katerina   GM Krush Irina 2444 11
2 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna   WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
3 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie   WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9
4 3 2272 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca   IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
5 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev   IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
6 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R   WIM Nguyen Emily 2173 6
Round 11 on 2017/04/09 at 2 PM (EST)
Bo. No. Rtg   Name Result   Name Rtg No.
1 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily   WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi   WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196 5
3 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna   WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364 4
4 9 2262 WFM Virkud Apurva   WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2272 3
5 10 2234 WFM Yip Carissa   WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
6 11 2444 GM Krush Irina   WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1

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FramiS FramiS 4/1/2017 03:53
It's strange that in the game Paikidze-Zatonskih Yermolinsky didn't mention the rescue R b7, R b6 or Rb4 at move 129. It delays the mate, so that because of the 50 move rule the game would have ended in a draw.
TommyCB TommyCB 4/1/2017 07:34
@FramiS
The last capture was on move 81 for White, so White needs to play move 131 to be saved.
129. Rb7 Rh6 130. Rb6 Rxb6 and the 50 move counter is reset, so 129. Rb7 is not a "save".
129. Rb6 Bxb6 and the 50 move counter is reset.
129. Rb4 Bxb4 and the 50 move counter is reset.
FramiS FramiS 4/1/2017 09:31
@TommyCB2

Of course, you are right. I told nonsense , the capture is in time and the 50 move rule is reset, as you told. I should have thought better
Masquer Masquer 4/2/2017 04:57
Kamsky lost, but his game was marked as a win for Black?!
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