US Championship Rd5: Revenge of the Old Guard...almost

4/3/2017 – Today's round featured some intriguing clash of generations match-ups. On paper the younger guys stood at 50% while the grizzled ones “boasted” a combined minus 5. Things started great for 'Team Geezer', until a reversal suggested a disaster instead was due. In the end, it was a bit of both, with Shabalov missing a chance to win and then losing, while Kamsky brought back memories of 1994 in an inspired performance. Report and analysis by Alex Yermolinsky.

By Alex Yermolinsky

All photos by Lennart Ootes

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

Before we get to the meat part of the presentation, let's get other games out of the way.

Nakamura-Naroditsky. True to his tournament strategy Dan let it all hang out once again, right out of the opening. His 6...e4 was highly unexpected, and it turned the Closed English into a version of Leningrad Dutch. Hikaru plays it himself, but in his games the black knight usually occupies the c5-square. Perhaps, due to that subtle difference Hikaru played slower than usual. Emboldened by the opponent's indecisiveness Dan landed a tactical blow f5-f4, which forced liquidation.

"It started as a Closed English, and now it is a form of Leningrad Dutch?"

Zherebukh-So had a great promise when an unbalanced position was reached after just 13 moves. I guess Yaro was overly cautious when he turned down the promising 14.b5 in favor of the bleak 14.Rd1. Wesley's unbeaten streak continues.

In the four games I followed closely after about 3 hours of play it seemed the old guys were besting their younger opponents. A 4-0 whitewash looked possible. Then things started going south, beginning with Shabalov's game.

Ray Robson has now moved to plus one with 3.0/5

Ray Robson - Alex Shabalov

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.04.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Robson, Ray"] [Black "Shabalov, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B06"] [WhiteElo "2668"] [BlackElo "2556"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. f4 d5 5. e5 Nh6 6. Nf3 f6 {Shabalov's second, GM Ehlvest, is known to be a specialist in this obscure opening.} 7. Be3 O-O 8. h3 Qb6 9. Qd2 $5 {A novelty, which might have been expected. Such gambits suite the style of the combatants.} (9. Na4 Qa5+ 10. c3 Nf5 11. Bf2 fxe5 12. fxe5 Bh6 13. b4 Qd8 14. Bd3 b6 $13) 9... Qxb2 10. Rb1 Qa3 11. g4 Nf7 12. Bd3 fxe5 13. dxe5 Na6 14. Rb3 Qa5 15. O-O e6 16. h4 Nc5 17. h5 $5 {Ray always has his eye on the enemy king.} ({He obviously didn't fancy the slow play after} 17. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 18. Kg2 b6 19. Ne2 (19. h5 {can now be met by} g5 $1) 19... Nh6 {etc.}) 17... Nxd3 $1 ({Ray's exchange sac was quite clever, as the following line illustrates:} 17... Nxb3 18. cxb3 gxh5 19. Bb1 $1 {and what do you do against Qc2 now? Some battery that one is going to be.}) 18. cxd3 gxh5 19. g5 Nh8 $1 {Timely re-grouping. This is the moment when I thought Shabba would win the game.} 20. Qh2 Ng6 21. Qxh5 {[#]} Nxf4 ({More thematic would be} 21... b6 $5 {seeking an opportunity for a swift counterattack:} 22. Nh2 d4 $3 23. Bxd4 Ba6 24. Ne4 Qxa2 25. Rb2 Qd5 {once the position opens up a bit White's plan with Nf6+ is just too slow.}) 22. Bxf4 Rxf4 23. Ne2 Rf8 24. Ng3 Qc5+ $4 { It is hard to explain this. For 30+ years of his chess career Alex had lost many games, drew some, and won much more by always playing his kind of chess: intuitive, inventive and, most importantly, very brave. My favorite description of Alex's style is "burning his bridges BEFORE crossing them". This approach has earned him four U.S. Championship titles not counting numerous open tournament wins. I just don't recognize Alex in this tournament. Regardless of computer evaluations, bringing the queen back is not going to make Black's defenses stronger, but opportunities for counterplay will be lost. } (24... Qxa2 25. Rb4 Qa3 26. Rh4 Qxd3 27. Ne4) (24... c5 $1 25. g6 (25. Rb2 Qa3 26. Rd2 Bd7 27. Qh3 Be8 $1 28. Qxe6+ Bf7 29. Qd7 Qa6 30. Nf5 Qe6) (25. Nh2 Bd7 26. Ng4 Be8 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Qxh7 Qe1+) 25... h6 26. Nh2 Rxf1+ 27. Ngxf1 Qa4 28. Ng4 Qf4 29. Qh4 Kh8 30. Qd8+ Qf8 31. Qh4) 25. Kh1 Qe7 26. Rb2 Qf7 27. Qh3 $1 {Ray is not going to miss his chances. He has great attacking skills.} b6 ({The folly of Black's defensive strategy is best seen in the long, but inevitable, demise after} 27... Qg6 28. Nh5 Qf5 29. Qh4 Qxd3 30. Rbf2 Qe4 31. Qh2 Bd7 32. Nf6+ Bxf6 33. gxf6 Kh8 34. Re1 Qg6 35. Rg1 Qe4 36. Qh6 Rg8 37. Rg7 c5 38. Rfg2) 28. Rh2 Qg6 29. Nh5 Ba6 30. Nf6+ Kf7 31. Nd4 1-0

One can only sympathize with Alexander's situation. Once I had started a U.S. Championship with 1.0/6; he needs a draw in the next round to match it.

Varuzhan Akobian finally was able to put together a complete game with White. Well, almost complete.

Varuzhan Akobian - Sam Shankland

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.04.02"] [Round "5"] [White "Akobian, V."] [Black "Shankland, S."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2645"] [BlackElo "2666"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. Qb3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 Nd7 9. Rd1 Rb8 $6 {A bizarre looking novelty from Sam, but it's recommended by silicon minds.} (9... g6 10. a3 Bg7 11. e4 O-O 12. e5 Qe7 13. Ne4 {brought White success in Ivanchuk-Predojevic, 2016}) 10. g3 {Varuzhan switches to Catalan tracks.} (10. a3 Qd8 11. e4 b5 {has to be the point of the mysterious rook move. After} 12. Qxc6 $6 Rb6 13. Qa8 a6 {the white queen is in grave danger.}) 10... Qd8 11. Bg2 Be7 12. O-O b5 13. Qd3 (13. Qxc6 $2 Bb7) 13... O-O 14. Ne4 Qa5 $6 ({The more accurate} 14... Qb6 {will be tested shortly, I'm sure.}) 15. Nc5 $5 Nxc5 16. dxc5 Bf6 (16... Bxc5 17. Ne5 {is extremely awkward for Black, who has positioned his major pieces right into a fork from c6.}) 17. Qd6 $1 {Very energetic play from Akobian.} Ba6 $2 (17... Bb7 18. Ne5 Rbd8 19. Nxc6 Bxc6 20. Qxc6 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 b4 $1 {might have been enough to get Black out of trouble. Surprisingly the white queen cannot step out of the way without abandoning her c-pawn.}) 18. Ne5 Bxe5 19. Qxe5 b4 20. Bxc6 {Not bad, albeit materialistic.} ({I wanted to see} 20. Rd7 Bb5 21. Rfd1 Qxa2 22. Rxf7 $1 {This isn't just a random line. Many games have been won by following Alekhine's dictum of tying up the defender on the other side, and then using your superior forces for a quick K-side kill.}) 20... Rbc8 21. Rd6 Bxe2 22. Rc1 Bb5 23. Bb7 Rc7 24. c6 Qb6 {[#] This is where I chalked the second win for the old guard.} 25. Qc5 $5 ({The same logic applies here:} 25. h4 {How's Black going to untangle?} Ba6 {allows} 26. Bxa6 Qxa6 27. Rxe6) 25... Qxc5 26. Rxc5 a6 27. Rd4 Rb8 28. Rxb5 axb5 29. Rxb4 $3 {This was Akobian's idea. I admit I didn't see it.} Rbxb7 30. cxb7 Rxb7 31. a4 Ra7 $5 (31... Kf8 32. Rxb5 Rxb5 33. axb5 Ke7 34. f4 Kd6 35. Kf2 Kc5 36. Ke3 Kxb5 37. Kd4 Kb4 38. Ke5 Kc5 39. g4 Kc6 40. h4 Kc5 41. h5 Kc6 42. b4) 32. axb5 Kf8 33. b6 Rb7 34. Kg2 Ke7 35. Kf3 Kd6 36. Ke4 Kc5 37. Rb3 f6 38. Kd3 e5 39. g4 {A classic example of outside passer's winning advantage.} g6 40. h4 f5 41. h5 gxh5 42. gxf5 h4 43. Ke4 Kd6 44. f6 h3 45. Kf5 e4 46. Rxh3 Rxb6 {[#] I had long stopped following this game, thinking Sam was just going trough motions, but then there was a sudden twist in the tale.} 47. b3 $6 {I don't get it. To me keeping this pawn is unnecessary.} ({With his king supporting the passed pawn all White needed to do is to eliminate some driftwood:} 47. Rh4 Rxb2 (47... Rb5+ 48. Kg6) 48. Rxe4 Rxf2+ 49. Kg6 h5 50. f7 {isn't this routine?}) 47... Rb5+ 48. Kxe4 $4 {A terrible move, but in some way it is consistent with 47.b3. } ({Instead,} 48. Kg6 Rg5+ 49. Kf7 Rg2 50. Rxh6 Rxf2 51. Ke8 {promotes the pawn.}) 48... h5 {A whole new ballgame now.} 49. Rf3 (49. Kd4 Rb4+ 50. Kc3 Rf4) (49. b4 Ke6 50. Rb3 Kxf6 51. Kd4 h4 52. Kc4 Rh5) 49... Ke6 50. Kd4 ({Suddenly} 50. f7 {isn't working. Clearly Varuzhan missed} Rb4+ $1 51. Kd3 Rxb3+ 52. Ke2 Rxf3 53. Kxf3 Kxf7) 50... Kf7 51. Kc4 Rb8 52. b4 h4 53. b5 Rh8 54. Rh3 Kxf6 55. b6 Ke7 $4 {Words fail me.} (55... Kg5 {just *had* to be played, and guess what? It would have saved the game!} 56. f3 (56. Kb5 Kg4 57. Rh1 Rf8 58. Rh2 Rf3 59. b7 Rb3+ 60. Kc6 h3 61. Rh1 Rc3+ {is an elementary draw.}) 56... Rc8+ 57. Kb5 Rc1 58. Rh2 (58. f4+ Kg4 59. Rb3 Rc8 60. b7 Rb8 61. Kc6 Kxf4 $11) 58... Rb1+ 59. Kc6 Rc1+ 60. Kb7 Rc3 61. Rg2+ Kh5 62. f4 h3 63. Rb2 Kg4) 56. Kb5 Kd7 57. Ka6 Kc6 58. b7 {At least I got the result right: the older gentleman won.} 1-0

From lost to saved to lost again. Sometimes it feels like one should never have gotten out of bed that morning.

The next battle saw a dramatic turnaround in mutual time trouble.

Alexander Onischuk vs Fabiano Caruana

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.04.02"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Onischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A41"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2817"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "180"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. d4 d6 {Fabiano is not known for his Kings Indian, but the tournament situation called for something extra.} 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. Nc3 Bf5 {Caruana already played this line a bunch of times, losing to Kramnik, Morozevich, Ragger and Lenic, with only one draw against Gelfand to his credit. Some bad memories to wipe out...} 5. g3 Ne4 6. Bd2 {One of the quietest responses. The experienced Onischuk is content with safe, easy to play position.} Bg7 7. Bg2 Nxd2 8. Qxd2 O-O 9. O-O Nc6 (9... c5 10. d5 Na6 {didn't score well for Black in Le Quang Liem-Ivanchuk, 2013.}) 10. d5 Na5 $5 {That's pushing it.} (10... Ne5 11. Nxe5 Bxe5 {was certainly a safer choice}) 11. b3 c5 12. e4 Bd7 13. Rae1 Qc7 14. Qe3 {White doesn't seem to be missing his DSB because of the more than adequate development.} a6 {Caruana correctly decides to speed up his counterplay, otherwise in the long run the terrible position of his Na5 may cost him the game.} (14... f6 $6 {would have stopped White's intended e-pawn push, but rather at a steep cost of weakening the king and making Bg7 miserable.} 15. h4 $1 {and I take White here.}) 15. e5 b5 16. e6 fxe6 17. dxe6 Bc6 18. Nd5 Qb7 $1 (18... Bxd5 19. cxd5 b4 (19... c4 20. b4 {is the knighttrap known from the classical Chigorin Ruy Lopez.}) 20. Rc1 c4 21. bxc4 Nb7 22. h4 Nc5 {would be a standard pawn sac to create Q-side play, but with the e6-pawn cutting the board in two (borrowed that one from G. Kasparov) White has great chances to checkmate the black king.} 23. h5 gxh5 24. Ng5 Bh6 25. f4 {etc.}) 19. Qg5 $6 {Alexander was too eager to create chances against Fabiano's king.} (19. Rb1 {would have been more prudent.}) 19... Rae8 20. Qh4 bxc4 21. bxc4 Bxd5 ({Did Fabiano miss} 21... Nxc4 $1 22. Ng5 h6 23. Qxc4 {idea? Probably not, only the follow-up move,} Rf5 {that makes the whole thing work!}) 22. cxd5 Bf6 23. Ng5 Bxg5 24. Qxg5 Qb2 25. Qh4 ({The endgame after} 25. Rc1 Qd4 26. Qe3 { would more likely than not end in a draw.}) 25... c4 26. Re4 Qg7 $6 {Feeling uncomfortable with his clock situation Caruana decides to play it safe.} ({ Snatching a pawn with} 26... Qxa2 {was possible:} 27. Rf4 Rxf4 28. Qxf4 Rf8 29. Qh4 Rf6 30. Qd4 Qb3 {and now White has to be careful not to end up in a bad position. The right move is} 31. Ra1 ({not} 31. Qa7 Qb7 32. Qxb7 Nxb7 33. Rc1 Nc5 34. Rxc4 a5 {Black will win this for sure.}) 31... c3 32. Be4 Nc4 33. Rb1 c2 34. Rc1 Na3 35. Qd2 {Black has made some strides but his knight is still not well-positioned, and White's counterplay with h4-h5 is something to worry about.}) 27. Rf4 Rxf4 28. Qxf4 Rc8 29. Rc1 Rc5 30. Be4 {[#] This is the moment I rated Onischuk's chances very highly. He was better on the board and on the clock as well. To call it a win for White may be a stretch, but I thought he should push for it. The next few moves were easy to predict. Caruana just had to play this way or lose on time.} c3 31. h4 {Not a top priority move.} (31. Bd3 $1 Qf6 32. Qxf6 exf6 33. Bxa6 Kf8 34. h4 Ke7 35. Kg2 $14) 31... Qf6 $1 32. Qxf6 exf6 33. g4 Kf8 34. Kg2 (34. f4 Ke7 35. f5 gxf5 36. Bxf5 h6 37. Kf2 Rxd5 38. Rxc3 Rc5 39. Ra3 {Black is totally stuck here. Maybe he can hold on, maybe not, but surely White's is the one to try.}) 34... Ke7 35. Kg3 $4 {Oh, horror! One thing White had to make sure off is to keep the black knight out of the game.} Nc4 $1 {This was played instantaneously. "How do you spell r-e-l-i-e-f" was a 1976 TV commercial. I'm not sure Caruana (b.1992) has ever seen it, but he knows now.} 36. Kf4 $2 {Onischuk must have been shaken up.} (36. Rxc3 Nd2 { is the trick.}) ({Objectively best was} 36. Rb1 $11) 36... Nb6 $17 37. g5 fxg5+ 38. hxg5 Nxd5+ 39. Bxd5 Rxd5 40. Rxc3 Rf5+ 41. Ke3 $1 {One has to admire Alexander's composure. Facing extreme adversity he fights on.} ({A lot of people would go} 41. Kg4 {to perish after} Rxf2 42. Ra3 Kxe6 43. Rxa6 Rf7 44. a4 Ke5 45. Ra8 d5 46. a5 Rf4+ 47. Kg3 Ra4 {etc.}) 41... Kxe6 42. Rc7 Rxg5 43. Rxh7 Re5+ (43... Ra5 44. Rg7 Kf5 45. Rf7+ Ke5 46. Re7+ Kd5 47. Rg7 Ra3+ 48. Kf4 Rxa2 49. Ke3 a5 {looked a better try.}) 44. Kf3 a5 {Black retains some practical winning chances here, but White should hold with correct play, which is exactly what Onischuk demonstrated.} 45. Rg7 Kf6 46. Rd7 Rf5+ 47. Ke3 Ke6 48. Ra7 Rc5 49. Rg7 g5 50. Rg6+ Kd7 51. Rf6 Rc2 52. Rf5 Rc5 53. Rf6 Kc6 54. Kd3 Rd5+ 55. Kc3 Re5 56. Kd3 Kc5 57. f4 gxf4 58. Rxf4 Rh5 59. Rc4+ Kb5 60. a4+ Kb6 61. Rg4 Kc5 62. Rc4+ Kd5 63. Rd4+ Kc6 {It should be pointed out that White's a-pawn is utterly unimportant here, and this exact position would still be a draw even if White had no pawn.} 64. Rc4+ Rc5 65. Rh4 Rc1 66. Rh5 Rc5 67. Rh8 Rg5 68. Rc8+ Kb7 69. Rd8 Kc7 70. Ra8 Rh5 71. Ra6 Rd5+ 72. Kc4 Rc5+ 73. Kd4 Rh5 74. Kc4 Kd7 75. Ra8 Kc7 76. Ra6 Rh4+ 77. Kb5 Rb4+ 78. Kxa5 Rb8 79. Ra7+ Kc6 80. Rh7 d5 81. Rh1 d4 82. Rc1+ Kd5 83. Ka6 d3 84. Rd1 Kc4 85. a5 Rb2 86. Ka7 d2 87. a6 Kc3 88. Ka8 Kc2 89. Rxd2+ Kxd2 90. a7 Rb1 1/2-1/2

Onischuk played a fascinating game against Caruana that never quite got to the finish line

They say the wounded lion is the most dangerous. The young Jeffery Xiong learned it first-hand today.

A gutsy game by Xiong faced a rejuvenated Gata Kamsky who looked more like his 1994 self

Jeffery Xiong vs Gata Kamsky

[Event "ch-USA 2017"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2017.04.02"] [Round "5.5"] [White "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Black "Kamsky, Gata"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B06"] [WhiteElo "2674"] [BlackElo "2659"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "144"] [EventDate "2017.03.29"] 1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bd3 Nf6 5. O-O O-O 6. Re1 Nc6 7. c3 e5 8. Na3 Bg4 9. Nc2 Nd7 10. Be2 Kh8 11. Bg5 f6 12. Bh4 Nb6 13. Ne3 Bd7 14. b4 Qe8 15. b5 Nd8 16. a4 a5 17. c4 Ne6 18. c5 {A rather cavalier pawn sacrifice. People used to get burned playing like this against Gata Kamsky, and they still can.} (18. Nd5) 18... dxc5 19. dxe5 fxe5 20. Qb3 Rf4 21. Qb1 Nd4 22. Bg3 Rf8 23. Nd2 Be6 24. Qc1 Nd7 25. Bc4 b6 26. Rb1 h5 27. Bxe6 Qxe6 28. Nd5 Rac8 29. Nc4 Kh7 30. Qd1 Bh6 $5 {Gata wants it all: an attack on the king to complement his extra pawn and dominating Nd4.} (30... Nf6 31. Bxe5 Nxd5 32. exd5 Qxd5 33. Bxg7 Kxg7 {seemed simpler.}) 31. Rb2 Rf7 32. Qd3 Bf4 33. Qc3 g5 34. h3 $2 h4 35. Bh2 {[#] } Nf6 $2 ({Oh, no! We were all screaming for} 35... Nf3+ {a spectacular shot that would have left White scratching and clawing for a draw down a queen,} 36. Qxf3 (36. gxf3 Qxh3 {is not going to end well for the white monarch.}) 36... Bxh2+ 37. Kxh2 Rxf3 38. gxf3 Nf6 39. Rd2 Rf8 40. Kg2 Nh5 41. Red1 Nf4+ 42. Nxf4 gxf4 {and, likely, not quite making it.}) 36. Nxf6+ Rxf6 37. Ne3 Bxh2+ 38. Kxh2 Rf4 39. Nd5 Rf7 40. f3 Rd8 41. Qe3 Qg6 42. Qc3 Rd6 43. Rf2 {Xiong has dug out some trenches. In search for a way through Kamsky devises a wait-and-see strategy, while moving his king over to the Q-side, in the style of Tigran Petrosian.} Kg8 44. Ne3 Kf8 45. Kh1 Ke8 46. Kh2 Kd8 47. Kh1 Kc8 48. Kh2 Kb8 49. Kh1 Qf6 50. Kg1 Rd8 51. Qc1 Rfd7 52. Nd5 Qg7 53. Qc4 Rd6 54. Ne3 Qf8 55. Qc3 Qf7 56. Nc4 $6 {Wrong. The knight should not have strayed away from its own king.} Re6 57. Rd2 Re7 58. Rb1 Qf4 $1 59. Re1 Red7 60. Rf2 Kb7 61. Qb2 Qg3 62. Ref1 Ne6 $1 {[#] It turns out Gata has not completely lost his chops. This is one powerhouse of a pawn sac.} 63. Qxe5 Nf4 64. Qf5 Rd1 $1 {A very nice finish. } 65. Ne3 (65. Qg4 Ne2+ 66. Kh1 Qxf2) 65... R1d3 $1 66. Nd5 Rxf3 67. Qg4 Rxf2 68. Rxf2 Qxg4 69. hxg4 Nxd5 70. exd5 Rxd5 71. Kh2 Rd4 72. Kh3 Rd3+ 0-1

The veterans won their mini-match by the count of 2.5-1.5. Could have better, but it's a start. I'm sure the players are ready for a free day Monday to recharge batteries and come back strong next week.

The leaderboard is crowded, and even Wesley So's score of plus two is not terribly impressive. Most experts predicted a race between the top three seeds only, but so far it looks like anyone's tournament.

Men's standings after five rounds

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
1 - 0
WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev
1 - 0
WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
3 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R
0 - 1
WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
4 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily
0 - 1
GM Krush Irina 2444 11
5 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi
1 - 0
WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
6 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna
1 - 0
WFM Virkud Apurva 2262 9

On the ladies side the leaders converted the advantage of having the white pieces in their games. Irina Krush had black, but she also won, so the status quo remained. If I had to guess, the top places will be decided in further head-to-head-battles between Irina, Anna, Tatev and Nazi. 

Defending champion Nazi Paikidze won again and has now rejoined the leaders

What, says the reader, no upsets possible? What about Jennifer Yu, who already downed Krush and Zatonskih? Well, her fighting spirit being noted, IMHO Jennifer is not quite there yet to compete for a tournament victory, and her loss to Anna Sharevich today didn't help her chances.

Anna Sharevich played an excellent game, missing a chance to win early with a 17...Rxb2+!!, but pulled it off in the end

Women's standings after five rounds

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 ½ - ½ GM Xiong Jeffery 2674 8
2 9 2659 GM Kamsky Gata ½ - ½ GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793 7
3 10 2646 GM Naroditsky Daniel ½ - ½ GM Robson Ray 2668 6
4 11 2556 GM Shabalov Alexander ½ - ½ GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645 5
5 1 2666 GM Shankland Samuel L ½ - ½ GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605 4
6 2 2822 GM So Wesley 1 - 0 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 ½ - ½ GM Caruana Fabiano 2817 12
2 4 2605 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav ½ - ½ GM So Wesley 2822 2
3 5 2645 GM Akobian Varuzhan 1 - 0 GM Shankland Samuel L 2666 1
4 6 2668 GM Robson Ray 1 - 0 GM Shabalov Alexander 2556 11
5 7 2793 GM Nakamura Hikaru ½ - ½ GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646 10
6 8 2674 GM Xiong Jeffery 0 - 1 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
½ - ½
IM Zatonskih Anna 2451 8
2 9 2262 WFM Virkud Apurva
0 - 1
IM Paikidze Nazi 2369 7
3 10 2234 WFM Yip Carissa
1 - 0
WIM Nguyen Emily 2173 6
4 11 2444 GM Krush Irina
0 - 1
WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196 5
5 1 2257 WGM Sharevich Anna
½ - ½
WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364 4
6 2 2162 WCM Feng Maggie
1 - 0
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
1 - 0
WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359 12
2 4 2364 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev
1 - 0
WCM Feng Maggie 2162 2
3 5 2196 WIM Yu Jennifer R
0 - 1
WGM Sharevich Anna 2257 1
4 6 2173 WIM Nguyen Emily
0 - 1
GM Krush Irina 2444 11
5 7 2369 IM Paikidze Nazi
1 - 0
WFM Yip Carissa 2234 10
6 8 2451 IM Zatonskih Anna
1 - 0
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

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Feedback and mail to our news service Please use this account if you want to contribute to or comment on our news page service



Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

TommyCB TommyCB 4/3/2017 11:03
In the notes to Alexander Onischuk vs Fabiano Caruana the 6 piece endgame tablebases disagree with Alex Yermolinsky's comment after move 64:

"It should be pointed out that White's a-pawn is utterly unimportant here, and this exact position would still be a draw even if White had no pawn."



It is a win for Black. One of the most surprising and stubborn variations is the following:

64. Kc4 a4 65. Kb4 a3 66. Kxa3 Rb5 67. Rc4+ Kd7!! Only winning move! 68. Rh4 Rb1 69. Ka2 Rb8 70. Rh6 Kc6 71. Rh1 Kc5 72. Rc1+ Kd4 73. Rd1+ Ke5 74. Re1+ Kf4 75. Rd1 Rb6! 76. Ka3 Ke4 77. Re1+ Kd3 78. Rd1+ Kc2 79. Rd5 Kc3! 80. Ka2 Kc4 81. Rd2 d5-+
Matthias Matthias 4/3/2017 01:23
@TommyCB: Impressive comment on many levels...
jonkm jonkm 4/3/2017 02:38
Surprising how often we see weak endgame play from top GMs, as in Akobian-Shankland.
Magnus- I am your father Magnus- I am your father 4/3/2017 03:16
America... or Diversity Inc. Of the founding stock of the country, there is exactly 0/24 representation and the majority were not even born on US soil. Should we have affirmative action in chess?
koko48 koko48 4/3/2017 04:38
@Magnus... Who cares about the 'founding stock' of the country? Those people never played the best chess. Chess was dominated for the previous 100+ years by Jews, now Asians

The most talented achievers in America per capita, were always immigrants and first generation Americans from different shores. Even now most of our IT work is done by Indians and Chinese. If we still relied on the 'founding stock' for any intellectual achievement, the US would be in even worse shape than it is
ChiliBean ChiliBean 4/3/2017 05:15
@TommyCB Fascinating how the a-pawn forces white into a losing position after all.
Taric Taric 4/4/2017 03:04
Great photos! I especially like the one of Onischuk.
WildKid WildKid 4/4/2017 06:55
Magnus I am your father: You are right, there are no Native American or Inuit players in this tournament. Perhaps more should be done to encourage chess on Native reservations?
Magnus- I am your father Magnus- I am your father 4/5/2017 12:50
@WildKid You are illiterate and unfunny. Virtue signal with pitiful wit somewhere else.
1