Alexander Onischuk, Anna Zatonskih US Championships

3/13/2006 – In the final game in Group A he narrowly avoided defeat at the hands of the 2005 US Champions, 18-year-old Hikaru Nakamura. In the Championship match Ukraine-born Alexander Onischuk, 30, defeated Group B winner Yury Shulman to take the title. In the women's section the title went to Anna Zatonskih. Illustrated report.

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The real drama came in the final round of the main event. After a dismal start last year's champion Hikaru Nakamura had climbed all the way to the top and was just one point behind the leader, Alexander Onischuk. The two faced each other for a showdown on the board.

Onischuk,A (2650) - Nakamura,H (2644) [A70]
United States Championship 2006 San Diego USA (9), 11.03.2006

In this position Hikaru Nakamura had an excellent chance – to win and register the greatest comeback since, well, Topalov on Friday in Linares. The defending champion could have played 29...Qxf3 with excellent winning prospects (e.g. 30.Rxe7 Rxe7 31.Bf6 Rxe1 32.Qxe1 bxc4 33.Qe8+ Nf8). Instead he played 29...Qh3 and after 30.Kg1 Bg4 31.Nh2 Bxe2 32.Bxe2 Kxg7 the games was drawn in 65 moves.

That left Onischuk the winner by half a point in group A. In group B three players tied for first: Yuri Shulman, Gata Kamsky and Larry Christiansen. Shulman was the winner on tiebreaks. Here are the final standings after the main tournaments:

Group A

No.  T Name USCF FIDE Pts
1 GM Onischuk, Alexander 2686 2650 7.0
2 GM Ibragimov, Ildar 2707 2635 6.5
3 GM Stripunsky, Alexander 2642 2564 6.5
4 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 2774 2644 6.0
5 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2662 2600 5.5
6 IM Finegold, Benjamin 2657 2563 5.5
7 GM Kudrin, Sergey 2627 2554 5.5
8 GM Gurevich, Dmitry 2562 2503 5.5
9 IM Fernandez, Daniel 2424 2423 5.5
10 GM Goldin, Alexander 2642 2598 5.0
11 GM Serper, Gregory 2577 2517 5.0
12 IM Kraai, Jesse 2540 2443 5.0
13 IM Friedel, Joshua 2513 2455 5.0
14 FM Stein, Alan 2486 2415 5.0
15 WGM Goletiani, Rusudan  (w) 2393 2378 5.0
16 GM Benjamin, Joel 2624 2576 4.5
17 GM Dlugy, Maxim 2604 2531 4.5
18 GM De Firmian, Nick 2600 2547 4.5
19 IM Schneider, Dmitry 2525 2486 4.5
20 FM Schneider, Igor 2420 2376 4.5
21 IM Florean, Andrei 2479 2426 4.0
22 FM Tate, Emory 2441 2391 4.0
23 IM Lenderman, Alex 2427 2431 4.0
24 WFM Ross, Laura  (w) 2238 2141 4.0
25 IM Gonzalez, Renier 2548 2470 3.5
26 FM Bercys, Salvijus 2440 2358 3.5
27 WGM Baginskaite, Camilla  (w) 2331 2299 3.5
28 WIM Epstein, Esther  (w) 2172 2178 3.5
29 WFM Vicary, Elizabeth  (w) 2118 2107 3.5
30   Zenyuk, Iryna  (w) 2101 2194 3.0
31   Kleiman, Jake 2318 2279 1.5
32   Cottrell-Finegold, Kelly  (w) 1663 1887 0.0

Group B

No. T Name USCF FIDE Pts
1 GM Shulman, Yury 2623 2581 6.5
2 GM Kamsky, Gata 2729 2686 6.5
3 GM Christiansen, Larry 2633 2546 6.5
4 GM Fishbein, Alexander 2593 2519 6.0
5 GM Novikov, Igor 2643 2575 5.5
6 GM Kaidanov, Gregory 2722 2603 5.0
7 GM Shabalov, Alexander 2665 2595 5.0
8 GM Ivanov, Alexander 2657 2606 5.0
9 IM Perelshteyn, Eugene 2614 2522 5.0
10 GM Yermolinsky, Alex 2590 2554 5.0
11 GM Wojtkiewicz, Aleks 2555 2554 5.0
12 GM Kreiman, Boris 2535 2478 5.0
13 GM Browne, Walter 2507 2434 5.0
14 WGM Zatonskih, Anna  (w) 2469 2433 5.0
15 GM Gulko, Boris 2678 2585 4.5
16 GM Becerra, Julio 2629 2556 4.5
17 GM Fedorowicz, John 2558 2493 4.5
18 IM Milman, Lev 2528 2478 4.5
19 IM Kriventsov, Stanislav 2491 2449 4.5
20 IM Ippolito, Dean 2464 2414 4.5
21 FM Muhammad, Stephen 2458 2377 4.5
22 IM Lugo, Blas 2440 2412 4.5
23 IM Ginsburg, Mark 2425 2367 4.0
24 IM Vigorito, David 2422 2359 4.0
25 IM Sarkar, Justin 2399 2323 4.0
26 WFM Abrahamyan, Tatev  (w) 2325 2254 4.0
27 WIM Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg  (w) 2271 2208 3.5
28   Liu, Elliott 2266 2139 3.5
29   Airapetian, Chouchanik (w) 2162 2130 3.5
30   West, Vanessa  (w) 2034 2083 3.5
31 WFM Itkis, Hana  (w) 2149 2105 1.5
32 WCM Christiansen, Natasha  (w) 1872 2003 0.5

The winners of each group qualified for the Championship Match (in Group B the tiebreak system favoured Shulman over Kamsky and Christiansen). The top women payer in each group, Goletiani and Zatonskih, also qualified for the Championship Match for the women's section. The following results were achieved:

US Championship Match

Aledander Onischuk 
½-½
 Yury Shulman
Yury Shulman 
0-1
 Aledander Onischuk 

Alexander Onischuk defeated Yury Shulman 1.5-0.5 to become the 2006 US Champion!

US Women's Championship
Rusadan Goletiani 
0-1
 Anna Zatonskih
Anna Zatonskih 
½-½
 Rusadan Goletiani

Anna Zatonskih defeated the defending champion Rusadan Goletiani to become the 2006 US Women's Champion!


US Championship match between Shulman and Onischuk


Anna Zatonskih on the way to victory against Rusadan Goletiani


The new US Champion 2006: Alexander Onischuk


Giving mom the good news? US Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih


Hikaru Nakamura losing to Camilla Baginskaite. After that he won four in a row


Two former US champions analysing: Alex Yermolinsky and Boris Gulko


Another two former champions: Gata Kamsky and Larry Christiansen


Six times US Champion Walter Browne


Great pals: Laura Ross and Hana Itkis


Bet you can't do that! Kelly Cottrell-Finegold who scored a record-breaking 0/9.

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