Favorites dominate first round of US Championship

by André Schulz
4/15/2016 – With Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So three of the world's best player take part in the US Championship 2016. They all started well into the tournament and showed their class by beating their first round opponents in textbook fashion. In the women's tournament the favorites Krush and Zatonskih started less convincingly.

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The first round of the US Championship 2016 was played 14th April. The overall prize-fund of about 300,000 USD and the prestige of the tournament attracted a very strong field to St. Louis, where the Chess Club and Scholastic Center supported by sponsor Rex Sinquefield once against hosts the event.

Nominally, the US Championship 2016, is the strongest of all time. The top favorites are Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, but players such as Ray Robson or Sam Shankland or the young talents Akshat Chandra or Jefferey Xiong are always good for a surprise.

But in the first round the favorites showed why they are the favorites. Varuzhan Akobian had to play with Black against Fabiano Caruana and tried arather rare line of the Scandinavian perhaps hoping to bring Caruana out of book. But Caruana showed his opponent why this line is not often played by the top opponents Caruana usually plays against. Black did not get any counterplay and lost without much of a fight.



Hikaru Nakamura answered Lenderman's attempt to play a Semi-Slav by transposing to a gambit line of the Catalan. In this line Nakamura gave up material but had a lot of pressure - too much for Lenderman who soon collapsed.





Wesley So followed the advice of Pavel Eljanov and quickly and convincingly demolished Gata Kamsky's Breyer Defense of the Ruy Lopez by sacrificing a knight on f5.



Wesley So

Defending champion Hikaru Nakamura is interviewed

Round 1- results

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Result Title Name Coun ELO
1 GM Fabiano Caruana
2794 1 - 0 GM Varuzhan Akobian
2 GM Hikaru Nakamura
2790 1 - 0 GM Aleksandr Lenderman
3 GM Wesley So
2773 1 - 0 GM Gata Kamsky
4 GM Samuel L Shankland
2648 1 - 0 IM Akshat Chandra
5 GM Alexander Onischuk
2664 ½ - ½ GM Jeffery Xiong
6 GM Alexander Shabalov
2520 0 - 1 GM Ray Robson

Games of round 1





Women's tournament

Top favorites in the US Women's Championship are Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush. But in the first round both had to concede a draw   with Black.

Round 1 - results

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Result Title Name Coun ELO
1 IM Nazi Paikidze
2346 ½ - ½ IM Anna Zatonskih
2 WGM Katerina Nemcova
2367 ½ - ½ GM Irina Krush
3 WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
2324 1 - 0 WIM Agata Bykovtsev
4 WGM Sabina Francesca Foisor
2258 ½ - ½ FM Alisa Melekhina
5 WFM Jennifer R Yu
2102 ½ - ½ WIM Ashritha Eswaran
6   Carissa Yip
2109 1 - 0 FM Akshita Gorti

Round 1 - Games




The Chess Hall of Fame

Without Rex Sinquefield none of this would happen

Fabiano Caruana plays...

... against his manager Lawrence Trent

The ladies share pictures and news


Pictures: Tournament page (Lennart Ootes)

Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/17/2016 02:06
@firestorm -- More adhominem.

Raymond Labelle made the original comment about American names, and then the comment against him was made that there are no American names and there is no American language. That is a large claim, and if the troll accusation is to be made, it should be made of Aighearach for such ridiculous claims.

But I don't call him a troll. I simply refute his claims. You, on the other hand, don't prove anything by calling somebody a troll, except only you cannot offer a valid argument. If you have an argument, present it. Telling somebody to find a book and read it is not an argument.
firestorm firestorm 4/17/2016 09:25
A troll in the discussion of American names I detect.


A7fecd1676b88, if you haven't read it, go find a book called "The Lone Ranger and Tonto fist fight in Heaven" and read the opening story. You might have a different take on names then. If you read the first story, read the whole book. You might have a better understanding of the cultural matters others are alluding to but you're missing.

A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/16/2016 09:03
@DJones - You ad hominem is proof you have ran out of arguments. Your resignation is accepted.
DJones DJones 4/16/2016 06:52
You are an idiot. As Butch in Pulp Fiction said.

"I'm American baby, our names don't mane shit"

Here are an example of the names of kids in my class growing up:

Amelie, Miller
Trey Davis
David Penske
Lee Fan
Summer Sanders
JJ S. Afifi

Many had an anglo name mashed up with a non-anglo name and some had no anglo name at all. So what?

All of these kids were born in the US and none had a foreign accent.Stop telling people who know better than you how it is. In some states like UTAH nearly every name is Anglo but in my state, California ,this is not the case.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/16/2016 04:44
@Aighearach -- "Your views would fit in better in a culture where names have to come off a list of approved names, and where they have different lists for boys and girls. In America we don't have that and it would cause riots if you succeeded at getting the law passed. ;)"

As I stated, and as you continue to show with the above false statement, you don't simply do not understand American culture. We do have a list of names that are not allowed, although the list varies from state to state. For example, in New Jersey you cannot name your child R2D2...Guess I missed those New Jersey riots, since the list is part of New Jersey law. LOL.

Oh well, at least you still have your perceptions.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/16/2016 03:11
@Aighearach As I see you have not attempted to defend your statement there is no American language, I will assume you cede that point.

Regarding American names:
Your statement about Sasha proves you don't understand American culture. Sasha, in America, is a girls name. If there was a boy Sasha in your school, the chances are high that his parents were recent immigrants from Europe.

Yes, you can have your own opinion and perceptions, but you cannot have your own facts. Wikipedia is not the best source of facts admittedly, nonetheless: "In the United States the name (Sasha) is almost exclusively used for girls (at number 569 in the ranking of U.S. baby names in 2014[4]), although it didn't gain popularity until the 1970s." Yes, in the US, Sasha truly is a girls name. You are however free to keep your perceptions. LOL.

I completely understand your position. As you don't understand what American culture actually is, your perception then is that there isn't one.

Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 4/16/2016 12:09
Aighearach Aighearach 4/16/2016 10:10

English names would indicate England, not America.

This isn't actually a difficult concept. You don't have to intentionally misunderstand what I clearly stated just to disagree; it is possible to understand what is said, and then also disagree. Actually, it is easier to disagree with what you understand than what you don't understand, because if you don't understand you risk disagreeing with the wrong thing!

As I already indicated that I am an American, it seems especially odd to suggest that it is even possible for me not to understand American culture. Whatever I perceive as American culture is factually indisputable. Do 300 million people have identical culture, or is culture merely the range of individual cultures that exist in the group? As an American, obviously I would fight to the death to defend my own personal concept of my culture. We call that Patriotism.

Also, I meet boys named Sasha. There was a Sasha in my elementary school. Some States, Jimmy is usually a boys name; other States it is usually a girls name. They're just as American in either place; even if they move to the other! Actually a few years ago one of the candidates for Mayor of my city was named Sasha; a man, of course. My own first name was more often a boys name before 1979, the first year it was commonly a girls name.

Your views would fit in better in a culture where names have to come off a list of approved names, and where they have different lists for boys and girls. In America we don't have that, and it would cause riots if you succeeded at getting the law passed. ;)
Karbuncle Karbuncle 4/16/2016 07:49
There's no such thing as an "American Name". I was born and raised in the States as were my ancestors going back since the country was founded, yet my name would appear to be German. People (specifically non-Americans) seem to forget that this country is based on the melting pot idea. That we have all types of races and creeds with names from all over the world. Besides, anyone who's watched interviews with Hikaru or Fabiano can tell right away they are American-raised with their accents.
geraldsky geraldsky 4/16/2016 05:33
The author is well balanced in his reporting.
Unlike Mr. Ramirez' report about Gm Wesley So.. very clear that Mr.Ramirez did not like Gm So. The role of the Chessbase writer should be neutral, fair and balance to the players.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/16/2016 01:35
@Aighearach -" there isn't even an American language from which to nominate "American" names."
LOL. At the risk of stating the obvious, the language of America is English.

Of course there are American names, just as there are English names.
To demonstrate this, you simply need to watch the credits in English, not American, movies and TV shows, and you will start seeing a pattern of names that you don't see ,or rarely see, in the US.

I don't know of anybody in the US named Magnus (though I am sure there are such people). Magnus would not be considered an American name.

Another example: Sasha is only used as a girls name in the US, never a boy. 100% pure American usage. In Russia/Ukraine, it is a boys or girls name, depending on whether it is the tender form for Alexander or Alexandra.
To understand what is an American name, you have to understand American culture first, and if you don't even understand what the language of America is, there is little hope for that..
Aighearach Aighearach 4/15/2016 10:15

None of them are true Scotsman. And none have a "true American name." I was born an American, and I could have any name. There is no such thing as an "American" name. I'm part Cherokee, and Cherokee name wouldn't be any more or less American than a Navajo name, or an English name, or a name from any other language; there isn't even an American language from which to nominate "American" names.

The only sense that a name could be a "true" American name would be in the case of, for example, Caruana who was born in Florida and so is the truest possible "American," and also has a name. Or another example, Nakamura, who is as much a New Yorker as any, and also has a name.

I don't know all their biographies, but I'll bet there are a bunch of other "true" American names.

@Maturner: it is hard to get the strongest players to play on the Olympic Team, it doesn't pay well the US doesn't have a tradition of spending money to maintain the careers of the top players, so there is no natural synergy there that would make it enhance their careers. A lot of players would rather play in a regular tournament and make some money. So it is just not so competitive that it would make sense to bundle it in. And even if it was that competitive, it would only make sense to fill a wildcard slot that way, because chess ratings are fairly accurate; most Olympic events don't have accurate ratings.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 4/15/2016 10:01
To the three American names, you can add two with no American name who were born and raised in the US (FB and JK) and one who was mostly raised in the US (HN).

And for the 6 others, well, if they have chosen to become US citizens, they should fully be considered as so.

Maturner Maturner 4/15/2016 06:09
Maybe this tournament should decide board positions for the U.S. Olympic team.
Maturner Maturner 4/15/2016 06:05
sidbis sidbis 4/15/2016 05:25
In the men's American tournament: 12 players; 3 have only really american name... LOL
vladivaclav vladivaclav 4/15/2016 04:38
Fabiano is the strongest of course
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 4/15/2016 04:23
"Right Naka! But there is a reason why some thrash talk and tweet a lot, and thats why I dont think you will win!"
Hawkman Hawkman 4/15/2016 03:29
One of the Big 3 will win.