Saint Louis: Zatonskih and Zhao lead

by ChessBase
7/15/2010 – Four Zs squared off in pivotal match-ups in Saint Louis. Two of them brought their A-game. IM Anna Zatonskih topped WIM Iryna Zenyuk and NM Parker Zhao outlasted FM Steven Zierk in round-five action. IM Irina Krush conceded a twelve-move draw. After five rounds Zatonskih leads by half and Zhao by a full point. Round five report.

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2010 U.S. Women's and
Junior Closed Championships

Two of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, the 2010 U.S. Women's Championship and the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed Championship are taking place July 9-20 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. IM Anna Zatonskih is looking to defend her crown, which she won for two years in succession. In the Junior section Ray Robson is the top seed.

Women round five – July 14, 2010
Zatonskih, Anna
Zenyuk, Iryna
Abrahamyan, Tatev
Marshall, Abby
Baginskaite, Camilla
Krush, Irina
Rohonyan, Katerina
Melekhina, Alisa
Marinello, Beatriz M
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca

Anna Zatonskih has proven she can play any opening in the book. She has utilized a different opening for each round: the Queen’s Gambit, the Semi-Slav, an off-beat line against the Benoni, the Alekhine, and the Trompowski for rounds one through five, respectively. In round five she played the Trompowski with White, she pulled off another win in a close game against Zenyuk.

The game between WGM Camilla Baginskaite and IM Irina Krush ended with a controversial “forced” draw – a triple repetition after move twelve. The U.S. Women’s Championship features a 30-move minimum before a draw can be offered. “You cannot force a player to make a move they’re not going to make,” said Assistant Arbiter Chris Bird. Tournament commentator Ben Finegold said he was surprised that Krush decided to draw, which put her in a tie for second with Tatev Abrahamyan. “I think this draw’s gonna cost her,” he said.

For years WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (above) has demonstrated her fighting spirit as she won the fighting prize at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Championship and all nine of her games proved decisive at last year’s U.S. Women’s Championship. “Last year I had 4/9; this year I have 4/5,” Abrahamyan said. “I think that’s big progress.”

WGM Sabina Foisor (above right) pulled off a victory against WIM Beatriz Marinello in round five to score her first victory at the tournament. Marinello advanced her kingside pawns in front of her castled king in a dubious attack, and Foisor was able to exploit Marinello’s weaknesses to pick up the full point.

Standings after five rounds

Juniors round five – July 14, 2010
Zhao, Parker
Zierk, Steven C
Harper, Warren
Rosen, Eric S
Shankland, Samuel L
Hughes, Tyler B
Bryant, John Daniel
Yang, Darwin
Holt, Conrad
Robson, Ray

Parker Zhao earned a full point yet again, pushing his score to 4.5/5 at the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed Championship. With White agaisnt FM Steven Zierk, he used a kingside pawn majority to slowly overwhelm his opponent in a bishop ending. “I’m feeling confident, more confident than at the beginning of the tournament,” Zhao said.

Parker Zhao with tournament commentator Jennifer Shahade

A loss by FM Warren Harper and draws by FM Darwin Yang and GM Ray Robson have allowed Zhao to further distance himself from the field, a full point ahead of Yang and Robson who each have 3.5/5.

GM Ray Robson after his round five draw against...

... Conrad Holt, rated 160 points below the top seed

NM Eric Rosen (above) continues to make noise this year with his round-five upset of Harper. The lowest-rated player, coming into the tourney, has proven that he’s a tough opponent to beat.

Standings after five rounds


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