Tactics at the 2005 US Championship

12/4/2004 – After eight rounds at the 2005 US Championship in San Diego Alex Stripunsky and 17-year-old Hikaru Nakamura are in the lead. We bring you results and games, but also a something special: a set of twelve positions from this event which you can print out and use to hone your tactical skills.

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2005 US Chess Championship

November 23 – December 5, 2004
San Diego, California

The titles of 2005 US and Women's Chess Champion will be decided in an event which is taking place at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines hotel. The event is titled "2005" because, due to an awkward contractual conflict, the US Chess Federation held a 2004 Women's championship earlier this year. All of the players, men and women, participate in the same Swiss event. The Women's champion is the woman who scores the greatest number of points. There are 64 players, 49 men and 15 women. The prize fund, provided by America's Foundation for Chess (AFC), is over $250,000. First prize is $25,000 overall and $12,500 for the Women's champion.

Standings after eight rounds

# Name Rts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts
1 Stripunsky,A 2533 w 1/18 b 1/37 b ½/2 w 1/8 b ½/31 w 1/20 w ½/5 b ½/3 6.0
2 Nakamura,H 2620 w 1/41 b 1/36 w ½/1 b 1/28 w ½/3 b ½/7 b 1/8 w ½/4 6.0
3 Kudrin,S 2528 w 1/52 b 1/4 w 1/6 b ½/30 b ½/2 w 0/8 b 1/25 w ½/1 5.5
4 Goldin,A 2620 b 1/35 w 0/3 b ½/34 w 1/32 b ½/10 w 1/22 b 1/20 b ½/2 5.5
5 Shulman,Y 2549 b 1/56 w ½/8 b ½/9 w 1/43 b ½/11 w 1/31 b ½/1 b ½/7 5.5
6 Ibragimov,I 2585 b 1/55 w 1/20 b 0/3 w ½/22 b 1/45 w ½/9 b ½/10 w 1/23 5.5
7 Serper,G 2542 b ½/51 w 1/62 b ½/29 w 1/42 b 1/21 w ½/2 b ½/9 w ½/5 5.5
8 Kaidanov,G 2611 w 1/53 b ½/5 w 1/16 b 0/1 w 1/19 b 1/3 w 0/2 b ½/11 5.0
9 Gulko,B 2600 w 1/32 b ½/16 w ½/5 b ½/19 w 1/36 b ½/6 w ½/7 b ½/15 5.0
10 Becerra,J 2537 w 1/49 b ½/13 w 0/30 b 1/44 w ½/4 b 1/26 w ½/6 w ½/12 5.0
11 Benjamin,J 2554 w ½/44 b ½/48 w 1/18 b 1/37 w ½/5 b ½/14 w ½/17 w ½/8 5.0
12 Akobian,V 2571 w 1/40 b ½/27 w ½/17 b ½/36 w ½/16 b ½/29 w 1/21 b ½/10 5.0
13 Onischuk,A 2653 b 1/25 w ½/10 b ½/22 w 0/20 b 1/34 w ½/21 w 1/42 b ½/17 5.0
14 Kamsky,G 2717 b ½/50 w ½/21 b ½/32 w 1/27 b ½/15 w ½/11 b ½/23 w 1/28 5.0
15 Wojtkiewicz,A 2539 w 1/47 b ½/30 w ½/42 b ½/23 w ½/14 b ½/18 b 1/46 w ½/9 5.0
16 Gurevich,D 2499 b 1/54 w ½/9 b 0/8 w 1/39 b ½/12 w ½/28 b ½/31 w 1/29 5.0
17 Gonzalez,R 2428 w 1/59 b ½/33 b ½/12 w 0/31 w 1/40 b 1/30 b ½/11 w ½/13 5.0
18 Bercys,S 2356 b 0/1 w 1/57 b 0/11 w 1/58 b 1/50 w ½/15 b ½/28 w 1/31 5.0
19 Perelshteyn,E 2579 b ½/62 w ½/51 b 1/46 w ½/9 b 0/8 w 1/35 w ½/29 b 1/30 5.0
20 Fishbein,A 2505 w 1/43 b 0/6 w 1/48 b 1/13 w 1/30 b 0/1 w 0/4 b ½/24 4.5
21 Schneider,D 2453 w 1/61 b ½/14 w ½/24 b 1/33 w 0/7 b ½/13 b 0/12 w 1/45 4.5
22 Altounian,L 2456 w ½/60 b 1/44 w ½/13 b ½/6 w ½/26 b 0/4 w ½/27 b 1/42 4.5
23 Lugo,B 2399 b 0/28 w 1/58 b 1/50 w ½/15 w ½/24 b 1/38 w ½/14 b 0/6 4.5
24 Christiansen,L 2531 b 1/46 w ½/45 b ½/21 w ½/29 b ½/23 w 0/25 b 1/41 w ½/20 4.5
25 Milman,L 2434 w 0/13 b 0/43 w 1/59 b 1/47 w 1/33 b 1/24 w 0/3 b ½/26 4.5
26 Yermolinsky,A 2568 b ½/29 w ½/50 b 1/55 w ½/45 b ½/22 w 0/10 b 1/32 w ½/25 4.5
27 Lapshun,Y 2461 b 1/57 w ½/12 b 0/28 b 0/14 w ½/39 w 1/62 b ½/22 w 1/44 4.5
28 DeFirmian,N 2550 w 1/23 b ½/42 w 1/27 w 0/2 b ½/29 b ½/16 w ½/18 b 0/14 4.0
29 Zilberstein,D 2379 w ½/26 b 1/38 w ½/7 b ½/24 w ½/28 w ½/12 b ½/19 b 0/16 4.0
30 Novikov,I 2588 b 1/34 w ½/15 b 1/10 w ½/3 b 0/20 w 0/17 b 1/50 w 0/19 4.0
31 Shabalov,A 2608 w 0/42 b 1/60 w 1/40 b 1/17 w ½/1 b 0/5 w ½/16 b 0/18 4.0
32 Martinez,M 2383 b 0/9 w 1/56 w ½/14 b 0/4 w ½/44 b 1/39 w 0/26 b 1/51 4.0
33 Finegold,B 2531 b 1/39 w ½/17 b ½/45 w 0/21 b 0/25 w 1/43 b ½/34 w ½/35 4.0
34 Friedel,J 2436 w 0/30 b 1/49 w ½/4 b ½/38 w 0/13 b 1/51 w ½/33 b ½/36 4.0
35 Krush,I (w) 2464 w 0/4 b 1/47 w 0/43 b 1/52 w ½/46 b 0/19 w 1/49 b ½/33 4.0
36 Lakdawala,C 2422 b 1/64 w 0/2 b 1/52 w ½/12 b 0/9 w ½/41 b ½/44 w ½/34 4.0
37 Kriventsov,S 2414 b 1/58 w 0/1 b 1/51 w 0/11 b ½/43 w 0/46 w 1/56 b ½/38 4.0
38 Ivanov,A 2582 b ½/48 w 0/29 b 1/54 w ½/34 b ½/42 w 0/23 b 1/55 w ½/37 4.0
39 Hoekstra,M 2369 w 0/33 b ½/63 w 1/60 b 0/16 b ½/27 w 0/32 b 1/54 w 1/50 4.0
40 Burnett,R 2444 b 0/12 w 1/64 b 0/31 w 1/54 b 0/17 w 0/50 b 1/43 w 1/46 4.0
41 Muhammad,S 2387 b 0/2 w 0/54 b 1/64 w ½/51 w 1/56 b ½/36 w 0/24 b 1/53 4.0
42 Zatonskih,A (w) 2440 b 1/31 w ½/28 b ½/15 b 0/7 w ½/38 w 1/45 b 0/13 w 0/22 3.5
43 Battsetseg,T (w) 2243 b 0/20 w 1/25 b 1/35 b 0/5 w ½/37 b 0/33 w 0/40 w 1/55 3.5
44 Adamson,R 2373 b ½/11 w 0/22 b 1/62 w 0/10 b ½/32 w 1/53 w ½/36 b 0/27 3.5
45 Browne,W 2455 w 1/63 b ½/24 w ½/33 b ½/26 w 0/6 b 0/42 w 1/47 b 0/21 3.5
46 Goletiani,R (w) 2336 w 0/24 b 1/61 w 0/19 w 1/53 b ½/35 b 1/37 w 0/15 b 0/40 3.5
47 Casella,M 2259 b 0/15 w 0/35 b 1/57 w 0/25 b ½/54 w 1/58 b 0/45 w 1/56 3.5
48 Lopez,B 2403 w ½/38 w ½/11 b 0/20 w 0/50 b 0/62 b 1/59 w 1/63 b ½/52 3.5
49 Abrahamyan,T (w) 2238 b 0/10 w 0/34 b 0/58 b 1/63 w 1/61 w ½/55 b 0/35 w 1/62 3.5
50 Kraai,J 2425 w ½/14 b ½/26 w 0/23 b 1/48 w 0/18 b 1/40 w 0/30 b 0/39 3.0
51 La Rota,F 2333 w ½/7 b ½/19 w 0/37 b ½/41 b ½/55 w 0/34 b 1/57 w 0/32 3.0
52 Shahade,J (w) 2361 b 0/3 b 1/53 w 0/36 w 0/35 b 0/57 w ½/54 b 1/58 w ½/48 3.0
53 Enkhbat,T 2406 b 0/8 w 0/52 w 1/63 b 0/46 w 1/60 b 0/44 b 1/62 w 0/41 3.0
54 Ross,L (w) 2117 w 0/16 b 1/41 w 0/38 b 0/40 w ½/47 b ½/52 w 0/39 b ½/59 2.5
55 Lein,A 2387 w 0/6 b 1/59 w 0/26 b ½/56 w ½/51 b ½/49 w 0/38 b 0/43 2.5
56 Kleiman,J 2217 w 0/5 b 0/32 w 1/61 w ½/55 b 0/41 w 1/57 b 0/37 b 0/47 2.5
57 West,V (w) 2107 w 0/27 b 0/18 w 0/47 b 1/59 w 1/52 b 0/56 w 0/51 b ½/60 2.5
58 Zenyuk,I (w) 2153 w 0/37 b 0/23 w 1/49 b 0/18 w ½/63 b 0/47 w 0/52 b 1/64 2.5
59 Airapetian,C (w) 2149 b 0/17 w 0/55 b 0/25 w 0/57 b 1/64 w 0/48 b 1/61 w ½/54 2.5
60 Epstein,E (w) 2188 b ½/22 w 0/31 b 0/39 w ½/62 b 0/53 w ½/61 b ½/64 w ½/57 2.5
61 Vayserberg,T (w) 1973 b 0/21 w 0/46 b 0/56 w 1/64 b 0/49 b ½/60 w 0/59 b 1/63 2.5
62 Hahn,A (w) 2235 w ½/19 b 0/7 w 0/44 b ½/60 w 1/48 b 0/27 w 0/53 b 0/49 2.0
63 Levina,A (w) 2052 b 0/45 w ½/39 b 0/53 w 0/49 b ½/58 w 1/64 b 0/48 w 0/61 2.0
64 Sagalchik,O (w) 2132 w 0/36 b 0/40 w 0/41 b 0/61 w 0/59 b 0/63 w ½/60 w 0/58 0.5

Renier Gonzalez needs 5 ½ points for a GM norm; Salvijus Bercys needs 5 points for an IM Norm (Done!); Josh Friedel needs 4 points for an IM Norm (Done!); Dmitry Zilberstein needs 4 points for an IM Norm (Done!); Lev Milman needs 5 points for an IM Norm; Marcel Martinez needs 4½ points for an IM Norm; Anna Zatonskih needs 4 points for an IM Norm; Tsagaan Battsetseg needs 4 points for a WGM norm and 4½ points for an IM norm; Tatev Abrahamyan needs 4 ½ points for a WIM norm


Tactics from the US Championship

Nakamura,H (2620) - Muhammad,S (2387) [C78]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (1), 24.11.2004

White to play. What did Black overlook with his last move (27...Ra8.b8)? How did White win a piece and the game?


Ross,L (2117) - Gurevich,D (2499) [B72]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (1), 24.11.2004

Black, to play, has a very powerful shot here. Can you work out the entire combination until a stable material advantage is achieved?


Ivanov,A (2582) - Zilberstein,D (2379) [C78]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (2), 25.11.2004

Black to play. His rook is attacked, but Black hammers back with a deadly combination. You have to find two good moves to finish it off.


Muhammad,S (2387) - Ross,L (2117) [D15]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (2), 25.11.2004

Black to play. With queen and rook hanging Black has to find an accurate move (actually one of two accurate moves) to keep his advantage and win the game.


Airapetian,C (2149) - Lein,A (2387) [C11]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (2), 25.11.2004

Black to play. You will probably immediately spot the little combination that wins a pawn...


West,V (2107) - Casella,M (2259) [B22]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (3), 26.11.2004

Black to play. Another very simply motif you should spot in a flash: how does Black pick up material?


Adamson,R (2373) - Becerra,J (2537) [B67]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (4), 28.11.2004

Black, to play, is clearly winning, but how can he pick up the point with one simple tactical shot?


Abrahamyan,T (2238) - Vayserberg,T (1973) [C02]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (5), 29.11.2004

White to play. Black was doing fine, but his last move, 28...Bd7-c6, was a disastrous blunder. Why?


Stripunsky,A (2533) - Fishbein,A (2505) [C83]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (6), 30.11.2004

White to play. Do you see the combination that wins the game for White?


Levina,A (2052) - Sagalchik,O (2132) [B01]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (6), 30.11.2004

White to play. Why was 21...f5 a deadly mistake? Hint: White provoked it with 21.Qd1-a1.


Enkhbat,T (2406) - Muhammad,S (2387) [A91]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (8), 03.12.2004

Black to play. White was doing fine, but his last move allowed Black to take him out with one sharp shot.


Zatonskih,A (2440) - Browne,W (2455) [E42]
2005 US Chessmaster Championship San Diego (6), 30.11.2004

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.Nge2 cxd4 6.exd4 d5 7.a3 Be7 8.Nf4 dxc4 9.Bxc4 0-0 10.0-0 Nc6 11.Be3 Bd6 12.Nh5 Nd5 13.Qf3 Qh4 14.g3 Nxd4 15.Qd1 Nxe3 16.fxe3 Nf3+ 17.Qxf3 Qxc4 18.Ne4 Be5 19.Rac1 Qd3

White to play. Six-times US champion Walter Browne was doing fine in this viciously attacking game against WGM Anna Zatonskih. But he threw it away by moving his queen to d3. How does the game end?



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