U.S. Champ R2: Favorites perfect

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/3/2015 – One did with a very clean game, the other with a bit of luck. Hikaru Nakamura cleanly wiped Varuzhan Akobian off the board after Akobian sacrificed a pawn, got no compensation and lost. Wesley So had a win against Sam Shankland, missed it, and a huge blunder by White in that game gave So the win. The best game of the day, though, without a doubt, was played in the Women's section.

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The 2015 U.S. Championship is an elite national championship event, featuring 12 of the strongest chess players in America. Over the course of eleven rounds, these competitors will battle for $175,000 in prize money, qualification into the World Championship cycle, and the coveted title of 2015 U.S. Champion.

U.S. Chess Championship - Round Two

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Troff, Kayden W 0.0 2532 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 0.0 2633 1-0
2 GM Shankland, Samuel L 0.5 2661 GM So, Wesley 1.0 2788 0-1
3 GM Sevian, Samuel 0.0 2531 GM Kamsky, Gata 0.5 2683 ½-½
4 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 1.0 2798 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 1.0 2622 1-0
5 GM Gareev, Timur 0.5 2604 GM Holt, Conrad 0.0 2530 0-1
6 GM Robson, Ray 1.0 2656 GM Onischuk, Alexander 0.5 2665

Troff, Kayden 1-0 Naroditsky, Daniel

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Troff, Kayden W"] [Black "Naroditsky, Daniel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D39"] [WhiteElo "2544"] [BlackElo "2640"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "129"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. d4 Bb4 5. Bg5 dxc4 {A Ragozin, a Vienna, make up your mind guys.} 6. e3 b5 7. Nd2 (7. a4 c6 8. Nd2 {is the more typical move order.}) 7... c6 {Black chooses to transpose, but there were other options.} ( 7... a6 8. Qf3 Ra7 {actually looks very playable for Black.}) 8. a3 {White forces Black to make a decision.} (8. a4) 8... Be7 (8... Bxc3 9. bxc3 {and Black will likely keep his pawn, but the dark squares will be terrible forever. }) 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. a4 {White breaks up Black's pawns, and now there is no Bxc3 to worry about.} Qb6 (10... Bd7 {looks ugly, but I think it is the best try to hang onto the pawns.}) 11. b3 cxb3 12. axb5 O-O 13. Qxb3 {Black has the bishops, but White has a permanently better structure. It also isn't so obvious what to do with Black's queenside pieces.} cxb5 14. Bxb5 Bd7 15. O-O Rc8 16. Rfc1 {White's move are simple and solid.} Nc6 17. Na4 $6 (17. Nc4 Qd8 18. Nd6 {also looks tempting.}) 17... Qa5 $2 {This move is hard to explain.} ( 17... Qd8 {looks normal, and if the obvious-looking} 18. Nc5 $2 {Black has} ( 18. Qd1 {is a better move, but clearly not what White planned.}) 18... Nxd4 $1 19. exd4 Bxb5 20. Qxb5 Bxd4 {and Black is better.}) 18. Nc3 $6 (18. Nc5 Qxd2 19. Nxd7 {looks simple and strong.} Qb4 20. Qxb4 Nxb4 21. Rxc8+ Rxc8 22. Rxa7 { and apart from a useless check on c1, I don't think Black has much compensation here.}) 18... Qb6 19. Ba6 Rcb8 20. Qxb6 Rxb6 21. Nc4 Rbb8 (21... Rb4 {is a better try, as it avoids getting his rooks stuck.}) 22. Nb5 $1 Rd8 23. Nbd6 Rab8 24. Nb7 Rf8 25. Nc5 Be8 {ugly, but there isn't much better.} ( 25... Rfd8 {I'd prefer going back with this move.}) 26. Nd6 Nb4 27. Be2 e5 { Naroditsky finds the only way to keep fighting.} 28. Nde4 (28. Nxe8 Rfxe8 29. dxe5 Bxe5 30. Rxa7 {and I think White has excellent chances to convert the pawn.}) 28... exd4 29. Nxf6+ gxf6 30. exd4 {White hasn't won a pawn yet, but the position is as unpleasant as ever.} Rd8 31. Ne4 Kg7 32. Ng3 Nc6 {This leads to trouble.} (32... Bd7 {was strong, trying to cover f5 and freeing is bishop.}) 33. Rd1 Kh8 34. d5 {Now Black is lost.} Ne7 35. Bf3 (35. Rxa7 Nxd5 36. Bf3 Bc6 37. h3 {and Black's pieces are completely stuck.}) 35... Nc8 {Now White has to work a bit more, but it is still on the verge.} 36. Ne4 Kg7 37. Ra6 Bb5 38. Rxf6 Ba4 (38... Ne7 {was a better chance, activating that guy.}) 39. Rd4 Bc2 40. Rf4 Rfe8 {Some mistakes, but approaching move 40 it is understandable. White managed to maintain his pawn advantage, and his pieces also stand better.} 41. h3 Bxe4 {The N vs. B doesn't offer much hope, since Black's kingside is so weak, but it was hard to recommend anything else.} 42. Bxe4 Nd6 43. Bd3 (43. Rg4+ {and Bf3 is more accurate.}) 43... Re1+ (43... h5 { I'd prefer to restrict White's rooks.}) 44. Kh2 Rd1 45. Rf3 f6 (45... h5 {was again necessary, but it looks bad.}) 46. Rh4 (46. Ra4 {immediately looks simpler, but Troff's idea is fine also.}) 46... f5 47. Ra4 Kf6 48. Rxa7 {It is too many pawns now. Danya fights on, but there isn't much hope.} Re8 49. Ra6 Ke5 50. Re3+ Ne4 51. Bxe4 fxe4 52. Re6+ Rxe6 53. dxe6 Kxe6 54. Rxe4+ Kf6 55. Kg3 Kg6 56. Re6+ Kf5 57. Rh6 Rd7 58. Kh4 Rf7 59. g3 Ke4 60. f4 Kf3 61. Ra6 Kg2 62. Ra5 Rf6 63. f5 h6 64. g4 Rb6 65. Ra3 {With Kh5 and h4-g5 coming, Black resigns. Troff emerged from the opening with strong positional pressure, and didn't give it up for the rest of the game.} 1-0

Shankland, Sam 0-1 So, Wesley
Sam Shankland's 60+ lossless streak came to an abrupt an end in the following tragic way:

[Event "ch-USA 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Shankland, S."] [Black "So, W."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2661"] [BlackElo "2788"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/4k3/3n1pK1/2N1p3/6P1/8/8 w - - 0 91"] [PlyCount "4"] [EventDate "2015.03.31"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 91. Nd2 Nf6 {After defending for a long time, Sam Shankland has reached a drawn position. Wesley So was unable to capitalize in a winning position, being up a pawn in a knight endgame.} 92. g4 $4 (92. Nc4 {was the easiest way to draw, but most logical moves also held the half point.}) 92... Nxg4 {It is unclear what Shankland missed...} (92... Nxg4 93. Nxe4 fxe4 94. Kxg4 Ke5 {is very obviously a lost pawn endgame.}) 0-1

Sevian, Sam ½-½ Kamsky, Gata

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Kamsky, Gata"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C95"] [WhiteElo "2548"] [BlackElo "2680"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 {Kamsky goes to his favorite Breyer system.} 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 g6 15. a4 {One of the main lines.} c5 16. d5 c4 17. Bg5 h6 18. Be3 Nc5 19. Qd2 Kh7 {The less popular move. It is likely that Gata wanted to take his young opponent out of prep.} (19... h5 {is the more common move, which has been played many times by Kamsky himself.}) 20. Bxc5 $5 {While it cannot be called a mistake, it is unusual to go for this exchange so quickly. Nh2 and Ra3 are more popular moves.} dxc5 21. Nf1 Re7 { This looks mysterious, but Kamsky is trying to put his knight on d6 via e8.} 22. Qe3 Rc8 23. g4 {This move was unexpected for me, since I think attacking on the kingside will be difficult without a bishop.} (23. N1d2 {followed by an eventual b3 break looks more standard.}) 23... Ne8 24. N3h2 Qc7 25. Qg3 Bg7 26. Ne3 Nd6 {Black has achieved as good of a setup as can be hoped for. Not that he is better, but I doubt Kamsky should have problems here.} 27. h4 Rf8 28. Kh1 Bc8 29. Rg1 Ree8 30. Rg2 Qd8 {Both sides are aiming their pieces at the kingside, where the action is taking place.} 31. g5 h5 32. Rag1 Qd7 33. Nf5 $5 {A thematic sac in the breyer, but it is rarely necessary to capture it.} Bh8 ( 33... gxf5 34. Qf3 {and Black is in bad shape.}) 34. Qf3 Kg8 35. Nf1 Nxf5 ( 35... gxf5 {is more playable now, but still looks risky.} 36. Qxh5 fxe4 37. g6 f6 38. g7 Bxg7 39. Rxg7+ Qxg7 40. Nd2 $13 (40. Rxg7+ Kxg7)) 36. exf5 e4 $1 { Black has to free his pieces.} 37. Bxe4 Rxe4 {An interesting exchange sac.} ( 37... Be5 {was an alternative.}) 38. Qxe4 Re8 39. Qf3 Qxf5 40. Qxf5 Bxf5 41. axb5 axb5 42. f3 {White has to cover the light squares.} Bd3 (42... b4 {I like playing this right away, trying to activate the h8 bishop.}) 43. Ng3 Rd8 44. Ra1 b4 45. Ne4 Rxd5 {White would be doing well if he could activate both rooks, but with only one rook in play I think Black should be doing fine.} 46. Ra8+ Kh7 47. Re8 Rf5 48. Rf2 {This leads to an easy liquidation, but I doubt there was anything better.} bxc3 49. bxc3 Bxe4 50. Rxe4 Bxc3 51. Rxc4 Bd4 {Despite the extra exchange, Black's active pieces secure a draw. Specifically, h4 will fall.} 52. Rf1 Rf4 53. Kg2 Rxh4 54. f4 {If Black's rook weren't completely out of play, I'd take Gata's position here, but as is it is simply drawn.} Rg4+ 55. Kf3 Rh4 56. Kg3 Rg4+ 57. Kf3 Rh4 58. Kg3 {An interesting struggle, and despite playing some unusual moves in the opening Sevian acquitted himself quite well.} 1/2-1/2

Samuel Sevian in his second U.S. Chess Championship

Robson, Ray ½-½ Onischuk, Alexander
Nothing much happened in this Spanish. Robson was forced to liquidate the position and it slowly dissipated into a draw after too many exchanges.

Ray Robson is in clear third with 1.5/2

Gareev, Timur 0-1 Holt, Conrad
An excellent bounce-back from Holt, who blundered his game away against Nakamura yesterday. Gareev tried to attack on the kingside but Holt had no problem thwarting the threats. Black doubled on the c-file, and wonderfully sacrificed a pawn to remove the White's light-squared bishop. This freed the e4 square and the resulting attack was decisive.

Timur Gareev fell in an exchange Slav

Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0 Akobian, Varuzhan
Akobian sacrificed a pawn early in the opening. Nakamura pointed out after the game that this was not really in Akobian's style - White was happy to take the pawn and make Black prove his compensation. Akobian seemed very uncomfortable, was completely unable to create any kind of counterplay, blundered a second pawn and Nakamura took an easy victory.

New World Number two in the live ratings: Hikaru Nakamura

With this win not only does Nakamura get to 2.0/2, he is above 2800, again, and he is now World #2, tied with Fabiano Caruana at 2804.

Pairings for Round Three

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Onischuk, Alexander 1.0 2665 GM Troff, Kayden W 1.0 2532  
2 GM Holt, Conrad 1.0 2530 GM Robson, Ray 1.5 2656  
3 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 1.0 2622 GM Gareev, Timur 0.5 2604  
4 GM Kamsky, Gata 1.0 2683 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 2.0 2798  
5 GM So, Wesley 2.0 2788 GM Sevian, Samuel 0.5 2531  
6 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 0.0 2633 GM Shankland, Samuel L 0.5 2661


Replay Round Two Games

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U.S. Women's Championship - Round Two

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 WCM Virkud, Apurva 1.0 2132 IM Paikidze, Nazi 0.5 2333 ½-½
2 GM Krush, Irina 0.5 2477 WIM Ni, Viktorija 0.5 2188 1-0
3 IM Goletiani, Rusudan 0.5 2311 WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 0.5 2276 1-0
4 WGM Sharevich, Anna 1.0 2267 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 0.5 2279 0-1
5 WIM Wang, Annie 1.0 1901 WFM Yu, Jennifer R 0.0 2180 0-1
6 FM Melekhina, Alisa 0.0 2235 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 0.0 2322 1-0

Virkud, Apurva ½-½ Paikidze, Nazi

Nazi Paikidze dominated this Benko Gambit game, but she was unable to put in those finishing touches:

[Event "ch-USA w 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Virkud, Apurva"] [Black "Paikidze, N."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A57"] [WhiteElo "2132"] [BlackElo "2333"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4rrk1/7p/p2Np1p1/2p5/1q3n1Q/3p2RP/PP3PP1/4R1K1 w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "36"] [EventDate "2015.03.31"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 33. Re4 Ne2+ (33... d2 {by far the easiest win.}) 34. Kh2 Qe1 35. Rxe2 Qxe2 $4 (35... dxe2 36. Nxe8 Qxf2 {and White has no good resource against e1=Q. For example.} 37. Qe7 Qxg3+ 38. Kxg3 e1=Q+ 39. Kh2 Qe5+ {And White gets mated, but even if she wasn't she is simply down material.}) 36. Nxe8 d2 37. Qe7 Qe5 38. Qd7 $2 (38. Qd8 $1 {preventing Rxf2.}) 38... d1=Q $2 (38... Rxf2 $19 {the threat is Rxg2+ and Qe2+} 39. h4 $8 Rf4 $1 $19) 39. Qxd1 Rxe8 40. Qd2 Rb8 { Time control is reached and the position is dead even.} 41. b3 Rf8 42. Kg1 Qa1+ 43. Kh2 Qd4 44. Qe2 Rxf2 45. Qxe6+ Kg7 46. Qxa6 Qe5 47. Qd3 Rxa2 48. Qc3 Kf6 49. Qf3+ Kg7 50. Qc3 Kf6 1/2-1/2

Apurva Virkud showed great technique yesterday, but today she can thank her lucky stars

Krush, Irina 1-0 Ni, Viktorija

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Krush, Irina"] [Black "Ni, Viktorija"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A40"] [WhiteElo "2477"] [BlackElo "2188"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. c4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 f5 {An old Dzindzichashvili speciality. You give up the dark-squared bishop and weaken your king, which is usually a bad combo, but the idea is that you control the e4 square and can eventually get counterplay against the doubled pawns.} 6. f3 (6. h4 {is a more common possibility, which leads to sharper play.}) 6... e5 {a rare move, but I like the idea, which is to get in a nice central move before White makes it harder to accomplish.} 7. Nh3 h6 {I can't say I approve of this move, however, which is extremely committal.} (7... d6 {looks like the logical follow up to e5.}) 8. g3 d6 9. Nf2 Nf6 10. e4 fxe4 11. fxe4 {The problem of the h6 move is shown - castling is more challenging now.} Qe7 12. a4 Na6 13. a5 {This is always useful to get in, and there is no particular rush here to castle.} Kf7 14. Be2 Kg7 15. Be3 Bd7 16. Rb1 {Always an annoyance for Black.} Be8 {I don't really like the bishop here.} (16... Rab8 {is likely the lesser evil.}) 17. Qd2 Rb8 18. g4 {This is partially why Irina delayed castling. Now there is no reason not to launch a minority attack.} Nd7 (18... g5 19. h4 {is bad news of course.}) 19. h4 Nf8 20. Kf1 {White is in no rush to crash through, as Black can't really improve so easily.} Rc8 21. Kg2 Rc7 22. Rhf1 (22. Rh3 {looks more direct, with ideas of Rf1-Rf3 as well as Nh1-g3.}) 22... Nb8 23. Nh1 $1 {a key maneuver, and Irina is rightly not afraid of dropping the h-pawn.} Qxh4 {Black has to try taking this, but it doesn't really help matters.} 24. Ng3 Qd8 25. Rh1 (25. Rf2 {followed by swinging the other rook to h1 is even stronger.}) 25... Kg8 26. Bxh6 Rhh7 (26... Rch7 {was a better try, although after a simple improving move like} 27. Qe3 {the position looks grim.}) 27. g5 $2 {This move nearly costs Irina her hard-earned point.} (27. Rbf1 {is simple and devastating.}) 27... Rcf7 {With the bishop hemmed in on h6, Black has chances to fight off White's attack.} 28. Bxf8 Kxf8 $2 (28... Rxh1 29. Rxh1 Rxf8 { gives Black better defensive chances.}) 29. Rxh7 (29. Bg4 {immediately was stronger, threatening Be6 with tempo.}) 29... Rxh7 30. Bg4 Rh4 $2 {This loses immediately.} (30... b6 {and Black can fight on despite being in an unpleasant position.}) 31. Qf2+ Kg7 32. Rxb7+ Nd7 33. Qf6+ {With this win the top seed gets back on track, and apart from the hiccup with g5 it was a very smooth effort.} 1-0

Goletiani, Rusuan 1-0 Foisor, Sabina
This long game came down to the following trick:

[Event "ch-USA w 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Goletiani, R."] [Black "Foisor, S."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A12"] [WhiteElo "2311"] [BlackElo "2276"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5k2/5r2/8/2K2P2/3p4/1R1B4/5b2/8 b - - 0 76"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2015.03.31"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 76... Kg7 77. Kd5 {Technically this should be a relatively simple draw for Black. There is some minimal pressure but the opposite colored bishops should make sure that it doesn't matter.} Rf8 (77... Bh4 {letting go of the pawn is the easiest way to draw.}) 78. Rb7+ Rf7 79. Rb6 Rf6 80. Rb2 Be3 81. Ke5 Rf8 $2 {Either missing the next move or not calculating properly.} (81... Bg5 82. Rg2 Kh6 $11) 82. f6+ Kh6 $4 {Panic and miscalculation.} (82... Rxf6 83. Rg2+ Bg5 $3 {would still save the draw.} 84. Rxg5+ Kh6 85. Kxf6 {is stalemate!} (85. Rg2 { is a bishop and rook vs. rook position that would make the game go well over 130 moves.})) 83. Kf5 {Now Black just gets mated.} Kh7 84. Rh2+ Bh6 85. Ke6+ Kg8 86. Rxh6 Re8+ 87. Kf5 Rc8 88. Kg6 1-0

Sabina Foisor comes from a rough Reykjavik Open, where she lost over 40 rating points

Sharevich, Anna 0-1 Nemcova, Katerina

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.02"] [Round "2"] [White "Sharevich, Anna"] [Black "Nemcova, Katerina"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2267"] [BlackElo "2279"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Nf6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Bd7 {One of about 5000 playable sidelines against the Catalan.} 6. Ne5 Bc6 7. Nxc6 Nxc6 {Black has solved the major development problem of the c8 bishop, but in turn the g2 bishop is completely unchallenged.} 8. e3 Qd7 9. O-O O-O-O {Typical for this position. Castling into the line of the g2 bishop takes some courage, but Black has ideas also.} 10. Qa4 Nd5 11. Qxc4 h5 {Black needs to start the attack quickly, as if White gets the queenside developed there are severe positional problems.} 12. Bd2 h4 13. Rc1 hxg3 14. hxg3 f5 15. Nc3 {The first truly new move, and a logical one.} (15. b4 {was played by GM Swinkels, trying to get an attack started immediately.}) 15... g5 {Black continues with the attack. White will have to make some major decisions soon.} 16. Qa4 Kb8 {Black wants to make sure a7 stays guarded for when White tries to attack the c6 knight.} 17. Nxd5 exd5 18. b4 {This all looks quite normal.} Bd6 $1 {Black decides to sacrifice a pawn, quite correctly in my opinion. B5 was a major threat, and Black needs to be able to get kingside play with the break f4.} 19. b5 $2 {This move simply doesn't do enough here.} (19. Bxd5 {it was necessary to try to grab this pawn, risky as it looks. Black has numerous options here, for instance} Bxg3 (19... f4 {also looks playable.}) 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Qxc6 Bxf2+ 22. Kxf2 Rh2+ 23. Kf3 Qxc6+ 24. Rxc6 Rxd2 {with a drawish ending.}) 19... Ne7 {Now Black still has an attack, but it comes at no cost.} 20. f4 {This is loosening, but if White allowed f4 herself it'd be just as bad.} Ng8 $1 {It is also strong to play this after throwing in gxf4 first, but the exclam is for the idea. Once the knight comes into the attack White will have no chances to defend.} 21. Qb3 ( 21. Bxd5 {this pawn is certainly poisoned.} Nf6 22. Bg2 gxf4 23. gxf4 Rdg8 { and mate will come quickly.}) 21... Nf6 22. fxg5 {This leads to a quick mate, but it was hard to recommend anything.} (22. Be1 {is one try, attempting to at least cover some squares around the king.}) 22... Ne4 23. Be1 Qh7 {There is no defense.} 24. Qxd5 Bxg3 25. Qe6 Nxg5 26. Qc4 Bxe1 27. Rxe1 Ne4 28. Qc2 Rdg8 29. Rac1 {This allows mate in 1, but it was a lost cause anyway.} Qh1# {An excellent game from Nemcova, who launched and executed her attack perfectly.} 0-1

Katerina Nemcova exhibited amazing play. Definitely today's game of the day.

Wang, Annie 0-1 Yu, Jennifer
The battle of the teenagers was a long theoretical dicussion in a topical Slav variation. However neither side was able to show much understanding after the opening finished. They seemed a little lost in trying to find a plan, though eventually Black started to outplay her opponent. In an endgame that was almost drawn, she got her king stuck on the side and it was surprisingly checkmated.

Jennifer Yu found a nice study-like win

Melekhina, Alisa 1-0 Abrahamyan, Tatev
A very complicated game in terms of strategical elements: Black had the two knights against a torn pawn structure, but White had an initiative and the pair of bishops. In time trouble Black blundered badly and the pair of bishops took the point.

Pairings for Round Three

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 0.0 2322 WCM Virkud, Apurva 1.0 2132  
2 WFM Yu, Jennifer R 0.0 2180 FM Melekhina, Alisa 0.0 2235  
3 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 0.5 2279 WIM Wang, Annie 1.0 1901  
4 WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 0.5 2276 WGM Sharevich, Anna 1.0 2267  
5 WIM Ni, Viktorija 0.5 2188 IM Goletiani, Rusudan 0.5 2311  
6 IM Paikidze, Nazi 0.5 2333 GM Krush, Irina 0.5 2477


Replay Round Two Games

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Commentary provided for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis by Josh Friedel:

Joshua Friedel

Josh was born in 1986 in New Hampshire, USA and is currently living in Wisconsin. He obtained his international master title in 2005 and his grandmaster in 2008. He has participated in six US Championships, including a tie for fourth in 2008. Major Open tournament victories include: the 2003 Eastern Open, 2005 Berkeley Masters, 2008 National Open, 2009 Edmonton International, 2009 North American Open, 2010 Saint Louis Open, 2010 American Open, 2013 Chicago Open.

Josh will be annotating the games for the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Photos by Lennart Ootes


The games will be 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 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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