US Ch. Rd6: Krush slips, lenderman Falls

5/14/2014 – After five rounds Aleksandr Lenderman was leading by a full point. But on Tuesday he faced a surprise opening and a fierce glare by opponent Sam Shankland. Alex dropped a point, while his close rival Varuzhan Akobian pulled off a fine win with the black pieces to draw level with him. Anna Zatonskih, too, scored a black win to catch up with Irina Krush in the women's section. Round six report.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

For the sixth consecutive year, the best chess players in the U.S. have gathered in Saint Louis to fight for the title of U.S. Champion and U.S. Women's Champion. GM Gata Kamsky is defending his title while recently anointed grandmaster Irina Krush is looking for her sixth title at the 2014 U.S. Women's Championship. The events are being held simultaneously from May 7 through May 20 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL). The games start each day at 1 p.m., with every move broadcast live and discussed by the powerful commentary team of GMs Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade and Maurice Ashley on the official web site.

Round 6: U.S. Championships knotted on top

By Brian Jerauld

Despite a slow, draw-filled start, the U.S. Championship heated up as it passed its halfway point, with Tuesday’s sixth round featuring another day of bloodshed to shake up the standings.

Aleksandr Lenderman, who had raced out to an early lead with three wins through the first
four rounds, has now been slowed to a crawl, with just a half point over the last two games.

Sam Shankland (above with his trademark glare) issued the frontrunner his first loss

Replay all games of this round

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

Varuzhan Akobian turned in his second quality win in a row to catch pace with Lenderman on top

Akobian had played through four balanced draws through the tournament’s start, but for the second day in a row squeezed out a full point from the slightly worse positions, this time Alejandro Ramirez. “I had a big advantage and was just trying to find a way to win, but I missed this g5 move in the endgame,” Akobian said. "I thought he was just resigning afterward, actually.”

Tied for third a half-point behind the leaders are Gata Kamsky and Alex Onishuck (3.5/6), who stayed unbeaten after a straightforward 32-move draw; and five other players trail in a logjam with three points apiece.

Ray Robson defeated the luckless Mac Molner to level at 50%

Josh Friedel beat Timur Gareev, who suffered his second consecutive loss

Men results of round six

White Rtng
Result
Black Rtng
GM Onischuk, Alexander 2668
½-½
GM Kamsky, Gata 2713
GM Lenderman, Aleksandr 2582
0-1
GM Shankland, Samuel 2634
GM Naroditsky, Daniel 2543
½-½
GM Erenburg, Sergey 2633
GM Molner, Mackenzie 2522
0-1
GM Robson, Ray 2631
GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2643
1-0
GM Ramirez, Alejandro 2595
GM Friedel, Joshua E 2505
1-0
GM Gareev, Timur 2653

 

Men's standings after six rounds

Varuzhan Akobian

The weather was so harsh in the years that Armenian-American grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian spent in Mongolia, that his father forbade "Var" and his sister Armine from playing outside. He taught them chess, a perfect indoor distraction. "From the very beginning," Varuzhan says, "I was different from other chess kids. It was never just a game for me. I always wanted to be a grandmaster, and knew that I would do what it takes." As a teenager living in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, Var spent all day playing chess and soccer. His teachers agreed that he could focus on chess, without fear of truancy charges. "This is one way in which Armenia is very different from the United States. If I went to high school here, I never could have spent so much energy on chess."

He immigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and a year later earned the Samford Chess Fellowship, which allows a talented junior to focus on chess for two years. The prize paid off quickly, as he tied for first in the 2002 World Open and also won the Irme Koenig GM Invitational. The following year, Akobian scored 8.0/9 to win the 2003 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, winning his first seven games. He was officially awarded the grandmaster title in June 2004, after which he won the World Open again, clinching it with a sparkling win against Alexander Shabalov.

Varuzhan excels in positional battles and admires the games and style of Armenian hero, World Champion Tigran Petrosian. His favorite opening with black, just like Petrosian, is the French Defense. Var's advice to players aspiring to improve is this: "Don't expect to see constant improvement. You build knowledge and work hard, and after a while, you'll see a big breakthrough."

Recently, GM Akobian moved from sunny California to Topeka, Kansas, where his wife is attending law school at Washburn University. He has joined the Resident GM rotation at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which brings some of the country's top players to the Chess Club to give private lessons, present lectures and share their chess knowledge with the club's more than 1,000 members. [Source: Tournament site]

Women's Championship round five

The 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship – previously showing no shortage of decisions – had its closest round of balance yet. Anna Zatonskih turned in the lone win of the day over Ashritha Eswaran, gaining a half point on the rest of the field with all draws. Combined with tournament leader Irina Krush’s nailbiting escape with a draw from Tatev Abrahamyan, Zatonskih has now caught back up with the leading pace. Abrahamyan (3.0/5) trails by a point in clear third.

White Rtng
Result
Black Rtng
WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2366
½-½
GM Krush, Irina 2489
WGM Foisor, Sabina-Francesca 2238
½-½
WIM Zenyuk, Iryna 2249
WIM Ni, Viktorija 2206
½-½
WGM Nemcova, Katerina 2282
NM Eswaran, Ashritha 1979
0-1
IM Zatonskih, Anna 2469
WGM Baginskaite, Camilla 2267
½-½
FM Melekhina, Alisa 2151

Anna Zatonskih had slipped out of a first-place tie with Irina Krush, leaving her desperate for the full point in Tuesday’s match against Ashritha Eswaran (above), the lowest-rated player in the field and 500 points Zatonskih’s inferior. But where some competitors have quietly grumbled about the lack of preparation material available for the 13-year-old, who has no games in the database, Zatonskih pulled out an old-school trick in the French Defense that her young competitor was unlikely to have prepped herself.

Look at her face! FM Alisa Melekhina (in red) has just finished a 111-move game against WGM Camilla Baginskaite, who is 116 points higher than her on the rating scale. Arbiter Carol Jarecki takes the signatures

It was a queen and pawn ending well worth replaying (on our JavaScript board below).

Women's standings after five rounds

Replay all games of this round

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

 

Tatev Abrahamyan

Tatev Abrahamyan started playing chess at eight, after her father took her to the Chess Olympiad games in 1996. There she met grandmaster Judit Polgar, arguably the greatest female player of all time and the only woman in the tournament. "I was in complete awe," Tatev said. "My first thought was, 'I want to be just like her.'" She was soon playing competitively among the top players her age in Europe.

Moving to the U.S. was a challenge for Tatev. "It was the biggest change in my life, and it happened in a very short period of time. Everything in my life changed in a matter of few months. I had to give up everything I knew and start a new life. Even though I have lived here for some time now, it was a very big adjustment, and I think a continuous one." When she is not studying or playing chess, she likes to read, play tennis, travel, watch movies and hang out with friends. She graduated in 2011 from California State University Long Beach, double majoring in psychology and political science.

Tatev is a formidable competitor. She has pushed her USCF rating to all-time high at 2475, and in September of last year earned her final International Master norm. She is awaiting final approval for the norm from FIDE. Tatev earned a fourth IM norm for good measure at the recent Reykjavik Open in Iceland.

With a second place finish in 2011 and a number strong showings over the past several years, Tatev has proven she has the ability to wrest the title from GM Irina Krsuh and IM Anna Zatonskih, who have had a stranglehold on the event since 2008. [Source: Tournament site]

All of them. Iryna Zenyuk, Sabina Foisor, Irina Krush, Tatev Abrahamyan, Ashritha Eswaran,
Katerina Nemcova, Viktorija Ni, Camilla Baginskaite, Anna Zatonskih and Alisa Melekhina

Report: Brian Jerauld + ChessBase, photos by Lennart Ootes


Links

The games are being 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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register

John K John K 5/15/2014 01:35
Some other players have a tendency to glare -- Nakamura? As far as I know there isn't a regulation against it but maybe there should be if a player does it too much.
theoldmanhomeyard@gmail.com theoldmanhomeyard@gmail.com 5/14/2014 11:34
Well SierraSunset I think players like Tal and Kasparov were good enough to become world champs even without it and neither of them did it in every game! Whilst some people might consider off board tactics as acceptable I prefer the more modern method of a handshake at the start of games as a good advance toacceptable behaviour and applaud Nigel Short's answer when Cheparinov refused because of the "Toiletgate affair". cptmajormajor I assume to be a Joseph Heller fan so take his comment as humourous. :)
cptmajormajor cptmajormajor 5/14/2014 11:13
When two players are evenly matched then force of will (ie death stare) is the deciding factor.
:)
SierraSunset SierraSunset 5/14/2014 10:11
If staring was grounds for appeal/loss of game, then Kasparov might never have become world champion! He was famous for his chilling Death Stare.
theoldmanhomeyard@gmail.com theoldmanhomeyard@gmail.com 5/14/2014 09:02
I'm not sure whether I'm registered but I consider Samuel Shankland's "trademark stare" to be totally ungentlemanly and against the normal rules of conduct. An appeal and loss of game would teach him a good lesson.
1