US Champ R4: Peace

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/5/2015 – It was not the best played round of chess, and the excitement level went down just a little bit. The open section had six draws, some more exciting than others. The anticipated match up between So and Nakamura finished in a draw after Nakamura blundered a pawn, but was able to hold the draw. Meanwhile the action in the Women's was very up and down to say the least.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


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 Four

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

Troff, Kayden ½-½ Shankland, Samuel
Not much happened in this game. White obtained very little from the opening, and after a subsequent mistake the game was completely equal.

Shankland thought after cxd5 White wasn't playing for anything, and neither was he

Sevian, Samuel ½-½ Naroditsky, Daniel
A very deep preparation by Naroditsky in the Marshall Gambit. Sevian had to be a little careful not to fall into a worse position, but he handled the position fine and Naroditsky saw himself forced to repeat.

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ So, Wesley
The epic game between the top players was not of the highest quality:

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D58"] [WhiteElo "2798"] [BlackElo "2788"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {The battle everyone was looking forward to the second the fields were announced.} 1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Be7 {Wesley opts for the solid Queen's Gambit Declined against Hikaru.} 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O Nbd7 10. Bg3 c5 11. cxd5 Nxd5 12. Nxd5 Bxd5 {Nothing out of the ordinary thus far.} 13. Qe2 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Bf6 15. Rfd1 Bxd4 {Black gives up the two bishops in order to diffuse White's superior development and central space. This also leaves black with a powerful blockade on d5.} 16. exd4 Nb8 { a clever idea, rerouting the knight to a more active square. This was already played by Kasimdzhanov against Ivanchuk, and I'd be willing to bet both players have seen the game.} 17. Rac1 Nc6 18. Bb5 {Hikaru's novelty.} (18. Qd2 {was chosen by Ivanchuk, but he was hardly able to trouble Kasim. Hikaru's move is more direct.}) 18... Rc8 19. Rc3 (19. Ba6 $2 {looks nice at first, but runs into} Nxd4 $1) 19... Ne7 20. Ba6 Rxc3 21. bxc3 {Hikaru's intention was to provoke this trade, giving himself the hanging pawns. Since they can't be blockaded it is hardly a risk, and the idea is to be able to expand with c4 at some point. Both of Black's minors are very active, however, which gives Wesley full equality in my view.} Nf5 22. Bf4 Qh4 $5 {An active try, trying to provoke kingside weaknesses.} 23. Bc1 Rd8 24. f3 Rd7 (24... Qe7 {I like slightly better, since the queen doesn't do anything on the kingside anymore.}) 25. Bd3 Rc7 {This looked loose to me at first, but Black has everything under control.} 26. Bd2 (26. Bxf5 $6 exf5 27. Qe8+ Kh7 28. Qe5 $6 {leaves everything hanging, but Black has the clever move} Re7 $1 29. Qxf5+ g6 30. Qd3 Re1+ 31. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 32. Qf1 Qxc3 {and Black is better.}) 26... Qd8 27. Rc1 Qf6 (27... Qd6 {I'd rather have access to the queenside, and I don't think Bxf5 is ever a problem.}) 28. a4 g5 $6 {This might not be terrible, but it looks reckless to me.} (28... Rc8 {It is hard to make pass moves, but I don't think it will be so easy for White to make progress here.}) 29. f4 {Naka tries to punish Wesley's move immediately, but it might not be the best way to go.} (29. Rf1 { preparing f4 next looks more precise.}) 29... gxf4 30. Qf2 Nh4 {This one is really a lemon, however.} (30... f3 {was best, and after} 31. c4 Bb7 32. d5 { The game is simply a mess. Best might be the solid} Ng7 {, preparing to capture on d5 next move.}) 31. Bxf4 $2 (31. Qxf4 {is just better for White, although I can't be sure what was missed by the players.} Qg7 32. Be4 Bxe4 33. Qxe4 Nf5 34. Rf1 {and with d5 in the air and Black's king weak, I'd much prefer White.}) 31... Nf3+ {Now it is Black who is better!} 32. gxf3 Qxf4 33. Qg3+ Qxg3+ 34. hxg3 Bxf3 35. Kf2 Bc6 {Hikaru has a long defense ahead, although he has good chances to hold a draw.} 36. Ra1 f6 37. a5 b5 38. c4 { White wants to trade off a pair of pawns, but I'd have done it slightly differently.} (38. a6 Bd7 39. Rb1 {gives White more active counterplay.}) 38... bxc4 39. Bxc4 Kf7 40. Ke3 Ke7 (40... f5 {is slightly more accurate, preventing g4 ideas from White.}) 41. Rb1 (41. g4 $1 {It looks funny to put a pawn on a light square, but all Black's pawns are fixed and weak now.} Kd6 42. Rf1 Bg2 43. Rf2 Rxc4 44. Rxg2 {and Rh2 next, with great drawing chances.}) 41... Rc8 42. g4 {Naka finds it this time.} Kd6 43. Ba6 $1 {A precise move, avoiding discoveries against the bishop and forcing the rook to make a decision.} Rg8 44. Rf1 {The game is approaching a draw now.} Rxg4 45. Rxf6 Re4+ 46. Kd3 Rh4 47. Bc4 Bd5 {Once the bishops come off, there simply aren't enough pawns left. The draw is relatively simple.} 48. Bxd5 Kxd5 49. Rf7 Rxd4+ 50. Ke3 {The a-pawn can't be saved.} Ra4 51. Rxa7 Ra3+ 52. Kf2 {Black's remaining pawns can't both be held.} Ke4 53. Rh7 Ra2+ 54. Kf1 Kf3 55. Rf7+ Ke3 56. Re7 {A draw, but not without its share of action. Wesley was the beneficiary of mutual oversights, but he was unable to convert the extra pawn, which was made difficult by his weak pawns and limited material.} 1/2-1/2

There was no doubt which one was the anticipated game of the day

Gareev, Timur ½-½ Kamsky, Gata
An exciting game, but not exactly perfectly played

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Gareev, Timur"] [Black "Kamsky, Gata"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B20"] [WhiteElo "2599"] [BlackElo "2680"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {Last year these guys really disappointed in their first round encounter with an early perpetual. They made up for it this year.} 1. e4 c5 2. b4 {Everyone tournament should have one Timur.} cxb4 3. Nf3 d6 (3... d5 {is a more active choice for Black, but d6 can't be bad either.}) 4. d4 Nf6 5. Bd3 {This position has been reached many times. The idea is that White has a strong center for the sacrificed pawn.} g6 6. a3 bxa3 7. O-O Bg7 8. h3 {It looks strange to me to play a prophylactic move in a gambit, but preventing Bg4 is useful.} O-O 9. Bg5 {I don't care for this move as much, as it seems very committal.} (9. Nxa3 {followed by Re1 and seeing how Black develops would be my choice, since I'm not sure I know where I want the c1 bishop yet.}) 9... Nc6 10. Nc3 (10. c3 {is a more solid choice, but people don't play the wing gambit to be solid do they?}) 10... Nd7 (10... Nb4 {looks simple and safe, taking the sting out of e5 ideas.}) 11. Nd5 {This knight is an annoyance now.} h6 12. Bh4 Nb6 (12... g5 {is not for the faint of heart.} 13. Bxg5 hxg5 14. Nxg5 Nf6 {The only move to stop Qh5, but now White has} 15. e5 $1 {and Black's best move is} Ng4 {sacrificing the piece back, with an unclear game. Needless to say, Gata wanted no piece of this one.}) 13. c3 {In my opinion, White has full compensation for the sacrificed pawn.} Bd7 (13... Be6 {looks more to the point, trying to get rid of this pesky knight.} 14. Qb3 {and now perhaps} f5 $5 {with an unclear position.}) 14. Rxa3 Re8 (14... Nxd5 15. exd5 Na5 16. c4 {is no picnic for Black.}) 15. Re1 (15. Ne3 {looks strong, leaving Black choked for moves.}) 15... Rc8 16. Re3 {This move looks a little funny.} (16. Qa1 {looks more natural.}) 16... Nxd5 17. exd5 Na5 18. Nd2 Bf6 {Gata is desperate to diffuse the pressure against the e7 pawn.} ({The more patient} 18... b6 {might be objectively stronger, but I can understand the desire to be more proactive.} ) 19. Bg3 $6 {This seems like a concession.} (19. Bxf6 exf6 20. Rxe8+ Bxe8 21. Qg4 {followed by Qf4 and targeting d6 looks unpleasant to me.}) 19... b6 20. Qf3 Rc7 {White should never be in danger here, but Black's position will be tough to crack.} 21. Bf4 Bg7 22. c4 e5 $5 {An interesting way to mix up the game.} 23. dxe6 Rxe6 24. d5 Rxe3 25. Qxe3 {Up to this point, the opening notwithstanding, both sides have played solidly and logically. Now the game really starts to get funky.} Qf8 $2 {Black tries to defend everything, but this shouldn't work out.} (25... Bc8 {Black should give up a pawn, and h6 is by far the lesser evil.} 26. Bxh6 Re7 27. Qf4 Re1+ 28. Nf1 Qe7 {and material is even now, but Black has gained some activity, leaving the position approximately equal.}) 26. Rxa5 $2 {I'm all for the exchange sac, but this one is simply baffling. Of all the pieces to take, the knight on a5 wouldn't be high on my list.} (26. Qg3 {was simple and strong, since d6 cannot be defended. Once this important pawn is captured, White has better pieces and pawns, ensuring a large advantage.}) 26... bxa5 27. Ne4 {The position is just a mess now. There is a crucial move for Black here, and Kamsky doesn't find it.} a4 $2 {This just doesn't do enough.} (27... Rb7 {was definitely best, walking out of the Bxd6 fork. Now after} 28. Bxd6 Qe8 29. c5 a4 $1 {Black's a-pawn is much more threatening than White's pawns.} 30. c6 Bxc6 31. dxc6 Qxc6 {and White's pieces just can't generate any threats, while the a-pawn will simply march up the board.}) 28. Bxd6 Qd8 29. c5 $1 {Timur rightly delays taking the exchange. Black's pieces are too passive to assist the a-pawn now.} a3 30. Bc4 Bf5 $2 { A huge error, likely made in time pressure.} (30... Bb5 $1 {was most resilient, and after} 31. Ba2 (31. Bxb5 $4 a2 {and the pawn can't be stopped.}) 31... Re7 $1 {Another key move that's tough to find, Black has good chances to defend.}) 31. Ng3 $2 {Once again, Timur gets a bit too fancy.} (31. Bxc7 {It was time for simple chess.} Qxc7 32. d6 Qc6 {and only now} 33. Ng3 {leaving Black in a hopeless position.}) 31... Rd7 32. Nxf5 gxf5 33. Qxa3 Rxd6 $1 {Gata rarely misses a key defensive chance. White simply won't have enough to win here with opposite bishops.} 34. cxd6 Be5 35. Qxa7 Qxd6 36. Qe3 Kg7 37. Qf3 f4 38. Bd3 { Black's king is open, but a bishop and queen alone can't generate any threats. They fiddled around for a few moves, but White has no chances.} Qf6 39. Qe4 Bd6 40. Kf1 Qa1+ 41. Bb1 Qf6 42. Qh7+ Kf8 43. Qd3 Kg7 44. Qe4 Kf8 {Another close escape for Gata, who was on the ropes for a 2nd day in a row. Timur's creative opening almost paid dividends once again, but in the end he could only capture half a point.} 1/2-1/2

Gata Kamsky couldn't help but giving his biggest smile upon seeing 2.b4

Robson, Ray ½-½ Akobian, Varuzhan
Not too much happened in this Petroff.

Onischuk, Alexander ½-½ Holt, Conrad
After an opening mistake Holt found himself in a very difficult situation. Onischuk usually is a very technical and precise player, but he showed almost no technique today and let Holt equalize very easily.

Pairings for Round Five

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


Replay Round Four Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

U.S. Women's Championship - Round Four

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


Virkud, Apurva 0-1 Krush, Irina

Virkud, after being worse from the opening, seemed to be holding her own against the reigning champion. However she completely missed a relatively easy tactical sequence:

[Event "ch-USA w 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Virkud, Apurva"] [Black "Krush, I."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2132"] [BlackElo "2477"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1k6/1b3p2/pp1qp3/4n1p1/3NP3/P1Q2PPp/1P2B2P/1K6 w - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "16"] [EventDate "2015.03.31"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 32. Kc1 Ka7 33. Bf1 $2 (33. b4 $11) 33... g4 34. f4 Nd7 {Black has some pressure against the e4 pawn now.} 35. Be2 Nc5 $1 36. Bxg4 {Virkud must have missed Qxd4 (since she didnt see it in the next move) but Krush correctly evaluated that as not being so easy to play.} Bxe4 $5 (36... Qxd4 37. Qxd4 Nb3+ 38. Kc2 Nxd4+ 39. Kd3 Nb5 40. Bxh3 $15 {Black is better but the endgame is not totally clear.}) (36... Nxe4 $1 37. Qe3 Nxg3 $1 $17) 37. Bf3 $4 {Simply missing her opponent's reply.} Qxd4 38. Qxd4 Nb3+ 39. Kd1 Bxf3+ 0-1

Abrahamyan, Tatev 1-0 Yu, Jennifer
A very clean game from Abrahamyan, who basically outplayed her opponent from the start of the game to the very end. The purple haired player was considered one of the favorites before the start of the event, and she easily outclassed one of the younger participants.

A nice two wins in a row for Tatev

Sharevich, Anna ½-½ Ni, Viktorja
White did not understand the opening, and was probably close to strategically lost. Black misplayed it badly, and was then completely lost. Somehow the game was turned around, and Black was winning. Eventually, of course, the game was drawn.

Melekhina, Alisa 0-1 Nemcova, Katerina

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Melekhina, Alisa"] [Black "Nemcova, Katerina"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B22"] [WhiteElo "2235"] [BlackElo "2279"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "114"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. c3 {Alisa goes for her favorite system, which she has published numerous videos on.} Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Nf3 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Qxd4 {Slightly less common than cxd4, but completely playable of course.} e6 7. Nbd2 a6 8. Nc4 Nc6 9. Qe4 Nxc3 $5 {An interesting way to mix up the game.} (9... dxe5 10. Ncxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxe5 Bd6 {leads to a normal position.}) 10. bxc3 d5 11. Qe3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 {White's pawns have been compromised, but has better development and space in return. In other words, typical c3 sicilian.} Qa5 {This looks active, but the queen is a little out of place here.} (12... Qc7 {is a better square, eyeing both e5 and the bishop on c4.}) 13. O-O Be7 14. Bd2 Bd7 15. Bd3 Rc8 16. a4 {This looks like the wrong approach.} (16. Rab1 Qc7 17. Qe4 {looks very nice for White, since it won't be easy for Black to castle. The rook on b1 is much better than the pawn on a4.}) 16... Qc7 17. Qe4 Na5 18. Qg4 Kf8 {This looks ugly, but it's hard to recommend a better move.} 19. Rad1 (19. Be3 Nc4 20. Bd4 {looks better, keeping the position under control.}) 19... Nc4 20. Bg5 Bxg5 21. Qxg5 Nb2 22. Rd2 Nxd3 23. Rxd3 Bxa4 {Black correctly steals a pawn, but White should have adequate compensation.} 24. Rd4 h6 25. Qg3 {Not such a terrible move by itself, but it's a step in the wrong direction.} (25. Qf4 {is slightly more accurate, discouraging g6 due to Qf6 moves.}) 25... Be8 {This looks a little weird.} (25... Bc6 {looks more natural and stronger.}) 26. Rg4 $6 (26. Rc1 {There is no reason to sacrifice c3.}) 26... Rg8 $6 (26... Qxc3 { Black needn't fear Rxg7.} 27. Rxg7 Rc4 $1 {and White's pieces are stuck. Eventually White will have to play Rg4 trading off the active rook, and in the meantime Black can shove her queenside pawns.}) 27. c4 f5 {This move I like, trying to get a little extra room on the kingside.} 28. Rd4 g5 $1 {The logical follow up.} 29. h4 Qe7 (29... gxh4 30. Qxh4 Rg6 {is slightly better for Black than the game, since the rook is now quite active on g6.}) 30. Qh2 $2 {Alisa will severely regret this move.} (30. hxg5 hxg5 31. Rd6 {and the position is still unclear.}) 30... g4 31. Ne1 g3 $1 {Katerina doesn't miss her chance. White's queen will be locked in a cage now.} 32. Qh3 (32. fxg3 Qc5 {can hardly be recommended.}) 32... Rd8 33. Nf3 Rxd4 34. Nxd4 Rg4 {Just like that, the position is almost resignable.} 35. Nf3 Bc6 (35... Qc5 $1 {would be even meaner.}) 36. fxg3 Qc5+ 37. Kh1 Bxf3 $2 {It's still winning, but I have to give this a question mark. There is absolutely no reason to give up such a killer bishop.} (37... a5 {and Black can simply march the pawns up the board with no counterplay.}) 38. gxf3 Rxc4 {Black is still winning, but at least the queen can get out.} 39. Qg2 Rc2 40. Qg1 Qxg1+ (40... a5 {is more accurate, since White has nothing better than capturing the queen.}) 41. Kxg1 Ke7 (41... b5 {There is no reason not to shove the pawn.}) 42. Ra1 Rc5 43. Rb1 b5 44. Ra1 Rc6 {Black's technique hasn't been perfect, but nothing has been spoiled.} 45. g4 fxg4 46. fxg4 b4 47. Kf2 b3 48. Ke3 Rc4 $1 {An accurate move, threatening to take all the pawns.} 49. g5 (49. Rxa6 Rxg4 50. Rb6 Rxh4 {is over.}) 49... hxg5 50. hxg5 b2 51. Rb1 Rb4 {White has no chances anymore.} 52. Kd3 Kf7 53. Kc3 a5 54. Kc2 Kg6 55. Rf1 b1=Q+ 56. Rxb1 Rxb1 57. Kxb1 Kxg5 {Nemcova moves to 3.5/4 with this win. While it wasn't nearly as clean as her previous two victories, she managed to untangle from a tricky position and found the g4-g3 idea when given a chance.} 0-1

Wang, Annie 0-1 Foisor, Sabina
Much like in the game of Abrahamyan-Yu, Foisor simply dominated the game from beginning to end. It was actually a miracle that Wang was able to make as many moves as she made before having to resign.

Sabina won a very one-sided game

Goletiani, Rusudan ½-½ Paikidze, Nazi
An important result for the top of the standings. Goletiani got an excellent position from the opening, using a typical double Fianchetto Reti. Paikidze wasn't as aware strategically of the nuances of the position, and allowed Goletiani a big advantage. Unfortunately for Goletiani, she cashed in her chips too quickly, and took a pawn when she didn't need to, giving Black a lot of counterplay. It proved sufficient to obtain a draw.

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.04"] [Round "4"] [White "Goletiani, Rusudan"] [Black "Paikidze, Nazi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A14"] [WhiteElo "2311"] [BlackElo "2333"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "113"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {Two of our strongest Georgian imports face off.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 {Rusa usually prefers to eschew main line theory for more positional sidelines.} b6 7. Bb2 Bb7 8. e3 c5 9. Nc3 Nc6 (9... dxc4 10. bxc4 Nc6 {is considered a slightly more solid option, but the text is perfectly playable as well.}) 10. cxd5 exd5 (10... Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. d4 { leads to sharp positions.}) 11. d4 Rc8 12. Rc1 {So far everything is normal, but Nazi starts to go astray.} a6 $2 (12... Re8 {is more standard.}) 13. Ne2 $6 {Not a bad move, but not best.} (13. dxc5 bxc5 {and the hanging pawns are a nightmare for Black. White has a pleasant choice between Na4 and Nh4, with a large advantage.}) 13... Nb8 $6 {Not a good sign.} (13... a5 {was a better try, with the plan of defending the pawns with Nb4-a6 if necessary, but it's not pretty.}) 14. Ne5 Nbd7 15. Nf4 {Rusa is taking over the game with simple and powerful moves. Black' is already in trouble.} Rc7 16. Nxd7 Rxd7 17. Nd3 Rc7 18. dxc5 Bxc5 19. Nxc5 bxc5 20. Be5 Rc8 21. Bh3 $6 {This one is a bit too greedy for my tastes.} (21. Qe2 {followed by Qb2 and Rfd1 looks like a nightmare for Black. A pawn will be lost eventually, and when you have complete control there is no reason to cash in too early.}) 21... Rc6 22. Bxf6 Qxf6 23. Qxd5 Rc7 {Now Black has compensation on the long diagonal.} 24. Qf5 Qc6 25. f3 {Black doesn't have full compensation for the pawn, but a concession like this is a good sign.} Bc8 26. Qh5 g6 27. Qh4 Bxh3 28. Qxh3 Rd8 29. Rc2 Rd3 30. e4 {This move looks normal, but I don't like that it gives up d4 and makes the rook on d3 even stronger. Black has nearly full compensation now.} (30. Qh6 {I prefer this move, planning to bring the queen back into the game with Qf4.}) 30... c4 $5 {Black gives up another pawn in order to open lines.} (30... a5 {followed by a4 looks like an even easier way to secure a draw.}) 31. bxc4 Qb6+ 32. Kg2 Qd4 {The c4 pawn is falling, White's king is exposed, and the queen on h3 feels excluded. Objectively White might still have something, but it isn't easy.} 33. Rff2 Rxc4 34. Rxc4 Qxc4 35. Qh4 Qc3 36. Qf4 Kg7 37. e5 Qc6 38. Rd2 Qd5 39. Rb2 Qe6 40. Qf6+ {This leads to a draw ending, but I don't think White had chances at this point.} Qxf6 41. exf6+ Kxf6 42. Rb6+ Kg7 43. Rxa6 Rd2+ 44. Kh3 h5 {The a-pawn is rarely a win, and with the bad king on h3 it isn't even close.} 45. g4 hxg4+ 46. fxg4 Rd3+ 47. Kg2 Rd2+ 48. Kg3 Rd3+ 49. Kg2 Rd2+ 50. Kg3 Rd3+ 51. Kf4 {Rusa fights on, but there is really no chance.} Rh3 52. a4 Rxh2 53. g5 Rh4+ 54. Kg3 Rc4 55. Ra7 Rc5 56. Kf4 Rc4+ 57. Kf3 {Rusa got a very big advantage out of the opening, but a couple inaccurate moves allowed Nazi back into the game. Black played very accurately once she obtained counterplay in order to make the draw.} 1/2-1/2

Pairings for Round Five

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



Replay Round Four Games

Select from the dropdown menu to replay the games

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 are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server 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.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register