US Champ R5: Bloody Easter

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/6/2015 – A holiday for many people in America, but the players in the U.S. Chess Championship definitely did not take it off. After six draws in the previous round, the entertainment level in round five was off the charts. Blunders, unexpected results, complicated positions, awkward/brilliant moves, it had it all! Meanwhile in the Women's in a difficult melee, Krush kept her chances alive.

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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 Five

Table White Rating Black Rating
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

Holt, Conrad 0-1 Kayden, Troff
What an amazing game! Spectator friendly, full of blunders, and basically a miracle for young Kayden Troff, who moves to 5-0 in his personal record against Conrad Holt.

Holt bolted out of the room upon resigning, in complete shock after his loss

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Holt, Conrad"] [Black "Troff, Kayden W"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D83"] [WhiteElo "2525"] [BlackElo "2544"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "96"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] {Hands down the most exciting game of the day from the men's side.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Rc1 c5 7. dxc5 Qa5 8. cxd5 Rd8 { White is up two pawns temporarily, but with inferior development and a king that is a few moves from castling life is not so simple. We are still well in book.} 9. Bc4 Be6 {Both these guys are sharp theoreticians, so no doubt they were aware of this position, which has been reached several times.} 10. e4 $5 { This risky-looking move isn't a novelty, and in fact has been played six times in my database (scoring 100%!)} Nxe4 11. Nge2 {The idea is that the d-pawn is more useful for White than the e-pawn. Black has a lot of choices, and it is hard to comment on which one is correct without extensive analysis. That doesn't sound like me, so...} Nxf2 {A tempting move, but I'm not sure it is best.} (11... Nxc3 12. Nxc3 Bf5 {is boring, and probably just good for White.}) (11... Na6 {looks natural, aiming for Naxc5 next.} 12. O-O Naxc5 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. Qc2 Bxd5 15. b4 $1 {White has lost all his pawns, but will win a piece. Even after that, however, matters are far from clear.} Qxb4 16. Bxd5 Rxd5 17. Rb1 {and the knight on e4 is lost, although Black will have compensation after} Rc5 18. Rxb4 Rxc2 19. Rxe4 e5 $1 {with somewhat of a mess.}) 12. Qa4 Qxc5 $2 { Though this one is a blunder. Easy to do in such a position.} (12... Qxa4 13. Nxa4 Nxh1 {was a lesser evil, but after} 14. dxe6 f5 15. Kf1 {followed by Kg1 I really prefer White's position.}) 13. dxe6 Nxh1 14. exf7+ Kf8 15. Ne4 {All forced. White's king looks open, but his pieces are monstrous and all the key squares are covered.} Qb6 16. Bc7 $6 {Conrad gets a bit too fancy. It is difficult to switch from tactical to technical mode, and I think a simpler solution was called for.} (16. Qb3 {and simply Kf1-g1 after the queen trade is an easy win.}) (16. Qa3 {also is an easy win according to the silicon friend, intending Be3 next.}) 16... Qe3 $1 {Kayden spots his chance.} 17. Bxd8 Nc6 18. Bxe7+ {All forced.} (18. Bc7 $2 Qxe4 {is simply unclear.}) 18... Nxe7 19. Be6 $2 {Tempting, but incorrect. The bishop ends up being loose there.} (19. Qc2 { is stronger and still good for White.}) 19... b5 20. Qc2 Nf2 $1 {Kayden finds the key idea, and now it is unclear again.} 21. Nc5 (21. Nxf2 Qxe6 22. Qe4 { leads to an equal ending. Thankfully, there is no risk of that with Conrad at the helm.}) 21... Rd8 22. Qb3 Nd3+ $6 (22... Bd4 {is objectively best.} 23. Qxe3 Bxe3 24. Nd7+ Rxd7 25. Bxd7 Nd3+ 26. Kd1 {is drawn.}) 23. Nxd3 Rxd3 24. Qxb5 Qd2+ 25. Kf1 Rd8 {All forced. Matters are not simple, but White is up two pawns for dubious compensation.} 26. Bb3 Qxb2 27. Qa5 Qf6+ 28. Ke1 (28. Kg1 { looks more natural to me.}) 28... Rb8 (28... Qb6 29. Qxb6 axb6 30. Nf4 Rc8 { gives Black the best chances for survival, but in time pressure (which I assume plagued both players) this can't be easy to calculate.}) 29. Qxa7 Qd6 30. g3 {White is technically won now, but in time pressure anything can happen. } Be5 31. Qc5 Qf6 32. Rd1 Rc8 33. Qb4 Kg7 34. Rd7 {Both sides are keeping their cool so far. Often with little time it is more important to not play bad moves than to play the best moves.} Kf8 35. Qd2 Nf5 36. Nf4 Bxf4 37. Qxf4 Qb6 38. Qf2 $2 {The first slip.} ({The fearless} 38. g4 {wins, since after} Qg1+ 39. Ke2 Qg2+ 40. Kd3 Qh3+ 41. Ke4 Qg2+ 42. Qf3 {Black is out of checks.}) (38. Ke2 Qb5+ 39. Rd3 {is more human and safe.}) 38... Qa5+ $2 (38... Rc1+ 39. Rd1 Rxd1+ 40. Bxd1 Qb4+ {and the position is much closer to a draw.}) 39. Qd2 Qb6 40. Kf1 Qb5+ 41. Kg1 Qb6+ 42. Kg2 Ne3+ {Time pressure is over, but that doesn't mean mistakes can't happen. After the release of tension, you have to be especially careful.} 43. Kh3 $4 {This loses in an amazing fashion.} (43. Kf3 {is a relatively simple win.}) 43... g5 $1 {Amazingly, the White king is in dire straits, and the tactics work out perfectly for Black.} 44. Rd6 (44. Qd6+ Qxd6 45. Rxd6 g4+ 46. Kh4 Nf5+ {wins a rook.}) 44... g4+ 45. Kh4 Nf5+ 46. Kg5 Qxd6 {and White is just down a rook.} 47. Qb2 Nd4 48. Kxg4 Rc5 {A heartbreaking game for Conrad, who was winning for most of the game, and Kayden didn't miss the opportunities given to him.} 0-1

Akobian, Varuzhan ½-½ Onischuk, Alexander
Akobian's novelty in this game, an "improvement" over his game against Bruzon, didn't really put any pressure on Onischuk's position. Black was able to draw easily.

Kamsky, Gata 1-0 Robson, Ray
A very important game for the standings. Kamsky wins his first game, while Robson loses his first game of the tournament. Both players are now tied for third place.

Putting in the finishing touches: Kamsky with a brutal and important victory

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Kamsky, Gata"] [Black "Robson, Ray"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D26"] [WhiteElo "2680"] [BlackElo "2656"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 {Gata usually prefers the London system to main line d4, so this might have been a surprise for Ray.} c6 4. e3 e6 5. Bd3 dxc4 6. Bxc4 {Now it's a Queen's Gambit Accepted.} a6 {Not the most common move. Nbd7, c5, and b5 are more typical.} 7. O-O b5 8. Bd3 c5 {Despite the strange move order, we are now in a typical QGA.} 9. a4 b4 10. e4 cxd4 11. e5 Nd5 12. Nxd4 Bb7 13. Re1 g6 {White usually plays for an attack in these structures, so Ray chooses to shore up that side. The bishop on g7 also targets the weak e5 pawn.} 14. Nd2 Bg7 15. Qg4 Nd7 16. N2f3 $6 {I think White could do better with this knight.} (16. Nc4 O-O 17. Bg5 {looks tempting to me, and I'd definitely prefer White.}) 16... O-O 17. Qh3 Re8 {Ray makes sure e6 is defended and Nf8 is also playable if needed.} 18. Bh6 Rc8 19. a5 {Gata fixes the pawn on a6, but it is unlikely he will take advantage of this anytime soon.} Qe7 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 { White could still try to attack with the artificial-looking} 21. Qg3 (21. Re4 Nc5 22. Rh4 {but after} h5 {White's pieces look pretty weird. Despite this, he might have gotten more play this way.}) 21... b3 {Ray wants Nb4, and without a very unlikely resource this would be an excellent move.} (21... Nc5 22. Bf1 Red8 {looks simple and good.}) 22. h4 {A human move, trying to get some counterplay on the kingside.} (22. Nxb3 Nb4 {gives Black excellent compensation.}) (22. Bf1 $1 {is a strong move, planning to take on b3 later. The idea is that if} Nb4 {White has the nasty tempo move} 23. Nh4 $3 { threatening Nf5+. After} Kg8 24. Qxb3 Bd5 25. Qa3 {White will play Nhf3 next and the extra pawn is pretty solid. Very computeresque of course, but I think the evil beast is right on here.}) 22... Nb4 23. Rad1 Bxf3 $2 {Ray gives up his bishop at the wrong moment.} (23... Nc5 {looks more accurate, and only if} 24. Bb1 (24. Be2 Nc2 {is just excellent for Black.}) 24... Bxf3 25. Nxf3 Nc2 { followed by Na4 with huge play.}) 24. Nxf3 Nc5 25. Bc4 $1 {Now the bishop isn't obligated to go to b1.} Na4 26. Bxb3 Nxb2 27. Rd6 {Black's initiative has died out, and he has to be careful now.} Rc3 28. Re3 Rxe3 29. fxe3 Rc8 $6 { This normal looking move allows White to regroup with his queen.} (29... N4d3 $1 {was a tougher defense, but it's not an easy move to find. The idea is after } 30. Rxa6 (30. h5 {is better, continuing his kingside plans.}) 30... Qc5 { Black has huge counterplay.}) 30. h5 $6 (30. Qf4 $1 N2d3 31. Qd4 {and the queen on d4 is very strong.}) 30... N2d3 31. Ng5 Kh6 $2 {Ray tries to prevent h6+, but this is just too drastic.} (31... Nc5 {was the best defense, although after} 32. h6+ $1 Kg8 33. Bc4 {Ray is going to suffer.}) 32. Ne4 $1 {Black is dead lost now.} Nd5 33. Bxd5 exd5 34. Rxd5 Rd8 35. Nf6 {Even the rooks can't come off, since Ng8+ picks off the queen.} Kg7 36. hxg6 hxg6 37. Qh4 Nxe5 38. Rxd8 {and Ray resigned, seeing that Qxd8 runs into Nh5+. Gata was outplayed for some of the game, but he defended stubbornly and in time pressure Ray wasn't able to keep up.} 1-0

So, Wesley 1-0 Gareev, Timur
A very strange game, but that seems to be typical of Gareev in this tournament. In a solid French defense Gareev threw in the move h5?! without much of any reason. He ended up losing a pawn because of it in an uncomfortable position, and So had few problems converting it. Gareev resigned in a position he could still have played on in, but he would surely have lost anyway.

Naroditsky, Daniel 0-1 Nakamura, Hikaru
Nakamura basically proved he can win any position against anyone.

Naroditsky was unable to hold his pawns, which Nakamura took easily

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Naroditsky, Daniel"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B79"] [WhiteElo "2640"] [BlackElo "2798"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "70"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 {Nakamura is one of the few top players who will bust out the dragon now and then.} 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Bc4 (8. Qd2 {first is more typical, but both move orders are perfectly playable.}) 8... O-O 9. Bb3 Bd7 10. h4 {This move discourages Nxd4-b5 lines. After the game, Hikaru said he forgot the variations here.} h5 11. Qd2 Qa5 { This move is considered inaccurate here, and Nakamura himself criticized it after the game. The Qa5-Rfc8 is a standard line with the pawn on h7, but not in the h5 variations.} (11... Rc8 12. O-O-O Ne5 {is the main line, which gives Black play a bit quicker.}) 12. O-O-O Rfc8 13. Kb1 Ne5 14. Bg5 $1 {This move is especially annoying with the queen on a5.} Rxc3 {A good practical decision by Hikaru.} (14... b5 {looks typical, but after} 15. Nd5 (15. Ncxb5 {also looks good.}) 15... Qxd2 16. Rxd2 {and Black is under real pressure.}) 15. Qxc3 Qxc3 16. bxc3 {Despite the fact this exchange sac is standard fare, without additional weaknesses White's position should be better here.} a5 {This forces White to make some decisions, but it is also very committal.} (16... Rc8 17. Kb2 Kf8 {and White will have to come up with a plan to crack Black's solid position.}) 17. a3 {The easiest move to play.} (17. a4 {I don't think White has to fear about creating a weakness on a4. This limits Black's play, and if} Rc8 18. Kb2 Nc4+ 19. Bxc4 Rxc4 20. Kb3 {the rook has to retreat, since after} Rxa4 21. Ra1 {the rook trade hugely favors White.}) 17... Rc8 18. Kb2 Kf8 19. Ne2 $6 {This allows Black to regroup his forces.} (19. Rhe1 {looks normal, making Black think about f4 ideas.}) 19... Bb5 20. Nd4 {Danya admits his error, but the bishop finds a happier home now.} Ba6 {Now Black has plans to regroup with Nfd7-Nc5 and there will be lots of counterplay.} 21. Rhe1 (21. Bxf6 { taking the knight isn't ideal, but I'd really rather not allow Nd7-c5.} Bxf6 22. a4 {and White at least can never be worse.}) 21... Nfd7 22. f4 {Danya tries to get something going, but later he'll regret making pawn weaknesses.} ( 22. a4 Nc4+ 23. Ka2 {is more solid, but I don't know which side I'd prefer.}) 22... Nc4+ 23. Bxc4 Bxc4 24. f5 {giving up more squares, but Danya has to go for it.} Nc5 25. Re3 Ke8 26. Bf4 $6 {In a difficult (though not necessarily worse) position, Danya starts to go astray.} (26. Kc1 {I'd probably walk out of Na4+.}) 26... Na4+ 27. Kc1 Ba6 28. e5 $2 {Danya's instincts were correct, but the execution was inaccurate.} (28. Rde1 Nxc3 29. e5 {is a better move order, and after} Nd5 30. exd6 $1 Nxe3 31. Rxe3 {gives nice counterplay, with the idea that if} Bxd4 $2 32. Rxe7+ Kd8 33. Rxf7 {and Black's king is the one in trouble.}) 28... dxe5 29. Rxe5 Bxe5 30. Bxe5 Nxc3 {Despite the opposite bishops, White doesn't have much hope here.} 31. Re1 gxf5 32. Bf6 $6 {This loses to a nice continuation.} (32. Nxf5 {resisted a little better, but after} Ne2+ 33. Kd2 Rc5 {White is still lost.}) 32... Ne4 33. Nxf5 Bd3 34. c3 Rc5 { Rb5-b1 is unstoppable.} 35. Nxe7 Rb5 {Danya will be really disappointed for spoiling his great position, but it was never easy and Hikaru played accurately once he was let back in the game.} 0-1

Nakamura still in clear first, half a point ahead of So

Shankland, Samuel ½-½ Sevian, Samuel
In the battle of the Sams, Shankland's pawn structure deficiencies were just about compensated by his activity. The draw seemed like a fair result after a hard fought game.

A little analysis from some club players

Pairings for Round Six

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


Replay Round Five Games

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U.S. Women's Championship - Round Five

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

Yu, Jennifer 0-1 Virkud, Apurva
Yu has shown a deep opening preparation in most of her games, but she has also shown that after the opening she is unable to continue with any sensible plan based on the structure. Today was another example of this, as her slight advantage in a typical minority attack was quickly squashed. Virkud obtained a nice advantage in the endgame with her more active pieces and after a series of inaccuracies she managed to convert.

Nemcova, Katerina ½-½ Abrahamyan, Tatev
Both players seemed to be slightly surprised by their opponent's choice of opening. Perhaps White had a chance to obtain a slight advantage, but the game seemed pretty even throughout.

Happy Easter! The players got chocolate bunnies to celebrate.

Abrahamyan is a pescatarian, and was making sure no marshmallows were used.
Not to worry - the bunnies were quite friendly to vegetarians.

Foisor, Sabina-Francesca ½-½ Melekhina, Alisa
After pressuring for the entire game, it seemed that Melekhina at some point would simply collapse and her position would fall apart. She had little to no activity, weaknesses everywhere, and Foisor had more than a few chances to give a coup de grace. However it never came, and after much resilience Melekhina was able to hold the draw.

Ni, Viktorija 1-0 Wang, Annie
White was basically winning after an atrocious opening from Black. It was, very much like yesterday's game, a miracle that Wang was able to hold on as long as she did.

Viktorja Ni grabbing some fuel before a long, long game

Paikidze, Nazi ½-½ Sharevich, Anna
Not much happened. Black neutralized White's opening and the players found a repetition for a draw.

Krush, Irina 1-0 Goletiani, Rusudan
Without a doubt the game of the day in the Women's section.

Irina Krush keeps her hopes of winning the tournament alive, and quite realistic

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.05"] [Round "5"] [White "Krush, Irina"] [Black "Goletiani, Rusudan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A40"] [WhiteElo "2477"] [BlackElo "2311"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ {Rusa tries to mix it up early.} 3. Bd2 Bxd2+ 4. Qxd2 f5 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. e3 {Not the usual move, but it can't be bad.} (6. g3 {and developing the bishop to g2 is more commonly played. I don't always go with fashion, but in this case I'd also prefer the bishop on g2, since playing in stonewall style with d5 is less good with the dark-squared bishops swapped.}) 6... Qe7 7. Bd3 d6 {Black tries to get counterplay in the center with e5.} 8. Qc2 {This prevents it temporarily, but I'm not sure the queen wants to be here, and thus I probably would have just developed instead.} O-O 9. Nge2 Nc6 10. a3 {This tempo loss is a touch annoying, but the position is still normal.} e5 $1 {Rusa uses tactics to achieve her break.} 11. dxe5 (11. Bxf5 exd4 {and the e-file pins are a problem.}) 11... Nxe5 12. O-O (12. Bxf5 $2 Bxf5 13. Qxf5 Nfg4 {is not to be recommended.}) 12... Nfg4 $5 {Aggressive, but it looks unnecessary.} (12... c6 {is logical, and I don't see why White is any better here.}) 13. h3 Qh4 {Rusa continues in aggressive style. I'm not sure it is objectively best, but it certainly worked.} (13... Nxd3 14. Qxd3 Ne5 {is still pretty normal, but you don't play Nfg4 to play this way.}) 14. Nf4 (14. Rad1 { simply ignoring Black's advances looks better.}) 14... g5 $1 {Black makes her intentions known, in case Nfg4-Qh4 wasn't enough of a hint.} 15. Nfd5 f4 $1 { Black continues in fine style.} 16. exf4 gxf4 17. f3 {Krush keeps her cool thus far.} Ne3 18. Nxe3 fxe3 19. Rae1 $2 {But the rook is unfortunately placed here.} (19. Be4 {was best, keeping an eye on the f3 square. Black has to slow down with the move} c6 {and while matters are far from simple, I have the feeling Black's play will peter out with best play.}) 19... Bxh3 $1 {An amazing shot, and very strong. But somehow, also not best!} (19... Nxf3+ $3 { This move is even stronger.} 20. gxf3 Kh8 21. Kh1 Bxh3 22. Qh2 {Forced. It looks like Black's attack has been halted, but after} Rf6 $1 {somehow White is defenseless against the threat of Rh6 and Qf6-B moves skewering the queen. Neither player can be blamed for missing this one.}) 20. Rxe3 (20. gxh3 $2 Nxf3+ {just wins.}) 20... Kh8 $1 {Rusa correctly leaves her bishop en prise.} 21. Qf2 Qh6 22. Rxe5 {A good practical try.} (22. f4 {was also possible, but after} Bxg2 23. Kxg2 Rg8+ 24. Rg3 Rxg3+ 25. Qxg3 Rg8 26. Qxg8+ Kxg8 27. fxe5 Qd2+ 28. Be2 Qxb2 29. Rf3 dxe5 {Black simply has way too many pawns, while White's forces are nearly impossible to coordinate properly. Even so, this may have been objectively best.}) 22... Bxg2 $4 {An unfortunate blunder. When the sea of variations is so vast, it is easy to capsize your vessel.} (22... dxe5 23. gxh3 Rad8 $1 {And Black is won, since the rook coming to d2 add even more weight to Rg8+/Qxh3 threats. For example, if} 24. Be4 Rd2 25. Ne2 Qxh3 {Rg8+ is unstoppable.}) 23. Rh5 $1 {Irina finds the move that turns the tables. Strong players rarely miss a chance to throw a wrench in the works, even with the clock ticking down.} Qxh5 24. Qd4+ Kg8 (24... Qe5 25. Qxe5+ dxe5 26. Kxg2 { looks like a better try, but this ending won't be pleasant.}) 25. Kxg2 { Black's king is in more danger than White's, and once the pieces get coordinated it should be curtains. Irina was very short on time, however, so her technique wasn't the most precise.} Rf7 26. Qd5 Qh6 27. Rh1 $2 (27. Ne4 { bringing the knight to the party looks tempting.}) 27... Qd2+ 28. Ne2 Kf8 {Now White has some coordination problems.} 29. Rh4 $6 (29. Kf2 {was better, trying to glue everything together.}) 29... Re8 30. Re4 {Trading the rooks is not in White's interests, as the pieces in general prefer to have a rook as a partner in crime.} Rxe4 31. Qxe4 {Now I'm not sure White is better anymore. Unfortunately, both sides were in severe time trouble at this point, so it is more about nerves than good chess.} Qxb2 32. a4 h5 33. c5 Qa3 $2 {You can't take the queen out of play like this.} (33... Qe5 {I like my queen in the center.}) 34. Nf4 {Piece dynamics is far more important than pawn grabbing in such positions.} (34. Nd4 {was even better, with the same idea.}) 34... Qb2+ 35. Kh3 Qf6 {This defense wouldn't be possible with the knight on d4.} 36. Ng6+ (36. cxd6 cxd6 37. Ng6+ {was better.}) 36... Kg7 37. Nh4 Kf8 {Another error.} ( 37... dxc5 {Black had no reason not to grab this pawn, and it's not so simple for White to win now.}) 38. Bc4 $1 {Now it looks bleak.} Rg7 39. Qxb7 Qe7 {A blunder, but it was lost anyway.} 40. Nf5 Qd8 41. cxd6 {Rusa plays on out of inertia here, but there are no real chances.} Rd7 42. Qb2 Rh7 43. Qg2 Rf7 44. Bxf7 Kxf7 45. Qg7+ Ke6 46. dxc7 Qc8 47. Qe7+ Kxf5 48. Qd8 {A disappointment for Rusa, who played very inspired chess to get a winning position against the defending champ. Irina did well to find the Rh5 shot and then hold her nerve a little better in the time pressure phase. Quite a game!} 1-0

Rusudan Goletiani missed a wonderful opportunity to fight for the top prize

Pairings for Round Six

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


Replay Round Five 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 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.


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