Chess

U.S. Chess Championship – Round Five Starting

Top matches are Nakamura – Kamsky, Friedel – Shulman and Ehlvest – Akobian

The fifth round of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship is about to start at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. In round four, top two boards produced draws, which allowed GM Varuzhan Akobian to enter the leading pack after a beautiful win against GM Julio Becerra. Young star IM Ray Robson downed another Grandmaster, his latest victim being GM Ildar Ibragimov. GM Boris Gulko signed his first point, after a quick attack against the reserve player FM Doug Eckert. (Replay all round four games bellow)

The Championship will be played until the 17th May. 24 qualified players (list and criteria here) will compete throughout 9-rounds swiss tournament for a $135,400 guaranteed prize pool. In addition, there was a $64,000 Fischer Sweep prize for anyone who can repeat Bobby Fischer’s 1964 performance and win every game, but this possibility was ruled out as early as on round three, which only proves how strong is this Championship.

Top round five matches are Hikaru Nakamura – Gata Kamsky, Joshua Friedel – Yury Shulman and Jaan Ehlvest – Varuzhan Akobian. Live games and commentary on the official website.

Round 4 – Monday, May 11, 2:00 pm

1. GM Gata Kamsky (2½) 2798 ½-½ GM Joshua Friedel (2½) 2568

2. GM Yury Shulman (2½) 2697 ½-½ GM Hikaru Nakamura (2½) 2757

3. GM Alexander Onischuk (2) 2736 ½-½ IM Robert Hess (2) 2545

4. GM Varuzhan Akobian (2) 2664 1-0 GM Julio Becerra (2) 2672

5. GM Gregory Kaidanov (1½) 2662 ½-½ GM Jaan Ehlvest (2) 2649

6. IM Michael Brooks (1½) 2419 ½-½ GM Joel Benjamin (1½) 2650

7. GM Melikset Khachiyan (1½) 2632 1-0 IM Irina Krush (1½) 2496

8. IM Enrico Sevillano (1½) 2549 0-1 IM Samuel Shankland (1½) 2464

9. GM Larry Christiansen (1) 2681 ½-½ GM Alexander Shabalov (1) 2620

10. IM Ray Robson (1) 2542 1-0 GM Ildar Ibragimov (1) 2628

11. Tyler Hughes (1) 2293 1-0 Charles Lawton (0) 2350

12. GM Boris Gulko (0) 2631 1-0 FM Doug Eckert (0) 2278

Round 5, Tuesday, May 12, 2:00 pm

1. GM Hikaru Nakamura (3) 2757 - GM Gata Kamsky (3) 2798

2. GM Joshua Friedel (3) 2757 - GM Yury Shulman (3) 2697

3. GM Jaan Ehlvest (2½) 2649 - GM Varuzhan Akobian (3) 2664

4. IM Samuel Shankland (2½) 2464 - GM Alexander Onischuk (2½) 2736

5. IM Robert Hess (2½) 2545 - GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632

6. GM Julio Becerra (2) 2672 - IM Michael Brooks (2) 2419

7. IM Ray Robson (2) 2542 - GM Gregory Kaidanov (2) 2662

8. GM Joel Benjamin (2) 2650 - Tyler Hughes (2) 2293

9. IM Irina Krush (1½) 2496 - GM Larry Christiansen (1½) 2681

10. GM Alexander Shabalov (1½) 2620 - IM Enrico Sevillano (1½) 2549

11. GM Ildar Ibragimov (1) 2628 - GM Boris Gulko (1) 2631

12. FM Doug Eckert (0) 2278 - Charles Lawton (0) 2350

Anna Zatonskih withdraws from Championship, replaced by Doug Eckert

“There were some medical issues,” said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which is hosting the tournament. “I know that she went to the hospital Sunday morning.”

Zatonskih’s medical problems are not life threatening. Her third-round match with Gregory Kaidanov of Lexington, Ky., was declared a forfeit, and Kaidanov was awarded one point for a victory.

Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., is the reigning U.S. Women’s Chess champion. She will be replaced in the championship by Doug Eckert, a Saint Louis native now living in central Illinois. Eckert was attending the championship as an alternate. He will play 12th-ranked grandmaster Boris Gulko in the fourth round, which will be held today from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Rex Sinquefield, the founder of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center, has guaranteed prize money to both Zatonskih and Eckert based on where they place in the standings. In effect, the tournament has been expanded from 24 players to 25, and Zatonskih will finish with one-half point for the draw she earned in the second round. Eckert will start the fourth round with no points. The player who finishes 25th will receive $2,000.

Get well soon, Anna!


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