Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

Nakamura Clinches Third U.S. Title

  • SonofPearl
  • on 5/19/12, 10:59 PM.

Nakamura Clinches Third U.S. Championship Title
By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS, May 19, 2012 -- After 11 exhausting days of play at the 2012 U.S. Championships, one champion has been decided, while one will require another day. GM Hikaru Nakamura took 30 moves to beat GM Yasser Seirawan today to become the 2012 U.S. Champion. It is his third title and his first since 2009. IMs Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih both won also to remain tied for first in the U.S. Women's Championship. They will play a playoff at noon Central time tomorrow.


“It has been a long two weeks,” Nakamura said. “There's a lot of pressure to perform. I feel a lot of relief.” Nakamura was the top-seeded player and according to the live ratings list, he has now pushed his rating to 2782.6, a personal best. “If I hadn't won, I'd be pretty depressed.”


Nakamura reverted back to 1. e4. He used it to win several games earlier in the tournament. Seirawan, a four-time champion, differed from his usual Caro-Kann and played the French Defense. After a 10-minute think, Nakamura unleashed 2. f4 to get the game out of charted waters. Seirawan said later it was new for him.

“This tournament is a tournament of firsts for me,” Seirawan said. “And I've never faced f4 before.”

Hikaru Nakamura (left) beat Yasser Seirawan

Yasser Seirawan Hikaru Nakamura 2012 US Champs round 11.jpg


Nakamura's capture 10. Bxf5 produced a critical moment for his opponent. Since ...g6 had just been played on move eight, Nakamura said it was natural to continue by recapturing with the g-pawn. Seirawan did just that, however upon reflection his isolated h-pawn ended up being a liability. Very short on time, Seirawan could not find a defense to the impending discovered checks on the dark-squared long diagonal. He expressed “instant regret” on his choice of which way to capture on f5. “It's just a totally bad grovel,” Seirawan said.


Nakamura had ideas all over. “He had play on both flanks,” Seirawan said. “My position was in some ways carved in half. I was defending on both wings. My position is like a sieve.”


GM Gata Kamsky, who acquiesced the lead to Nakamura yesterday by losing their head-to-head game, drew against GM Robert Hess to earn clear second place with 7.5/11.

Gata Kamsky drew his last round game

Gata Kamsky 2012 US Champs round 11.jpg


GM Alex Onischuk was third with 6.5/11 and tied for fourth were GMs Varuzhan Akobian, Yury Shulman and Alex Lenderman. Shulman's one win and ten draws makes him the only other undefeated player besides Nakamura.



GM Ray Robson's even score of 5.5/11 was good enough for seventh, while Hess grabbed eighth (5/11) and GMs Gregory Kaidanov and Alejandro Ramirez shared ninth (4/11). GMs Yasser Seirawan and Alex Stripunsky tied for 11th with 3.5/11.

US Chess Champs 2012 final  standings.png


In the 2012 U.S. Women's Championship, nothing was gained today by the two leaders. Krush and Zatonskih both won, necessitating a playoff tomorrow for the title. They will play two 25-minute rapid games, one with each color. If the score is tied 1-1, a final Armageddon with clock bidding will ensue.


The two women finished within minutes of each other. Krush won a pawn with the tactic 13...Bb5. Her opponent, WGM Camilla Baginskaite, said she thought her position was worse and that she had to sacrifice her e-pawn for possible counterplay on the e-file. Krush said she barely noticed her rival's position. “I basically focused on my own game,” she said. “I looked at Anna's game a few times, but not more than usual.”

Irina Krush (right) beat Camilla Baginskaite

Irina Krush Camilla Baginskate 2012 US Champs round 9.jpg


Zatonskih admitted to glancing at Krush's game only once. She said that Krush had won from a worse position earlier in the tournament against IM Rusudan Goletiani, so even if Krush had a bad position today, no result was guaranteed.


Going into Sunday's playoff, Zatonskih was melancholy of her games. “I'm critical of my own play,” she said. “Maybe it's age. You cannot play that good every time.”
Both women are undefeated this year, with five wins and four draws, including an uneventful draw against each other in round seven. Since then, both have won two in a row to earn a spot in the playoff. In the past, both women had achieved scores of 8.5/9 at the event. Krush did it in winning the 1998 championship, while Zatonskih did it in 2009.

Anna Zatonskih

Anna Zatonskih 2012 US Champs round 9.jpg
.


Goletiani bounced back from last year's subpar result to finish in clear third place. WIM Viktorija Ni played the longest game of the day, coming back to beat FM Alisa Melekhina to finish in fourth. WGM Sabina Foisor, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and WIM Iryna Zenyuk all finished with 4.5/9 to tie for fifth. This was the first time Zenyuk has achieved an even score at the championship. Melekhina was sixth, Baginskaite seventh and tournament rookie WFM Alena Kats eighth.

US Womens Chess Champs 2012 final standings.png


The playoff between Krush and Zatonskih will begin tomorrow at Noon Central, 1 p.m. Eastern. Tune into www.uschesschamps.com to catch live commentary and analysis by GM Ben Finegold and WGM Jen Shahade.

.

Photos by Studio314
 
___________________________________________________

About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.
 
Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.

4294 reads 10 comments
3 votes

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    Twobit

    I am a little surprised to see GM Hess at 8th...

  • 3 years ago

    mobidi

    Funny! Seirawan-"i had never faced f4 before..."-and what about games Alexander Mc Donnell vs Lois Charles Mahe de La Bourdonnais (annotated by great Paul Morphy).Naka played oppening like Mc Donnell-and ,of course-he knows WHO WAS MORPHY (and knows his ANNOTATIONS)-but Seirawan never faced.....

  • 3 years ago

    Archaic71

    Is it just me or is it kind of sad that there is not a single American born woman in the womens US championship.

    Congrats once again to Naka, hopefully he'll be able to join the 2800 club this year.

  • 3 years ago

    shengyi

    Great performance by Naka.

  • 3 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    Congrats CCSL and Beniffer Innocent for the great live coverage of chess, and to the players on the whole for interesting games more characteristic of open swiss tournaments, dynamic and hard-fought.  Glad Lenderman acquitted himself quite well against such players and to draw Nakamura again with Black.  I made his acquaintance and we played once in blitz, he was/is a really nice guy.  Many of the players in both sections are quite polite of course and everyone got at least one win! Cool

  • 3 years ago

    Czechman

    Great tournament and OUTSTANDING commentary. Excellent analysis with humor at times made the coverage a joy to watch. Thanks to everyone responsible for an outstanding job.

    Right now I'm watching the seventh game in the WC and instead of covering the game they're chatting about Russian art! Gives you something to think about when 17th Century paintings are more interesting than this tournament. 

  • 3 years ago

    drumdaddy

    Hi is clearly The Man!

  • 3 years ago

    gregdocot

    Thanks for the info dessimination. Another bacon for Hikaru.

  • 3 years ago

    trlns

    The on-line coverage for this tournament set a new benchmark. Great work to all involved.

  • 3 years ago

    fabelhaft

    Great tournament by Nakamura, Kamsky came an inch from eliminating Gelfand in the Candidates but here Nakamura was just the clearly stronger player of the two and 2800 isn't that far away.

Back to Top

Post your reply: