By FM Mike Klein
After a draw between GM Yury Shulman and GM Gata Kamsky today, the 2010 U.S. Championship will be decided by a tiebreaker. Shulman and Kamsky will play again today at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. They have each earned $25,000 for being tied so far.
The game featured a battle of preparation. Both men were familiar with the variations arising from the Grunfeld Defense, but even so Kamsky played much more quickly. For the second game in a row, Shulman said he had studied the position, but struggled to remember his analysis. Shulman said he last looked at the variations from the game 15 years ago.
The players repeated their game from the 2009 U.S. Championship, until Kamsky differed with 10..Bxc3+. Last year he played the more common 10Ne5. After sacrificing the pawn, Shulman got control of the center and began simultaneous operations against Kamsky’s king, previously weakened by trading the fianchettoed bishop. I knew at worst I would have some kind of perpetual, so I felt kind of safe, Shulman said.
I think the whole variation is basically a draw, Kamsky said.
Neither player gave much away regarding their thoughts or emotions heading into tomorrow’s sudden-death final. I’ve found that if I get so excited and worked up before the game, it’s not going to help me, Kamsky said.
On whether or not the players planned to play in the $10,000 blitz tournament yesterday evening, Kamsky called the opportunity tempting but said he would only play if Shulman played. Although the carrot was dangled, neither competitor came out to compete, but Kamsky did make an appearance as an interested spectator.
Shulman left the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis right after his game to begin preparing for the tiebreak. The first question both players will contend with is how much time they will bid. Shulman and Kamsky will begin the game today by secretly bidding an amount of time they would be willing to accept. The player with the lower bid will get that amount of time (plus a five-second increment) and the other player will get 60 minutes. The lower bidding player will also get choice of color, with Black having draw odds. Most players expect that unless the winning bid is close to 60 minutes, then the person with less time will choose Black.
The winner of the tiebreak gets an extra $5,000 and the title of 2010 U.S. Champion. Shulman last won the title in 2008 and Kamsky in 1991.
In the third place game, GM Alex Onischuk and GM Hikaru Nakamura also drew. They finish equal third and both win $12,500.
UPDATE: KAMSKY WINS THE TIEBREAK BY DRAWING WITH BLACK (HIS BID OF 25 MINUTES WON HIM THE CHOICE OF COLOURS).