U.S. Women's Championship Halftime Report

U.S. Women's Championship Halftime Report

| 18 | Strategy

2009 US Women’s Chess Championship Report 

By GM-elect Ben Finegold 

I will be taking over WIM Iryna Zenyuk’s column this week.  After reading this, the readers may wonder, “Where is the real Iryna?” 

Since Zenyuk is busy preparing and trying to win her first title, she thought it would be better if I wrote a little something on the Championship. I am sure everyone is thinking, “Yes, when I want to learn about women’s chess and the US Women’s Championship, I should read an article by Ben Finegold!” Yes, you are savvy readers indeed. 

This year along with two-time US Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade, I am doing live commentary of the games, on as well as the main site, .

So far, reigning champion, IM Anna Zatonskih is leading the field with a 3.5-0.5 score.  Anna beat her close rival, IM Irina Krush in a crucial round 3 encounter.  Let’s have a look at the key position: 

Also doing quite well is the youngest participant, 18 year-old WIM Alisa Melekhina, who, with a 3-1 score, is in clear second.  Alisa recently received a gold medal in China, at the World Team Champs, and is on fire lately!  In the following position, Alisa breaks through against WIM-elect Tatev Abrahamyan to score the full point: 

The tournament is the strongest US Women’s Championship ever, as can be seen by NM Yun Fan starting with 0-3, but still able to draw against one of the pre-tournament favorites IM Krush.  Every player is dangerous in this event, and there are no easy points.  Iryna Zenyuk’s only win so far came at the expense of Yun Fan, but, just as Iryna was certain of victory, it could just as easily have slipped away in the following endgame:

The tournament is almost at the halfway point, and, hopefully your regular columnist, WIM Iryna Zenyuk can start a Tatev-like winning streak, and get a WGM norm, and fight for one of the top spots. 

Next week, the real Iryna will be back, and should have entertaining stories from the wonderful chess here in St. Louis, MO. 

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