Hikaru Nakamura clinches third U.S. Championship title

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Hikaru Nakamura won the U.S. Championship on Saturday after beating Yasser Seirawan with white in the last round. The top rated American grandmaster finished a full point ahead of Gata Kamsky and with a point less, third came Alexander Onischuk. A report on the final two rounds.

Hikaru Nakamura wins his third U.S. Championship | Photos courtesy of the official website

EventU.S. ChampionshipsPGN via TWIC
DatesMay 8th-20th, 2012
LocationSaint Louis, USA
System12-player round robin

Hikaru Nakamura, Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Yasser Seirawan, Robert Hess, Varuzhan Akobian, Ray Robson, Gregory Kaidanov, Alejandro Ramirez, Aleksandr Lenderman, Yury Shulman, Alexander Stripunsky

Rate of play40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes to finish the game, with a 30-second increment from move 1

Videos by Macauley Peterson

By FM Mike Klein

Round 10

The battle all chess fans waited to see at the 2012 U.S. Championship did not disappoint. GM Hikaru Nakamura beat GM Gata Kamsky for the first time ever in classical chess to take over the lead by one-half point with one game to go. Nakamura has 7.5 points to Kamsky's seven.

Playing Black in round ten, Nakamura chose the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense because he wanted a volatile position. During their last encounter, at the Tata Steel Tournament in January, Nakamura's Dragon Variation did not produce any winning chances. Today, he needed more from the opening.

Kamsky uncharacteristically labored in the opening, spending more time than his opponent for one of the first times in the event. He spent 30 minutes after 11...Na5.

The defending champion's lack of time came back to hurt him on the 40th and final move of time control.

Tomorrow, Nakamura assured everyone that he was out to win, as he gets white versus GM Yasser Seirawan. If he is able to do so, he will clinch the title, his first since 2009. Kamsky meanwhile needs some help to win his third consecutive championship. He will likely need to win as black against GM Robert Hess, then get some help from Seirawan. Should there be a tie at the end of the 11th round, the playoff will be Sunday at noon Central time.

All other games Friday were drawn, except GM Alejandro Ramirez, who beat GM Alex Stripunsky. GM Alex Onischuk retained his position in third by easily drawing GM Varuzhan Akobian.

Games round 10

PGN file

Round 11

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.

“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.”

U.S. Championships 2012 | Final Standings


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