Kaidanov and Robson claim last spots US Championship

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Kaidanov and Robson claim last spots US ChampionshipGMs Gregory Kaidanov and Ray Robson won the final two qualification spots for the 2011 US Championship in April. Kaidanov scored 6/9 and clear first at the Saint Louis Invitational on Wednesday, and a day later 16-year-old Robson earned the final spot in a thrilling playoff contest against GM Alejandro Ramirez. Videos.

The Saint Louis Invitational took place March 4-9 in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. It was a ten-player round robin with GMs Gregory Kaidanov, Alejandro Ramirez, Joel Benjamin, Julio Becerra, Eugene Perelshteyn, Ray Robson, Melikset Khachiyan, Jesse Kraai, IM Michael Brooks and FM Darwin Yang. The rate of play was 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes with a 30 second increment from move one.

After three rounds top seeded Kaidanov was leading the pack with 2.5/3, followed by GM Jesse Kraai and local IM Michael Brooks with 2/3. Macauley Peterson, who was in Saint Louis this week just before heading to Monaco, created the following video featuring GM Jesse Kraai.

After five rounds top seeded Kaidanov was leading the pack with 3.5/5, followed by IM Michael Brooks, GM Alejandro Ramirez and GM Ray Robson on 3/5. Macauley did another video, with Ramirez:

With three draws in the final rounds, Gregory Kaidanov eventually finished clear first ith 6/9 to claim the first spot in the 2011 US Championship. GMs Alejandro Ramirez and Ray Robson tied for second with 5.5/9 and had to play off for the final spot on Thursday. The play-off between consisted of two rapid games (25 minutes plus 5 seconds increment). The first game ended in a draw and then Robson beat Ramirez in the second.

The US Championship will be held 13-28 April in Saint Louis. The full list of participants is now available: GM Gata Kamsky, GM Alex Onischuk, GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Yury Shulman, GM Jaan Ehlvest, GM Alex Stripunsky, GM Larry Christiansen, GM Robert Hess, GM Alex Shabalov, GM Alexander Ivanov, IM Sam Shankland, GM Ben Finegold, IM Daniel Naroditsky, GM Gregory Kaidanov and GM Ray Robson.

At first Hikaru Nakamura wanted to play as well, but later he declined, preferring to focus on other big tournaments head of him: Bazna, Dortmund and Bilbao. Gata Kamsky sees the US Championship as a good way to get in shape for his Candidates match against Veselin Topalov in May in Kazan, Russia. Yasser Seirawan returns after many years, but hasn't lost the 'feel' yet: recently he won a strong blitz tournament in The Netherlands, finishing ahead of names like Kasimdzhanov, Iturrizaga, Fier, Fridman, Erdos, Smeets, Fedorchuk, Sadler and Gustafsson.

Selection of games

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Saint Louis Invitational 2011 | Final Standings


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