Round 5 US Women and Junior Champs

Round 5 US Women and Junior Champs

| 1 | Chess Event Coverage

Zatonskih and Zhao bring their A-Game
By Katie Baldetti and Mike Wilmering 

ST. LOUIS, July 14, 2010--Four Z's squared off in pivotal match-ups today in Saint Louis. Two of them brought their A-game.

IM Anna Zatonskih topped WIM Iryna Zenyuk and NM Parker Zhao outlasted FM Steven Zierk in round-five action.

Zhao earned a full point yet again, pushing his score to 4.5/5 at the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, while Zatonskih also bumped her score up to 4.5/5 to take sole possession of first in the Womens event.

With White against FM Steven Zierk, Zhao used a kingside pawn majority to slowly overwhelm his opponent in a bishop ending with 69.g8=Q 69...Bxg8 70.Kxg8 shutting down Zierk's chances.

NM Parker Zhao talks to Jennifer Shahade after his fifth round win

Parker Zhao.jpg

Zhao said he looked at Zierk's games and found he played the Dutch almost exclusively.

To counter Zierk's opening, Zhao played the aggressive move 7.Qh5+, a good line for White against the Dutch, according to championship commentator GM Ben Finegold. This interesting line forces 7...g6 with ideas of h4 and h5 to come, he said.

I'm feeling confident, more confident than at the beginning of the tournament, Zhao said.


A loss by FM Warren Harper and draws by FM Darwin Yang and GM Ray Robson have allowed Zhao to further distance himself from the field, a full point ahead of Yang and Robson who each have 3.5/5.

NM Eric Rosen continues to make noise this year with his round-five upset of Harper. the lowest-rated player coming into the tourney has proven that hes a tough opponent to beat.

White Score Rating Result Black Score Rating
FM Conrad Holt 0.5 2411 ½-½ GM Ray Robson 3.0 2613
NM Parker Zhao 3.5 2382 1-0 FM Steven Zierk 2.0 2428
FM Warren Harper 3.0 2388 0-1 NM Eric Rosen 1.5 2209
FM John Bryant 1.0 2487 ½-½ FM Darwin Yang 3.0 2422
IM Sam Shankland 1.5 2563 1-0 NM Tyler Hughes 1.0 2386

Zatonskih, another tough competitor, has proven she can play any opening in the book. Playing the Trompowski with White, she pulled off another win in a close game against Zenyuk.

She has utilized a different opening for each round: the Queens Gambit, the Semi-Slav, an off-beat line against the Benoni, the Alekhine, and the Trompowski for rounds one through five, respectively. Commentator WGM Jennifer Shahade said she is looking forward to her openings for the upcoming games.

[Zenyuk] played all logical, good moves, Zatonskih said.  After [25...]Nb4, I was very happy because I have here a small advantage.

Zatonskih said the win was hard to predict as the players were quite equal with around three minutes remaining on the clock before they hit the 40-move rule and time control.

In his commentary, Finegold said Zatonskih needs to pick up the pace. With only a half-point lead on her two rivals, IM Irina Krush and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan, she cant be thirty minutes behind on every game, he said.


The game between Krush, who had White, and WGM Camilla Baginskaite game ended with a controversial forced draw. The game, which concluded with triple repetition, ended after move 12.  The U.S. Womens Championship features a 30-move minimum before a draw can be offered, unless forced.

You cannot force a player to make a move theyre not going to make, said Assistant Arbiter Chris Bird.

Finegold said he was surprised that Krush decided to draw, which put her in a tie for second with Abrahamyan.  After round five, each has a score of 4/5.

I think this draws gonna cost her, Finegold said.



 Abrahamyan topped WFM Abby Marshall to keep pace with Krush and remain just a half point behind Zatonskih. Abrahamyan credited her coach, IM Armen Ambartsoumian, with helping her prepare for todays game.

I just played whatever I was told to play, basically, she said.

For years Abrahamyan has demonstrated her fighting spirit as she won the fighting prize at the 2008 U.S. Womens Championship and all nine of her games proved decisive at last years U.S. Womens Championship.

Last year I had 4/9; this year I have 4/5, Abrahamyan said. I think thats big progress.

White Score Rating Result Black Score Rating
WIM Beatriz Marinello 1.5 2206 0-1 WGM Sabina Foisor 1.5 2356
WFM Tatev Abrahamyan 3.0 2403 1-0 WFM Abby Marshall 0.5 2211
IM Anna Zatonskih 3.5 2518 1-0 WIM Iryna Zenyuk 2.0 2286
WGM Katerina Rohonyan 1.0 2322 ½-½ WIM Alisa Melekhina 2.0 2323
WGM Camilla Baginskaite 1.5 2387 ½-½ IM Irina Krush 3.5 2521

WGM Sabina Foisor pulled off a victory against WIM Beatriz Marinello in round five to score her first victory at the tournament. Marinello advanced her kingside pawns in front of her castled king in a dubious attack, and Foisor was able to exploit Marinellos weaknesses to pick up the full point.

See all of the games from round five at and follow round six action tomorrow at 2p.m. CDT.


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