US Ch: blood all over the place

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Nakamura-AkobianWe've been pretty positive about the US Championship so far, and especially referring to the great stuff the media team is publishing on the official website every day. We've got just one more thing to add: the chess itself isn't bad either, with 11 out of 12 decisive games in round 7!

The 2009 U.S. Chess Championship takes place May 7-17 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. It's a 9-round Swiss with 24 participants with one round per day. The prize fund is $130,000.

Rounds 6-7

In the sixth round, defending champion Yury Shulman and Varuzhan Akobian continued to hold the lead. As overnight leaders, the two were matched up Wednesday and a win would have given the victor sole possession of first place, but the game ended in a draw.

It meant they shared the top of the leader board with 4.5 points, followed by a pack of six players half a point back, including the top three ranked U.S. players coming into the tournament: Kamsky, Nakamura and Onischuk. Also in the group was 17-year-old IM Robert Hess who used a Najdorf/Dragon hybrid (sometimes called "Dragdorf") for the first time in his life to draw his game with Kamsky. "I just tried to complicate matters and it worked", Hess explained after the game.

Onischuk defeated Shulman with Black in round 6

The standings were flipped Thursday in the seventh of nine rounds, as at the end of the day the three top seeds coming into the tournament, and a 17-year-old rising star, shared first place: Kamsky, Nakamura, Onischuk and Hess. Shulman has dropped to second place with 4.5 points after losing to Onischuk and Nakamura respectively. Kamsky defeated three-time U.S. champion Joel Benjamin while Hess defeated Josh Friedel.

IM Hess proudly shares the lead with America's top 3

Michael Brooks, of Kansas City (Missouri) had a dramatic turnaround in his game, putting him closer to earning grandmaster status. Brooks, 47, beat the youngest player in the field, 14-year-old phenom Ray Robson, of Largo, (Florida) to end the day with 4 points. Not only will his above-par performance raise his chess rating, but if he manages to score 1.5 points over his final two games, he will be on course for a grandmaster norm.

Michael Brooks (47) on his way to a GM norm

Friday is a rest day. For Twitter fans: we haven't mentioned yet that for live updates of the tournament you can check

Kamsky watching the game Friedel-Hess

Photos by Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer

Game viewer

(Click here for more info on the new game viewer.) Click on the pairings at the top of the board to reveal a drop down list of all the games. Click on the arrow under the board just once, then the arrow keys of your keyboard also work.

Videos hosted by Jennifer Shahade & Macauley Peterson


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