US Ch: Nakamura-Kamsky drawn

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Nakamura-KamskyIt was the game everyone was waiting for, and despite its peaceful finish, Nakamura and Kamsky didn't disappoint the fans. In the fifth round of the US Championship the two top-seeds drew against each other, allowing Shulman and Akobian to take the shared lead.

The 2009 U.S. Chess Championship takes place May 7-17 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The tournament is a 9-round Swiss with 24 participants with one round per day and a rest day between rounds 5 and 6. The prize fund is $130,000.

We start this report with the news that Anna Zatonskih, the only mother in the field, dropped out of the tournament on Mother's Day. On Sunday morning she went to hospital and initially her game against GM Gregory Kaidanov was postponed till the rest day (an act of sportsmanship by Kaidanov, who could have claimed the point). Later it turned out Zatonskih had gall stones and obviously could not participate anymore. FM Doug Eckert was the backup replacement available and he stepped in to get the number of participants back to 24.


Anna Zatonskih: out of the tournament

In round four, the top pairings between overnight leaders, #1 seed Gata Kamsky vs. Josh Friedel, and defending champion Yury Shulman vs. #2 seed Hikaru Nakamura, ended in epic draws. The top two seeds held the advantage throughout, as they tried to press for the sole lead in the tournament. Especially Friedel's tenacious defence was admirable. The impasse at the top allowed Varuzhan Akobian, who played the best game of the day, to join the leading pack of five at the top with 3/4. Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif., who is ranked No. 8 in the country, scored a resounding victory over seventh-ranked Julio Becerra, of Miami.


Varuzhan Akobian of North Hollywood, California

In round five, Shulman and Akobian broke from the pack to take the joint lead. Akobian was the first to make his move for the title with his third successive win; he easily outplayed Jaan Ehlvest, of Baltimore. Shulman joined Akobian at the top of the leader board with points by capitalizing on an error from Josh Friedel of New York near the end of their game.


Friedel held Kamsky to a draw, but then lost against Shulman in round 5

Photos by Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer

Akobian and Shulman were only able to take the joint lead after a clash of the titans between top-seeded New York grandmasters Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw. In that game, No. 1 seed Kamsky looked to be better throughout, but his young rival proved resourceful as he saved the game and a valuable half point. Kamsky and Nakamura each were a half point behind the leaders with 3.5 points, along with Alexander Onischuk, of Baltimore, and Robert Hess, 17, of New York.


New game viewer

With this report we're trying out for the first time a new game viewer. We always used the Palview/Palmate viewer and for the end user there was nothing wrong with it, but to create a board and moves out of a PGN file was always a big hassle for us.

From now on were going to use Martin Bennedik's viewer which many of you will know from TWIC, where Mark Crowther has been using it for a few months already. It will be a very similar experience for our readers, while our editorial team will win much time creating them for the reports.

There's one "but". You need Silverlight. Silverlight is a programmable web browser plugin developed by Microsoft that enables features such as animation, vector graphics and audio-video playback that characterizes rich Internet applications. It's similar to Flash in that it only needs a one-time install on your local computer.

So if you already see a chess board below these sentences then you're fine and you already installed Silverlight on your computer. Otherwise, just click the Get Microsoft Silverlight button - the software won't harm your computer and also works on Macs! (Not yet on Linux, but a solution for that is in the making.)

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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