US Women And Junior Champs Update

US Women And Junior Champs Update

| 2 | Chess Event Coverage

Krushing the King's Indian 
By Mike Wilmering and Katie Baldetti

Round seven featured a crucial match-up between IM Irina Krush and WIM Alisa Melekhina.

Krush, who started the day a half-point behind IM Anna Zatonskih, needed a win with White to keep pace with the struggling Zatonskih, who said she hasn't been playing to her potential this tournament but maintained a score of 5.5/6 coming into todays round.

Melekhina employed a King's Indian defense, which created a complicated, double-edged position as she stormed Krush's kingside.

Krush deviated from the main lines with 14.Nb5, rather than the more normal c5 or b4 in that position, a possible product of her extensive preparation against the Kings Indian.

A lot of [these] players have the Kings Indian in their repertoire, Krush said. I did some work on this opening.

Krush defended well and Melekhina's attack fell short. A pivotal move, 17...g3 allowed 18.Nxa8, but Melekhina had insufficient compensation for the rook sacrifice and Krush used her advantage to roll to an easy victory.

Irina Krush wins again in round seven (picture courtesy of the official website).




GM Ray Robson pulled out a surprise opening by employing the Kings Indian defense against Parker Zhao's uncharacteristic c4 opening.

I thought he'd play e4 instead of c4, Robson said.

Robson said he used to play the Kings Indian when he was 9 or 10, but hasn't revisited it much since.

Similar to the Krush-Melekhina game, Robson allowed his rook to be captured on a8 (23.Nxa8), but got good compensation for the sacrifice with pawns on f4, g4 and g3 and several looming threats.

The Juniors, who were a few moves behind the Krush game, were following her line closely. Zhao said he was aware that Melekhina was also employing the Kings Indian, but wanted to deviate from Krush's response  because he said he felt following her move-for-move would be unethical.

If I'd won, it would be like Irina's win, Zhao said.


Robson sits atop the leaderboard with a score of 5.5/7, a full point ahead of IM Sam Shankland FM Darwin Yang and Zhao who all have 4.5/7. Shankland continues a strong push toward the top with his victory against NM Eric Rosen.

Robson's victory makes tomorrows match against Yang crucial.

During the heat of the Zhao-Robson game, Yang said that he wished, with no such luck, that the two players would draw so he would only be a half a point away after his win today with Black against NM Tyler Hughes, a game that GM Ben Finegold called a blistering attack.

Yang said that he was surprised when Hughes played 17.Ndf5.  [At] first I thought this position was rather unpleasant because he had the two bishops and I had a weak f-pawn, he said. And then when I thought about it I realized I had some attacking potential after 18Rfe8, 19.Qb4, 19Ne5.

When Hughes played 20.Bxf5, Yang said he knew his opponent had made a decisive mistake.

After this, it was just over because he couldn't protect both his f2 pawn and cover the h1 square at the same time, Yang said.

The game ended with 26...Rxc1+, and, as WGM Jennifer Shahade noted, this sharp and strategic game was a key victory for Yang.

Tactical wins give me more enjoyment but they also give me more gray hairs, the 13-year-old said.
Yang needs to pull off another victory with Black against the tournament's only grandmaster if he is to have any chance to win the tournament.


WFM Tatev Abrahamyan used a key knight sacrifice (45...g5 46.Ng6+ 46...hxg6 47.Rh4+) to win against WGM Sabina Foisor to maintain a second-place tie with Krush at 6/7.  Zatonskih maintained her half-point lead (6.5/7) with a victory over WIM Beatriz Marinello.


WFM Tatev Abrahamyan 5.0 2403 1-0 WGM Sabina Foisor 2.5 2356
IM Anna Zatonskih 5.5 2518 1-0 WIM Beatriz Marinello 1.5 2206
WGM Katerina Rohonyan 2.5 2322 1-0 WFM Abby Marshall 0.5 2211
WGM Camilla Baginskaite 2.0 2387 0-1 WIM Iryna Zenyuk 2.0 2286
IM Irina Krush 5.0 2521 1-0 WIM Alisa Melekhina 3.5 2323


Zatonskih and Abrahamyan square off tomorrow in the most important match-up of the 2010 U.S. Women's Championship.

In other action, WIM Iryna Zenyuk topped WGM Camilla Baginskaite, WGM Katerina Rohonyan beat WFM Abby Marshall, FM Conrad Holt scored another win over FM Warren Harper, and FM John Bryant defeated FM Steven Zierk.


NM Parker Zhao 4.5 2382 0-1 GM Ray Robson 4.5 2613
FM Warren Harper 3.0 2388 0-1 FM Conrad Holt 2.0 2411
FM John Bryant 2.0 2487 1-0 FM Steven Zierk 3.0 2428
IM Sam Shankland 3.5 2563 1-0 NM Eric Rosen 3.0 2209
NM Tyler Hughes 1.0 2386 0-1 FM Darwin Yang 3.5 2422

For complete standings and today's games, visit Follow the action live starting at 2 p.m. CDT.

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