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Saturday, May 15, 2010

2010 US Chess Championship

Thanks to Betsy Dynako for letting us use this
great photo of Irina Krush from the 2nd round

Hello all!

The 2010 US Chess Championship is taking place from May 14 to May 25 in Saint-Louis. The defending champion Hikaru Nakamura as well as 23 strong players are playing for the US chess champion title. The full list of participants can be found on the official web-site of the Saint-Louis chess club, here.

The only lady in this great company is Irina Krush (on the photo below)

who started the tournament in beautiful style by defeating GM Gregory Kaidanov. Below is the pgn of her game which you can view by in this pgn-player by simply copying and pasting the moves in it.

[Event "ch-USA"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2010.5.14"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Krush,I"]
[Black "Kaidanov,G"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "D31"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Nge2
O-O 8.Rc1 c6 9.Ng3 Bg6 10.h4 h6 11.h5 Bh7 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Qxd3
Bd6 14.Bxd6 Qxd6 15.Nf5 Qe6 16.f3 Nbd7 17.Kf2 Rfe8 18.g4 Nh7
19.Na4 b6 20.Nc3 Ndf6 21.Ne2 Ng5 22.Nf4 Qd7 23.Qa3 a5 24.Rc2
Rad8 25.Rhc1 c5 26.dxc5 bxc5 27.Rxc5 Ne6 28.Nxe6 Qxe6 29.Kg2
d4 30.e4 d3 31.Qc3 d2 32.Rd1 Qb6 33.a4 Qa6 34.Rb5 Qa8 35.Rxa5
Qb8 36.Ra6 Rc8 37.Qd4 Qb3 38.Rxd2 Rc2 39.Rd6 Rxd2+ 40.Qxd2 Qxa4
41.Rxf6 1-0

The games of the US Chess Championship can be followed LIVE, here. Here is the press-release about the exciting first round:

Fighting chess featured at round one of 2010 Championship

By FM Mike Klein

The first round of the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, produced an uncharacteristically high number of decisive games, with eight out of 12 games yielding a winner. Normally at top levels of chess a draw rate of more than 50 percent would not be abnormal.

As the tournament began, the Swiss system pairing format pitted the top players against the bottom players. But since the tournament only invites the top rated players and makes open qualification difficult, there are no easy opponents in the 24-player field.

International Master (IM) Irina Krush of New York City, the only woman in the field, came in to the tournament ranked second to last, but she got off to a fast start. By beating Grandmaster (GM) Gregory Kaidanov of Lexington, Ken., she turned in the biggest upset of the round. Previously, she had never defeated Kaidanov in tournament play.

“My thinking process was not so smooth,” Krush said. “There were definitely a lot of lines I was scared of. Somehow, I kept control, even though I was doubting myself. I was concerned about my position.” She finished off her opponent by sacrificing a rook for a knight to force checkmate.

The other big upset came on board six as Glendale, California’s GM Melikset Khachiyan edged Brooklyn’s GM Aleksandr Lenderman in a close rook-and-pawn endgame. Lenderman is the former World Youth Champion but Khachiyan has been dominating the California chess scene as of late.

Recently relocated from the Pacific Northwest, current St. Louis resident and defending champion GM Hikaru Nakamura survived a tactical melee against GM Alexander Stripunsky from New York City. Nakamura used a nifty queen sacrifice to finish off his opponent. Nakamura said afterward that Stripunsky helped put him on the map – when Nakamura was 10, he defeated his first grandmaster, and it was Stripunsky.

The youngest player in the event for the second year in a row, 15-year-old GM Ray Robson from Largo, Fla., narrowly missed drawing former champion GM Gata Kamsky of New York City. Kamsky praised Robson’s intuitive decision to sacrifice a knight for three pawns. Afterward, in what looked like a tough endgame conversion, Kamsky showed effortless technique to convert the point. He also produced some aesthetically pleasing moves. “OK, it’s an element of the game,” he explained.

Third-seeded Baltimore resident Alexander Onischuk played the longest game of the day at more than five hours but got by New Jersey’s GM Joel Benjamin. Benjamin is playing in his 22nd consecutive U.S. Championship, a record.

Former World Championship contender and Estonian native GM Jaan Ehlvest got off to a fast start by beating GM Alex Yermolinsky of Sioux Falls, SD. Ehlvest, like Onischuk, lives in Baltimore.

Last year’s surprise second-place finisher GM Robert Hess did much to continue his winning ways in St. Louis by defeating fellow youngster IM Sam Shankland. Neither player has yet seen their 20th birthday. Tournament veteran GM Larry Christiansen of Cambridge, Mass., who first won the title back in 1980, found a spectacular checkmating attack on GM Dmitry Gurevich of Chicago. “When in doubt, attack!” Christiansen said. He is known for his swashbuckling rampages on the enemy king. The exciting game featured the two oldest players in the event.

Games ending in a draw included GM Yury Shulman (Chicago) against GM Vinay Bhat (San Francisco); GM Ben Finegold (St. Louis) against GM Varuzhan Akobian (North Hollywood, CA); GM Jesse Kraai (Bay Area, CA) against GM Alexander Shabalov (Pittsburgh) and GM Sergey Kudrin (Stamford, Conn.) against IM Levon Altounian (Tucson, Ariz.).

While a draw is not as good as a win, some players noticed the obvious. “Well, I have more points now than I had going into round one,” Finegold joked.

The most intriguing matchup of round two will take place on the top board, as Nakamura and Hess square off. Last year’s first and second-place finishers also met at the 2009 U.S. Championship, when Nakamura won.

The 2010 U.S. Chess Championship is open to the public and will feature live grandmaster commentary by GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Spectators can access the event by purchasing a membership to the CCSCSL, which costs just $5/month for students and $12/month for adults. Video of the commentary can also been seen live at or by visiting The championship quad finale will take place May 22-24 and will culminate with the $10,000 U.S. Championship Blitz Open at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 24, an event that will feature U.S. Championship competitors and some of the top players from across the country.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Labels: ,


  • At May 16, 2010 at 5:30 PM , Blogger Russell (Rusty) Miller said...

    Not all the players in the 2010 US Championship are GMs.

  • At May 16, 2010 at 8:55 PM , Anonymous Admin said...

    Thanks, Rusty, post corrected!

  • At May 22, 2010 at 2:18 PM , Anonymous aerodarts said...

    Wonderful summary of the tournament! Thank you. Good luck with your upcoming tournaments!

    I was in st louis last year and was able to shoot video and is it posted on youtube by aerodarts. I was able to capture the winning moment of the tournament!

    This year I noticed the coverage is the better than ever! The recent world chess championship coverage just played can not stand up to this coverage!

    The players go down to the coverage room after the games and sit down and talk about the games. Jennifer shahade and maurice ashley make a great team. The weather is also very nice in st louis in the spring, so you can go outside and enjoy yourself. If you enjoy chess, then this is a tournament to attend!

    aerodarts in Colorado now


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