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Monday, May 6, 2013

US Chess Championships 2013 Round 2: Christiansen, Kamsky in Lead

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone,
After two rounds of the 2013 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship, there are curiously more perfect scores remaining in the latter tournament, despite having fewer than half the players of the former. Only three women (IMs Irina Krush and Anna Zatonksih and WGM Tatev Abrahamyan) and two men (GMs Gata Kamsky and Larry Christiansen - in photo) have begun with two wins, which represents about 15 percent of the combined field.

The most hyped game of the day featured teenage IM Kayden Troff against the top-seeded Kamsky. Going into the game, Troff said Kamsky was the highest-rated player he had ever faced, however the youngster drew GM Michael Adams, who is just a few points below Kamsky. Overall, Kamsky said he could have been in serious trouble if Troff had used his active pieces to attack the king more. Eventually, Kamsky won.

Grandmaster Larry Christiansen, who won his first U.S. Championship in 1980 and his most recent in 2002, faced an uphill climb as he seeks to win a title in yet another decade. Facing second-seeded GM Timur Gareev as black, the veteran admitted that his opponent was better out of the opening. Since they are the only players with two points, these two winners must play tomorrow even though their colors do not line up. Both players are due white, but Kamsky is higher rated and will get his due color. Christiansen insisted afterward he would still play aggressively as black. 

The U.S. Women’s Championship so far has been far more predictable. The top three seeds are motoring, as Zatonskih, Krush and Abrahamyan all won to go to 2-0. Zatonskih and Krush, the top two seeds and winners of the past seven titles, will face off tomorrow in their annual battle. The head-to-head matchup has served as the de facto championship in recent years. The two have played so many times that Zatonskih forgot who won in 2012 (it was a draw, but Krush won a dramatic tiebreak, which Zatonskih does remember vividly). A detailed report by FM Mike Klein is available at the official website

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