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Friday, May 10, 2013

US Chess Championships 2013 Round 6: Ramirez Joins Chase, Abrahamyan Inches Closer

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

Hi everyone, 

SAINT LOUIS (May 10, 2013) -- A pair of largely uneventful draws by the two leaders protected their respective leads, but a host of other players jockeyed for position just beneath them in round six of the 2013 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship. Many crucial games were decided into the sixth hour of play.

The marquee matchup so far of the men’s tournament, GM Gata Kamsky and GM Alex Onischuk, played a relatively short two-hour draw on the top board. The split point allowed three-time champion Kamsky (5/6) to retain his half-point lead over Onischuk (4.5/6), who is seeking his first title since 2006. “The result is okay,” Onischuk said. “Gata was better prepared. He knew this line better than I did. I didn’t expect …f5. I was out of my book.” Kamsky played the first dozen moves in negative time thanks to the increment. “I think it’s still not over,” Onischuk said about the chances to finish atop the standings. “One game can change everything.”

Since no one won, GM Alejandro Ramirez’s win over GM Joel Benjamin makes him joint second with Onischuk.

In the women’s championship, Krush equalized as black without issue, though she insisted she still preferred to make a more dynamic game. WGM Tatev Abrahamyan pounced on the opportunity to close the gap, winning against three-time champion WGM Anjelina Belakovskaia. After being surprised out of the opening, she decided to play the safe Nf3 variation against the Alekhine’s Defense.

“I was not expecting it,” Abrahamyan said of the black’s opening move. “I looked up a lot of lines but not this one. This tournament it seems like [Belakovskaia] is doing specific preparation.” Belakovskaia has not played competitively in several years, making her database of historic games too outdated to matter. After everything developed from the back row for white, black’s rooks were not yet connected, and Abrahamyan won a piece with a simple tactic. Although the game dragged on, it was essentially a miniature. “It seems like it’s coming down to the finish line, so it’s really nerve-racking,” she said. (Read a full report by FM Mike Klein on the official website.)

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