Thursday, April 28, 2011

Zatonskih Wins 4th Title!

Uscc finals r103 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

IM Anna Zatonskih earned a draw in the Armageddon tiebreak against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan to win her 4th Women's U.S. Chess Championship. At the end, Anna built a fortress that Tatev just couldn't break. See the score below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kamsky Repeats As U.S. Champion

Uscc finals r105, by jstrand

GM Gata Kamsky successfully defended his U.S. Championship title today with a draw against GM Yuri Shulman after a win in the first match game yesterday. The same two players came down to an Armageddon game last year before Kamsky took the title with a draw in a draw-odds game. GM-elect Sam Shankland had to win in an Armageddon game to secure 3rd place after drawing the 2nd match game against GM Robert Hess.

The 2011 Women's Championship is still undecided as IM Anna Zatonskih and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan drew again. They will play an Armageddon game tomorrow to settle the title. IM Irina Krush held for a draw today against WGM Camilla Baginskaite which was good for a 3rd place finish after her win yesterday.

See today's other games after the break.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kamsky and Krush Win First Games

Uscc finals r102 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Defending U.S. Champion GM Gata Kamsky won with White against GM Yuri Shulman to take a lead in their match. Kamsky won the title last year against Shulman in an Armageddon match. The first game in the battle for third place between GM-elect Sam Shankland and GM Robert Hess ended in a draw.

Uscc finals r101 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

In the women's tournament, WFM Tatev Abrahamyan drew against IM Anna Zatonskih in their first game in the title match. But IM Irina Krush pressed hard to win with the black pieces in her bid for third place against WGM Camilla Baginskaite.

2011 10k blitz 07 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Yesterday saw World #8 GM Hikaru Nakamura take top honors at the $10,000 Blitz Open played at St. Louis University's Busch Student Center. Hikaru reprised his win from last year.

Replay the other scores from today after the break.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Timely Tactics #10 - Krush vs Zatonskih

Uscc semifinals r2playoffs 06 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

In this position from their Armageddon game, IM Irina Krush has mis-stepped by playing 28. Kd3. What problem does this create, and what move will put the game away?

You can see the full game score after the break.

Kamsky vs Shulman / Zatonskih vs Abrahamyan

Uscc semifinals r2playoffs 04 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
 IM Anna Zatonskih defeated IM Irina Krush with the black pieces in an Armageddon game (see the score below) to earn the chance to play for the women's title against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan who had won her tiebreak against WGM Camilla Baginskaite. GM Yuri Shulman defeated GM Robert Hess in their tiebreak which will send him into the title match against defending champion GM Gata Kamsky. Kamsky won last year's title in an Armageddon tiebreak game against Shulman.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kamsky Will Play the Final

GM Gata Kamsky cruised to a win over GM-elect Sam Shankland today to win their match and advance to defend his title in the final. GM Robert Hess and GM Yuri Shulman shook hands and will need to play for tiebreaks tomorrow. In the women's tournament, IM Irina Krush avenged yesterday's loss with a commanding win over IM Anna Zatonskih, forcing them into tomorrow's contests. WFM Tatev Abrahamyan seemed to come from behind to stun WGM Camilla Baginskaite, also forcing a playoff. Check out video of the games from the Latest Chess Videos page. Catch today's game scores after the break.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Men Draw, Women Fight

Uscc semifinals r102 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
Today's semi-final matches in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championships ended in draws for the men and wins for IM Anna Zatonskih and WGM Camilla Baginskaite. GM-elect Sam Shankland held a draw with the white pieces against defending champion GM Gata Kamsky and GM Robert Hess did the same with the black pieces against GM Yuri Shulman. Zatonskih snipped a pawn against IM Irina Krush to win with the white pieces and Baginskaite prevailed with the black pieces against WFM Abrahamyan. Tomorrow the colors will reverse in the matches. Check out today's full game scores after the break.
Uscc semifinals r104 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Matches Made in St. Louis

The Commentators (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

With the tiebreaks decided, players head into the semi-final matches today in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championships. Pairings will be: Kamsky and Shankland, Shulman and Hess, Krush and Zatonskih, and Baginskaite and Abrahamyan. Check here for live coverage with WGM Jennifer Shahade and GM Maurice Ashley starting at 3pm Eastern today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Shankland and Zatonskih Move Ahead

Uscc prelims 04 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
GM-elect Sam Shankland drew his first tiebreak game and won his second with the white pieces against GM Alexander Onischuk to qualify for the final rounds in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship. In the women's tournament, IM Anna Zatonskih defeated WGM Sabina Foisor in both tiebreak games to move ahead. The game scores follow after the break.

Uscc prelims 01 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Some Will Rest, Some Will Play Tiebreaks

Uscc round seven 19 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
After seven rounds of play in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship, GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yuri Shulman earn an advance in group A with a quick draw and GM Robert Hess moves on from group B after his draw against GM Yasser Seirawan. Also agreeing to a draw, GM-elect Sam Shankland and GM Alexander Onischuck will play tiebreaks today to decide who will go on.

Uscc round seven 03 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
In the women's tournament, IM Irina Krush and WGM Camilla Baginskaite agreed to a draw and guaranteed their advancement. WFM Tatev Abrahamyan secured her place with a draw against WIM Irenya Zenyuk. IM Anna Zatonskih defeated IM Sabina Foisor to send the two into a playoff match for the final spot.

See the latest crosstables and results along with PGN's of the games to download here.

See more game scores after the break:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hess Joins Shankland at the Top

Hess and Shankland, Postgame Day 1 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
GM Robert Hess scored a win against GM Alexander Shabalov in the 4th round to join GM-elect Sam Shankland with 3 points for the lead in the B group at the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship. Defending champion GM Gata Kamsky and GM Yuri Shulman are at the top of group A with the same score.

In the women's tournament, WGM Sabina Foisor bested WIM Iryna Zenyuk to go for 3.5 points out of 4 and remain a half point ahead of her nearest competitor, WGM Irina Krush. Foisor had upset Krush in the 1st round. Check out some of the game scores below:

More scores after the break:

Timely Tactics #9 - Kaidanov vs. Shankland

Shankland Bags a Win (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

GM Gregory Kaidanov has erred here with 17. Bc1 (the safer offer of a trade with Qf2 might have still left a chance). GM-elect Sam Shankland grabbed his sword and threatened to storm the castle, making the loss of material imminent and soon causing his opponent to resign.

You can see the full game score after the break.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shankland Storms the Barricade !

After drawing against GM Robert Hess and defeating GM Gregory Kaidanov, GM-elect Sam Shankland pulled off a win against GM Larry Christiansen to take the best score so far of 2.5 at the 2011 U.S. Championships! Larry moved his queen to the b8 square twice, a mistake both times, and Sam grabbed the opportunity to  put the game away (game score follows).

Christiansen and Hess are right behind with 2 points in Group B. GM Gata Kamsky, GM Yuri Shulman, and GM Alexander Ivanov lead Group A with 2 points. WGM Sabina Foisor keeps her grip on the lead in the Women's Championship with a draw against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan.

Foisor Earns a 2nd Win

Piercing Stares (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Proving the determination that you can see here in her eyes, Sabina Foisor went 79 moves against a King's Indian Defense to win a second point against Alisa Melkhina in the 2nd round of the 2011 U.S. Women's Championsip. While the point seemed in hand for most of the game, it took a lot of hard work to prove the win. Though she might have missed a chance to end it on move 41, Sabina's 72. Rh8 seemed to close the door on Alisa.

Christiansen Perfect Against Seirawan

Staring Down the Barricades (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

GM Larry Christiansen only made 22 moves, but they were enough to defeat GM Yasser Seirawan and keep a perfect score after 2 rounds of the 2011 U.S. Championship being held at the St. Louis Chess Club. The two grandmasters already hold 7 U.S. Championship titles between them (Larry has 3 and Yasser has 4). If you are unsure about snatching pawns on b2 with your queen, perhaps this game will provide some guidance.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Timely Tactics #8 - Krush vs. Foisor

Krush v Foisor, Day 1 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0
Even at the U.S. Women's Championship, single motif tactics can be found. Here's a position from the first round game with IM & WGM Irina Krush facing WGM Sabina Foisor. Irina has erred with 30. Bb3, dropping the coverage of the queen that the bishop had provided from the c2 square. Can you see what motif wins the game for Sabina?

You can see the full game score after the break.

Christiansen Scores in the 1st Round

Larry Christiansen, Day 1 (jstrand) / CC BY-SA 3.0

GM Larry Christiansen scored a win in the first round of the 2011 U.S. Championship in St. Louis against GM Alexander Shabalov to give him a leg up on a shot at this year's title. Christiansen is already a 3-time winner of this title in 1980, 1983 and 2002. Shabalov is himself a 4-time winner of the title. Check out the game score below.

Also winning in the 1st round was the 2006 titleist GM Alexander Onischuk with the black pieces against the local favorite and resident GM Ben Finegold. In the U.S. Women's Championship, winners were WGM Sabina Foisor with the black pieces against 3-time Women's U.S. Champion IM & WGM Irina Krush and WFM Tatev Abrahamyan (tying for a win in 2005 but missing the title in a tiebreak) with white against WGM Camilla Baginskaite (winner of a share of the title in 2000).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Endgme Study #14 - D. Joseph 1922

This study by D. Joseph was found in 1234 Modern End-Game Studies by Sutherland and Lommer. The board is filled with stalemate possibilities. Can you sort them out and find a path to win?

The photo is from the British Chess Magazine 1922 where the study was first published showing the October issue. The illustration shown is of Philip H. Williams, a problem composer and author of the book The Modern Chess Problem. He was also known to pen a bit of music. Thanks for the photo by Adam Raoof. You can see more of his work here.

Find all of the endgame studies posted on The Pied Chessman here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Judith Polgar Takes Third

Judith Polgar showed that she's still a top world chess contender with a third place finish at the European Championships 2011, nearly overshadowing 1st place Vladimir Potkin and 2nd place Radoslaw Wotjaszek by becoming the first woman to claim a top spot ever at this tournament.

Entering at a rating of 2686, her performance will likely take her back over the 2700 mark and into super-grandmaster status. The performance also earns her a spot at the World Cup 2011 which will be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from August 26th-September 21st.

She played boldly in this game against Viorel Iordachescu's (2626) Caro-Kann in the 10th round, and it paid off with a commanding win.