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Saint Louis, May 13, 2009 -- After five rounds of the U.S. Chess Championship, Michael Brooks of Kansas City, Mo., has an impressive three points, putting him just one point out of first place. Brooks, of Kansas City, has defeated two grandmasters with ratings higher than 2600, including the seventh- and 15th-ranked players in the country. 

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St. Louis, MO, May 12, 2009 -- Defending champion Yury Shulman, of Barrington, Ill., and Varuzhan Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif., broke from the pack to take the joint lead of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

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Round 5 Photos

When reusing images please credit: Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer

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Saint Louis, May 11, 2009 -- The atmosphere is becoming tense at the top in the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship hosted at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Five of the country's leading grandmasters share first place at the conclusion of round four.

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Arbiter Ruling on Sevillano-Lawton Game, Round 2

 Arbiter Rulings: Rnd 2, Sevillano-Lawton

A situation arose towards the end of the Sevillano-Lawton game in that Lawton was no longer keeping his scoresheet up to date and had more than 5 minutes remaining on his clock.


Article 8.1: “In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibly as possible, in the algebraic notation (Appendix E), on the ‘scoresheet’ prescribed for the competition. It is forbidden to write the moves in advance, unless the player is claiming a draw according to Article 9.2 or 9.3.


A player may reply to his opponent’s move before recording it, if he so wishes. He must record his previous move before making another. Both players must record the offer of a draw on the scoresheet. (Appendix E.13) If a player is unable to keep score, an assistant, who is acceptable to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to write the moves. His clock shall be adjusted by the arbiter in an equitable way.


Article 8.4: “If a player has less than five minutes left on his clock at some stage in a period and does not have additional time of 30 seconds or more added with each move, then he is not obliged to meet the requirements of Article 8.1. Immediately after one flag has fallen the player must update his scoresheet completely before moving a piece on the chessboard.


Lawton’s scoresheet was inaccurate due to some earlier missing moves and the fact that he stopped recording moves entirely when he still had over 8 minutes on his clock.  At that time he was warned by the Arbiter that he had to record the missing moves and continue to record move by move.  He wrote a few moves then stopped again. The Arbiter ruled that Lawton should correct his scoresheet, bring it up to date first, then continue to keep score until he had less than 5 minutes remaining.  He protested, saying it would take too long.  At that point he had 6:53 minutes on his clock and his opponent had 4:34.  He was provided with his opponent’s MonRoi scoresheet and instructed, again, to correct and complete his scoresheet.  While doing so, interrupted by much objection, making moves and pressing his clock, Lawton’s time went under 5 minutes and he claimed that he now could stop writing since he had met the requirement of Article 8.4.  However, the Arbiter ruled he should first accurately record all moves missed during the time he had ample time to write and while he was infringing that rule.  The opponent’s scoresheet had been provided to help with the process.  The arbiter even offered to read off the moves to him (other games in the room had finished).


Lawton chose to refuse to bring his scoresheet up to date, while not being allowed to continue the game until he had done so.  This ultimately led to him losing the game on time.

Carol Jarecki, IA

Chief Arbiter



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