Contact: John Henderson
SHULMAN AND AKOBIAN MAKE THEIR MOVE FOR TITLE
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.
Akobian, 25, who was the subject of MTV's Real Life documentary series last year, was the first to make his move for the title and the $135,000 prize fund with his third successive win. He easily outplayed Jaan Ehlvest, of Baltimore, in round five of the championship. Shulman joined Akobian at the top of the leader board with points by capitalizing on an error from the Josh Friedel of New York near the end of their game.
Akobian and Shulman were only able to take the joint lead after a clash of the titans between top-seeded New York grandmasters Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw. In that game, No. 1 seed Kamsky looked to be better throughout, but his young rival proved resourceful as he saved the game and a valuable half point.
Kamsky and Nakamura each were a half point behind the leaders with 3.5 points, along with Alexander Onischuk, of Baltimore, and Robert Hess, 17, of New York.
The nine-round championship concludes Sunday.
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis opened in July 2008, and has over 500 members. The club also will host the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship from October 2-12.