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2010 Chicago Open Report -- Round 1

[imagefield_assist|fid=5430|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]After the long arduous tournament that was the 2010 U.S. Championship, there is no rest for the Resident GM! Executive Director Tony Rich and I have gone to Wheeling, Ill., for the 2010 Chicago Open. The turnout is amazing, and I expect over 700 players this year. The Open section, which started Thursday, has over 140 players and is nine rounds this year to allow for norms! There are over 20 GMs, and I was #15 on the wallchart in the first round. 

There are many foreign players this year, and leading the field by rating are GMs Michael Adams, Evgeny Najer, Daniel Fridman (husband of 2009 U.S. Women's Champ Anna Zatonskih), Loek van Wely, Victor Mikhalevsky, Timor Gareev, and Var Akobian.

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Kamsky defeats Shulman to win U.S. Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=5291|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS, MAY 25, 2010 – Within only seconds remaining on his clock, GM Gata Kamsky simplified the endgame against GM Yury Shulman to clinch a draw and with it the title of 2010 U.S. Champion. He last won the title in his teenage years in 1991.

Kamsky won with a draw because of the unique tiebreak format, which saw the players bid on a starting time for today’s rapid game. His secret bid of 25 minutes was lower than Shulman’s bid, so Kamsky got 25 minutes to his opponent’s 60, but with Black and draw odds.

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Tie-breaker to decide 2010 Champion

[imagefield_assist|fid=5039|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

Saint Louis – After a draw between GM Yury Shulman and GM Gata Kamsky today, the 2010 U.S. Championship will be decided by a tiebreaker. Shulman and Kamsky will play again toaday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. They have each earned $25,000 for being tied so far.

The game featured a battle of preparation. Both men were familiar with the variations arising from the Grunfeld Defense, but even so Kamsky played much more quickly. For the second game in a row, Shulman said he had studied the position, but struggled to remember his analysis. Shulman said he last looked at the variations from the game 15 years ago.

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Long draws and a tie for third

[imagefield_assist|fid=5037|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]The suffering has ended! No more preparation 24 hours a day! I feel relief as I finish with +1 in the strongest event I have ever played in my 35 years as a chess player. I was paired up seven times, and paired "down" to "Yermo" and Altounian. My score of +1 is my best result, performance rating wise, in any U.S. Championship, and earned me my first GM norm since becoming a GM last year! In the "B" group, I tied for third place, as Alex Shabalov was on fire at the end, and scored +3 to win our section.

Alex Stripunsky was clear second, as he showed his wild card selection was no fluke with a +2 score which included only 1 draw! After blowing two winning positions in rounds 7 and 8, it was my turn to be fortuitous ("that means lucky"...."yeah, I know what it means....") as Larry Christiansen had me on the ropes from moves 35-50, but missed the likely winning maneuver, Re8+ - Rf8 more than once.

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Shulman, Kamsky battle for Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=5027|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS, May 23, 2010 – Twenty-four players came to the 2010 U.S. Championship with a dream. After nine rounds, all but two players have woken up.

In the most dramatic and meaningful round so far, GM Yury Shulman upset defending champion GM Hikaru Nakamura on board one. On board two, GM Gata Kamsky dug out of a hole, and after his draw offer was refused, he delivered GM Alex Onischuk his first loss in nearly five years of U.S. Championship appearances.

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Chess Fair at the Saint Louis Science Center

[imagefield_assist|fid=5022|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]SAINT LOUIS, May 23, 2010 -- Twelve schools from the Saint Louis area will converge upon the Saint Louis Science Center for a Chess Fair, put on by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL). Competitors from the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship, including the soon-to-be-crowned 2010 U.S. Champion, will showcase their skills and host fun and informative booths and exhibits to raise the interest and awareness of chess in the area.

The event will take place on Tuesday, May 25, during the players' community outreach day from noon to 5 p.m., and is open to members of the public.

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Top boards draw at 2010 U.S. Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=5016|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS, May 22, 2010 – The top four players at the 2010 U.S. Championship have been battling for eight games, and for all practical purposes, they are right back where they started. After drawing amongst themselves today, the quad finals move on to round nine with the quartet all tied with 5.5/8. All are due one turn as White and one as Black in the final two games. 

The top two seeds, GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Gata Kamsky, met for the second round in the tournament, though with colors reversed this time. Nakamura had a promising initiative, but then Kamsky turned the tables on the attacking player by offering several pawns to gather a piece storm near Nakamura’s king.

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Saint Louis GMs wage war in the street

[imagefield_assist|fid=4861|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS, May 21, 2010 – The corner of Maryland and Euclid in the Central West End was closed Friday afternoon to traffic but open to chess players. Under the direction of the city’s two grandmasters, 32 chess aficionados donned white and black gowns and carried staffs of individual chess pieces across a giant chessboard laid across the street.

The event was held on the rest day of the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship, held adjacently at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. By organizing a “human chess match,” the club’s directors hoped to attract attention not just to the tournament, but to the ongoing educational programs throughout the city.

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Cream of the crop for quad final

[imagefield_assist|fid=5020|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

Saint Louis – Four players have survived and advanced to the quad finals of the 2010 U.S. Championship, but the results of round seven do not tell the full story. Though a casual glance will show that the top three boards ended in draws, the uncompromising play brought the tournament to within a whisker of a large tiebreaker for the four-player round robin.

Board one was the first to finish, but the relatively peaceful draw between GM Yury Shulman and GM Alex Onischuk that qualified both for the quad did little to portend the action on the next two boards. “I had a little advantage, typical for a Queen’s Gambit Declined,” Shulman said.

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Benjamin wins --- Benjamin loses

[imagefield_assist|fid=4774|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]Thursday May 19, 2010: Round five

I finally won a game, and it was not bad. I was white against ICC online qualifier Levon Altounian. I was slightly better for most of the game, and Levon capitulated with time trouble looming.

The tournament is going into round 6 with a lot of excitement, and at least 10 players are still in the hunt to try to qualify for the final Quad. I am guessing the four players will have +4 and +3 who make the final quad, and, at the moment, there is a two way tie for first with Kamsky and Onischuk, who are both playing great chess! The big surprise is Jesse Kraai, who won with black against Jaan Ehlvest. Jesse has 3.5 and is tied for third. Jesse gets black once again, against his biggest challenge of the event, defending Champion Hikaru Nakamura.

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