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Usual suspects poised to advance to quad final

[imagefield_assist|fid=4767|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

Saint Louis, May 19, 2010 – With one round to play before the field splits for the three-round quad finale, four of the top five seeds from the 2010 U.S. Championship have given themselves the best chance of qualifying.

An uneventful draw between the pre-round leaders and two decisive games on boards two and three have landed GM Gata Kamsky, GM Alex Onischuk, GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Yury Shulman atop the tables with 4.5/6. The four players, which comprised 80 percent of the last U.S. Olympiad Team, are all undefeated with three wins and three draws each.

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Moving day in St. Louis; Kamsky and Onischuk driving the U-Haul

[imagefield_assist|fid=4542|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

St. Louis, May 19, 2010 – With a field of seven players jumbled at the top of the tables, only two players managed to continue their winning ways at round five of the 2010 U.S. Championship, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. GM Gata Kamsky and GM Alexander Onischuk, the second and third seeds, both won as White and are all alone at 4/5.

Kamsky had one of the shorter games of the day as he dispatched three-time champion GM Larry Christiansen on the White side of an offbeat Ruy Lopez. Building a huge center with the one-two punch 10. d4 and 11. f4., he preceded the advances with a queen sortie that he called a “gorgeous idea.” Together, the moves gave Kamsky the initiative. Kamsky’s goal was to turn the tables on Christiansen.

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Two more draws

[imagefield_assist|fid=4444|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]Two more games, two more draws, although not for wont of trying! I had white against Gregory Kaidanov in round 3 and drew an interesting game where I sacrificed a piece and then another for good measure!  The second piece was poisoned, so, I was *only* down one piece, and the game was quite complicated, but ended in a fair draw.  After the game, Kaidanov said he completely missed the piece sacrifice and thought I had good compensation.

Actually, I only sacrificed a piece because I was not satisfied with the alternatives.  Round 4 saw an interesting Old Indian against Aleksandr Lenderman.  I was worse in the early middlegame, then my opponent pushed too many pawns too far, and was slightly overextended.  Not liking his position, Lenderman took a page from my book, and sacrificed a piece of his own!

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Logjam at top of leaderboard

[imagefield_assist|fid=4435|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]Saint Louis, May 17, 2010 – With the top four players battling to draws on the top two boards, a trio of other players used the fourth round of the 2010 U.S Championship to draw even.

On board one, GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Alex Onischuk had the quickest game of the day. After a few brief fireworks out of the opening, Onischuk continued his usual solid ways to earn the half point as Black. He has now extended his record U.S. Championship unbeaten streak to 45 games. His only loss was in the 2004/5 event, and Onischuk came in to the tournament with the third highest lifetime win percentage ever, behind Bobby Fischer and Reuben Fine.

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Leaders draw, four-way tie at top

[imagefield_assist|fid=4375|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By FM Mike Klein

St. Louis, May 16, 2010 – GM Gata Kamsky and GM Hikaru Nakamura have met over the board three times, and all three games failed to produce a winner. They battled to a 37-move draw Sunday at the 2010 U.S. Championship, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Their draw last year at the same event was two fewer moves, but both games were hard fought.

Nakamura showed his willingness to fight as Black, playing the uncompromising King’s Indian Defense, which has seen a revival of sorts at the championship. For the second round in a row, two games featured the opening, the other being GM Yury Shulman against GM Alex Shabalov.

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2010 U.S. Champs

[imagefield_assist|fid=5021|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]Hi everyone! I wish my first 2010 U.S. Champ blog post had better news, but, as I said after I drew round 1, "I have more points now than before the round started!" So far, I have 0.5 out of 2, drawing against Var Akobian in round 1 and losing to Alexander Shabalov in round 2. I have white against Gregory Kaidanov tomorrow.

The tournament has featured quite a few decisive results, and thus far, the two main favorites, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky are the only players with 2 out of 2, and Gata will have white against Hikaru in round 3.

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Second round whittles field of perfection down to two

[imagefield_assist|fid=4192|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]St. Louis, May 15, 2010 – Chess fans will not have to wait much longer for the strongest matchup of the 2010 U.S. Championship, as the top two seeds will face each other in round three. Both GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Gata Kamsky, the first and second seeds of the tournament, won again today to push their totals to 2-0. They are the only players with perfect scores, and tomorrow Kamsky will have White.

Nakamura began gaining a useful spatial advantage against recent high-school graduate GM Robert Hess, who was last year’s Cinderella story at the championship. Hess claimed he had no idea what opening to prepare for. In the middlegame, Hess said he felt he could not stand by and allow the White f-pawn to advance.

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2010 Championship sees fighting chess, Krush victory

[imagefield_assist|fid=4165|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The first round of the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, produced an uncharacteristically high number of decisive games, with eight out of 12 games yielding a winner. Normally at top levels of chess a draw rate of more than 50 percent would not be abnormal.

As the tournament began, the Swiss system pairing format pitted the top players against the bottom players. But since the tournament only invites the top rated players and makes open qualification difficult, there are no easy opponents in the 24-player field.

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Lavish ceremony kicks off 2010 U.S. Chess Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=3699|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]SAINT LOUIS, May 14, 2010 – Mayor Francis Slay and Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed helped kick off the opening ceremonies Thursday for the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship at the Old Post Office. For the second year in a row, the country’s chess elite will converge on St. Louis to compete at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis to crown a champion.

“We have 24 of the strongest players in the country here,” announced Tony Rich, director of the chess club. “The next two weeks will truly be a battle.”

The tournament, which first took place in 1888, will have the strongest top players ever. Games will begin at 2:00 p.m. daily and will run for 10 days beginning Friday.

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2010 U.S. Champs: Round One Pairings

[imagefield_assist|fid=3694|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The Opening Ceremony of the 2010 U.S. Championship went off without a hitch, and the most prestigious tournament in the country is about to begin. You can follow all of the action live here at, or visit to hit the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship home page directly.

We will be broadcasting all of the commentary live through the website. Visitors are welcome to attend all rounds of the championship here at the club, and commentary will be provided by GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade.

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