Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pivotal Matchups Loom in Round 8 of U.S. Championships


Pivotal Matchups Loom in Round 8 of U.S. Championships
By FM Mike Klein

SAINT LOUIS (May 10, 2013) -- Despite missing a startling tactic, a shaken GM Gata Kamsky collected himself to hold a draw against the much lower-rated GM Alejandro Ramirez in round seven of the 2013 U.S. Championship. The oversight cost him any chance to expand his central majority to fight for the win, but since GM Alex Onischuk could also only draw, Kamsky retained his half-point lead over both Ramirez and Onischuk.

“I had a lot of problems preparing for this game because all of the lines I play, Kamsky plays as black,” Ramirez explained. His work with former teammate GM Cristian Chirila convinced him that 1…e5 “is the best chance to equalize.” Ramirez said in his last game against Kamsky, he was “massacred” when he played the Sicilian Defense. “There’s the French, but I saw what he did against [GM Alex] Shabalov in round one,” Ramirez said. A double king-pawn opening was all that was left. “We’re old people. We need to start playing the Spanish before we die,” the 23-year-old said.

After facing the prospect of defending a worse ending, Ramirez found a stunning shot that immediately turned the initiative. “My position’s crumbling but he missed this …Bh3 move,” an ebullient Ramirez said. “I was just trying not to get crushed.”

[Event "US Chess Championships"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2013.05.10"]
[EventDate "2013.05.03"]
[Round "7"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "G Kamsky"]
[Black "Alej Ramirez"]
[ECO "C84"]
[WhiteElo "2741"]
[BlackElo "2551"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 Bd7 9. h3 O-O 10. Be3 Na5 11. Ba2 bxa4 12. Nc3 Rb8 13. Bc1 c5 14. Nd2 Rb4 15. Kh1 Qc8 16. Nd5 Nxd5 17. Bxd5 Bg5 18. b3 axb3 19. Rxa5 b2 20. Bxb2 Bxd2 21. Bxe5 dxe5 22. Qxd2 Bxh3 23. Qe3 Bd7 24. Qxc5 Rb5 25. Qxc8 Rxc8 26. Rxa6 Rxc2 27. f4 exf4 28. Rxf4 g5 29. Bxf7+ Kg7 30. Rf1 Bh3 31. Ra7 Bxg2+ 32. Kg1 Bxf1 33. Bb3+ Kg6 34. Bxc2 Rb2 35. Ra6+ Kf7 36. Ra7+ 1/2-1/2

“Bh3 – wow! That’s not okay,” Kamsky said. “After that I was just trying not to lose. It was not a very pleasant moment.” After initially shaking his head and closing his eyes for a few minutes, Kamsky returned to the task at hand, and found a line that equalized. “He’s not this expressive usually,” Ramirez said.

In the 2013 U.S. Women’s Championship, leader IM Irina Krush also found herself in difficulties, at least that was her perception of the game. In mutual time pressure with WIM Viktorija Ni, Krush pulled out her sixth win in seven games to protect her lead. “I was kind of outplayed,” Krush said, despite analysis showing she was never glaringly worse. “I was just trying to keep my position together. I only allow one game per tournament like this.” Krush’s biggest oversight was the one-two punch 29. Bxe5! dxe5 30. Qxa7!, undermining black’s back rank.

[Event "US Chess Championships (Women)"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2013.05.10"]
[EventDate "2013.05.03"]
[Round "7"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "I Krush"]
[Black "V Ni"]
[ECO "A17"]
[WhiteElo "2470"]
[BlackElo "2262"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3 b6 7. e3 Bb7 8. b3 d6 9. Bb2 Nbd7 10. Be2 Nc5 11. d4 Nce4 12. Qc2 c5 13. O-O Rc8 14. Rad1 Qe7 15. dxc5 Rxc5 16. b4 Rcc8 17. Qb3 Rfd8 18. Bd4 e5 19. Bb2 Qe6 20. Rc1 b5 21. Qd3 bxc4 22. Rxc4 Bd5 23. Rcc1 Rb8 24. Qa6 Rb7 25. h3 Qe7 26. Rfd1 Bb3 27. Rd3 Rb6 28. Qa5 Be6 29. Nd2 h6 30. Nf1 Ne8 31. f3 Nc5 32. bxc5 Rxb2 33. Nd2 Rdb8 34. cxd6 Nxd6 35. Qxe5 R8b6 36. Bf1 R2b5 37. Qc3 Qg5 38. Rxd6 Rxd6 39. Ne4 Qd5 40. Bxb5 Rb6 41. Bc4 1-0


“Sometimes it’s harder for me to play the lower-rated players, the people that aren'’t in the running to win the tournament,” Krush said. “I have everything to lose. It makes me nervous – you know you need to win today. It’s part of the script.”

The leaders of both events will have their biggest matches of the event tomorrow. Kamsky will take black against second-seeded GM Timur Gareev, who can attack with the best of them (his blistering formation today ended GM Ray Robson’s three-game winning streak in round seven). Krush will also take black. She gets WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, and a win would clinch the tournament with one round to go.

Onischuk had his hands full with collegiate GM Conrad Holt, who continues to outperform his rating expectations. “So far it was my toughest game,” Onischuk said. He was impressed at how calm Holt remains at the board. “I thought I was just losing. If I don’t have 26…Qh4 I think I am just lost.” Later, he nearly panicked when he saw the possible variation 30…b4 31. gxh6 bxc3 32. h7+! When black is basically mated. “Once I saw h7+, I realized I had to sacrifice the exchange.”

[Event "US Chess Championships"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2013.05.10"]
[EventDate "2013.05.03"]
[Round "7"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "C Holt"]
[Black "Al Onischuk"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2513"]
[BlackElo "2666"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. e5 Ne4 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nf3 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nd7 10. Bf4 Ndc5 11. O-O Nxd3 12. Qxd3 Bxc3 13. bxc3 b6 14. cxd5 exd5 15. Rad1 Qd7 16. Rfe1 Qa4 17. f3 Nc5 18. Qd2 Bd7 19. h4 Rac8 20. h5 Ne6 21. Be3 Qa3 22. Rc1 Nxd4 23. Bxd4 h6 24. g4 Qe7 25. Re2 Rc4 26. Rg2 Qh4 27. Rf1 Rfc8 28. Rff2 b5 29. e6 Bxe6 30. g5 Rxd4 31. cxd4 hxg5 32. Rxg5 Bh3 33. Rxd5 Qg3+ 34. Kh1 Rc1+ 35. Qxc1 Qxf2 36. Rd8+ Kh7 37. Qb1+ f5 38. Qg1 Qxf3+ 39. Kh2 Qe2+ 40. Kg3 Bg4 41. Qf2 Qd3+ 42. Kh2 Qh3+ 43. Kg1 Bxh5 44. Rf8 Qg4+ 45. Kh2 Bf7 46. a3 Qh3+ 47. Kg1 Qg4+ 48. Kh2 Qh5+ 49. Kg1 Qg4+ 50. Kh2 Qh5+ 51. Kg1 Qg4+ 1/2-1/2

“I feel good,” the occasional triathlete Onischuk said. “I am in good shape. These last two games will decide who will be the winner. Everybody is a little bit tired now.”

Chess fans have been waiting for Gareev to make his move in the tournament, and he finally did today. Playing in his first U.S. Championship, Gareev said today he used the analysis of a “very strong computer” to assist in beating the streaky Robson. The first 11 moves were in his preparation. Gareev said if 11…e6, “I was planning on Rxh7, which I prepared, and I don’t think he has very good chances to resolve his issues. The computer shows advantage for black but it’s really complicated.”


[Event "US Chess Championships"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2013.05.10"]
[EventDate "2013.05.03"]
[Round "7"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "T Gareev"]
[Black "R Robson"]
[ECO "D90"]
[WhiteElo "2674"]
[BlackElo "2620"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. h4 dxc4 6. e4 c5 7. d5 b5 8. h5 O-O 9. hxg6 fxg6 10. e5 Ng4 11. d6 Bb7 12. Bg5 Nc6 13. dxe7 Qxd1+ 14. Rxd1 Rf5 15. Nxb5 Ngxe5 16. Nd6 Nxf3+ 17. gxf3 Re5+ 18. Be3 Ba6 19. e8=Q+ Raxe8 20. Nxe8 Rxe8 21. Rd6 Bb5 22. a4 Bxa4 23. Bxc4+ Kh8 24. Bf7 Rb8 25. Bxg6 Rxb2 26. Bxh7 Bb5 27. Bd3+ Kg8 28. Bxc5 Ne5 29. Bxb5 Nxf3+ 30. Kf1 Rxb5 31. Rd8+ Kf7 32. Bxa7 Bf6 33. Rd1 Kg6 34. Be3 Rb2 35. Rh6+ Kf5 36. Kg2 Nh4+ 37. Kh3 Ng6 38. Rd5+ Ne5 39. Rxf6+ Kxf6 40. Bd4 Re2 41. Rxe5 Rd2 42. Bc3 Rc2 43. Re3+ 1-0

The victory inches Gareev closer; he is now within one game of Kamsky. The two will meet tomorrow, and Gareev gets white again. “I’ve got to win some games to get to the top,” Gareev said. “I didn’t pursue that dream of winning but now maybe I will. We’re going to have a nice long game. He won’t be all that ecstatic about pursuing a quick draw either.” No matter the results tomorrow, there is no possible calculation for Kamsky to clinch first place in round eight.

Ramirez gets white against Onischuk on board two. Should either of them win, and Kamsky draws, they will be tied with the top-seed going into the last round. Also very much alive are GMs Joel Benjamin and Holt. Benjamin dampened the heroism of FM John Bryant today by winning despite ceding the bishop pair. Players with four points – GMs Larry Christiansen, Sam Shankland and Alex Shabalov (all of whom won today) – are just barely still in the hunt, if only mathematically. Neither Christiansen nor Shabalov have yet to draw a game in the 2013 Championship.


More here: www.uschesschamps.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kamsky has this one.