Monday, May 24, 2010

2010 U.S. Chess Championship

I am REALLY bummed that Irina Krush was not able to convert to a win in her final game with the white pieces against GM Jesse Kraai, taking nothing away from the GM.  Damn!  She needed half a point.  Half a fricking lousy point. 

Event "2010 US Championship"]
[Site "St Louis"]
[Date "2010.05.23"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Krush, Irina"]
[Black "Kraai, Jesse"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteELO "2494"]
[WhiteTitle "IM"]
[BlackELO "2560"]
[BlackTitle "GM"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1.c4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.a3 Nf6 4.d5 e6 5.Nc3 Bd6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.g3 c6 8.Bg2 cxd5 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.b4 Qf6 12.Ra2 Nc6 13.O-O a5 14.b5 Ne7 15.Bb2 Qh6 16.a4 Rac8 17.Bd4 Rc4 18.Ne5 Bxe5 19.Bxe5 Rfc8 20.Qd3 Rc1 21.Bf4 Rxf1 22.Bxf1 Qe6 23.Rc2 Rc4 24.e3 Ng6 25.Qd1 Nxf4 26.exf4 Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Qd6 28.Bg2 Qc5 29.Qd1 Kf8 30.h4 d6 31.Qd3 Kg8 32.Qe2 Kf8 33.Qd3 Kg8 34.Qf5 Qc1 35.Kh2 Qc8 36.Qg5 Qe8 37.f5 h6 38.Qc1 Qc8 39.Qf4 Qd8 40.Qd4 Kf8 41.Kg1 f6 42.Bxd5 Bxd5 43.Qxd5 Qc7 44.Qa8 Kf7 45.Qd5 Kf8 46.Qa8 Kf7 47.Qd5 1/2-1/2

So, the also-rans finished up their tournament yesterday, except for those who may be playing in the blitz tournament. Here are the standings and their prize money:

5 GM Shabalov, Alexander 6.0 M 2585 2688 $10,000
6 GM Stripunsky, Alexander 5.5 M 2570 2642 $7,500
7 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 5.0 M 2599 2617 $6,600
8 GM Hess, Robert L 5.0 M 2590 2595 $6,000
9 GM Christiansen, Larry 5.0 M 2578 2639 $5,400
10 GM Finegold, Benjamin 5.0 M 2539 2607 $5,000
11 GM Yermolinsky, Alex 5.0 M 2528 2612 $4,800
12 GM Kaidanov, Gregory 4.5 M 2577 2551 $4,600
13 GM Benjamin, Joel 4.5 M 2565 2553 $4,400
14 GM Kraai, Jesse 4.5 M 2492 2575 $4,200
15 IM Krush, Irina 4.5 F 2455 2575 $4,000
16 GM Ehlvest, Jaan 4.0 M 2591 2503 $3,800
17 GM Robson, Ray 4.0 M 2569 2511 $3,700
18 GM Lenderman, Alex 3.5 M 2598 2447 $3,600
19 GM Bhat, Vinay S 3.5 M 2547 2463 $3,500
20 GM Khachiyan, Melikset 3.5 M 2539 2496 $3,400
21 IM Altounian, Levon 3.5 M 2454 2474 $3,300
22 GM Kudrin, Sergey 2.5 M 2571 2385 $3,200
23 IM Shankland, Samuel 2.5 M 2507 2381 $3,100
24 GM Gurevich, Dmitry 2.5 M 2488 2382 $3,000

All in all, Krush had a great tournament.  It's too bad there are not more opportunities for players of her level to make GM norms in events in the United States. 

Besides the fight for 5th place and Krush's quest for her second GM norm, the big story of Round 9 was GM Yuri Shulman's defeat of GM Hikaru Nakamura.  Yeah yeah, I know, poetic justice and all that after Nakamura was honest enough to say in an earlier post-mortem with Shahade and Ashley that he, Onischuk and Kamsky were going to beat up on Shulman (the "I can't get no respect" 2008 U.S. Champion) in the quad.  Duh!  Of course they would, if they could!  I mean, it's an obvious strategy.  Single out and get rid of the weakest player.  But in the quad since they couldn't get rid of him, keeping him in 4th would do as well, and the top 2700 plus players would battle it out for the top money and title.

Shulman's "defining move" - 24. ... Rxg5 - what can I say.  Well, I will say this.  I know you won't believe me, but it's exactly the move I made in my head.  Not, of course, for the same reasons Shulman made the move - but what the hell!  LOL!  For one shining moment afterwards I saw in giant uber-lit rhinestones flashing above my head PLAYED LIKE A GRANDMASTER"  as Shahade and Ashley went through endless analyses of the move while the videocam in the playing room which was focused right in on Nakamura told the true tale of an overlooked move.  Oh, how well I know that feeling.  And it was much easier to feel sympathy for a Nakamura with that gunky-looking smut shaved off his face and his hair cropped into submission.  He is a nice-looking young dude when he cleans himself up.  Why do so many of the male players these days go for the gutter grunge oh puke on me look? 

Today's quad action was quiet - both games ended in draws.  That means tomorrow, Shulman and Kamsky go into a play-off to determine the title.  I think the format for the play-off sucks but hey, I know nuthink!  The players "bid" minutes for black and draw odds?  Fine - but then the "losing" player gets a full 60 minutes on his clock with the white pieces?  Oh please.  This is rational?  Come on, dudes.  GM Ashley had it right when he said Shulman would basically be insane to "bid" less than 30 minutes - and I think he would be insane bidding less than 59 minutes.

So - tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow...

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