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US Open Holding True, Top Seeds Nicked In Invitationals Print E-mail
By Mike Klein, Chess.com, reporting for US Chess   
August 3, 2015
GM Ramirez chatting with FM Robby Adamson

The titled players in the traditional US Open schedule enjoyed another smooth day in Phoenix yesterday, but Sunday was not funday for the best players of the Denker, Barber and National Girls Invitational Tournament (NGIT).

Let's start with the open event, which ran like clockwork for most of the masters. GM Alejandro Ramirez arrived a few minutes late for the second game in a row. The Costa Rican native now plays for the U.S. but he admitted that sometimes he still operates on "Latin time." With a leisurely time control of 40/120, SD/60 (+5), a few minutes can be gambited without issue for the top-rated player.

He got the killer bishops early and thus moved to 2-0. On board two, FM Seth Homa had his knight forced to exactly where it wanted to go. This compliance cost Black the game right away. Likely the "early" resignation was due to 22...Bxd6 23. Rxd6 and the e5 pawn will fall to Bxe5 while simultaneously opening up discoveries on the queen.

One board farther down, the stage was set for the upset of the round. FM Kostya Kavutskiy's Panno setup was denuded with the tactic 17. Rxc7. But the master built an arc against Kenneth Flood and made a sterling comeback thanks to his own powerful bishops. Here's the close call for the former Lindenwood University chess star:


Moving up to board four was NM Dipro Chakraborty, who played one of the more inventive games so far in Phoenix. Take a look at his position after move 15. How often do you see Black's pawns on h5, g5, f5, e5 and with only one piece developed?!

Watching this game, it wasn't clear if Black was trapping White's queen or checkmating himself:

Overall, 43 players still remain perfect. The lowest-rated of the two-win club is our hero from the first day, nine-year-old Kirk Ghazarian. After taking out a master in round one, he beat an expert yesterday to complete a dream weekend.

The Denker Tournament
The two-a-days began Sunday for the high schoolers. The 46 players had their round two in the afternoon and round three in the evening.

Andrew Tang

As we foreshadowed, this was not a good day to be the top dog. IM Andrew Tang (MN) crushed Tianqi Wang (NC) in round two but gave a half-point to the leaders by drawing FM Alexander Velikanov (WI). The Wisconsin-Minnesota football rivalry, the longest in Division I, awards the Paul Bunyan Axe. Someone should work on an inventive award for the chess version!

Sean Vibbert

The new board one occupant is now FM Sean Vibbert (IN), the pre-tournament three seed (Mika Brattain also ceded one draw). Vibbert got to 3-0 by accepting a bishop and two pawns for a rook against New York representative Joshua Colas. He won the rook back and showed that opposite-colored bishops can be dangerous with the ladies still dancing.

Vibbert will play the only other player on three points, Texan Akshay Malhorta, in round four. That winner will likely have a date with Tang in the evening's round five if he should win his own game. The sixth and final round will take place at noon on Tuesday.

The Barber Tournament
Yesterday's analysis of top-ranked John Michael Burke's white-hot summer of chess actually left out his second-place finish in the US Cadet Championship in late July. So while his current rating of 2538 is already the best in the world under age 14, it could even rise above 2600 if the tournament is rated with a high K-factor.

Could he even qualify for the U.S. Championship based on rating?! That would be quite a spectacle, and perhaps record breaking - the youngest-ever US Championship player was Ray Robson at 12 years old.

Yesterday Burke drew Rhode Island's Ryan Sowa in round three. Overall, there are six players on 2.5/3 chasing a trio of players on 3.0/3: Advait Patel (OK), Jacob Furfine (IL), and Dex Webster (LA).

Patel's Sooners are also winning the battle of the states competition. The Oklahoma contingent has scored 7.5/9 thus far across the three tournaments.

Here's a win from Webster in round two. Again, the bishops rule the day:

National Girls Invitational Tournament
WFM Jennifer Yu, the only girl with a FIDE title in the section (and the only master), also tripped up Sunday. She drew Kaitlyn Yang of California in round two but both still sit on 2.5/3, along with six others. Losing a half-point in a six-round event is almost never fatal to title hopes by itself.

Here's that battle of Yang-Yu (but not Yu Yangyi, that would be something completely different!):

Anupama Rajendra of Wisconsin and Evan Xiang of New Hampshire had perfect scores going into round four, with Xiang prevailing in a positional victory.

Also taking place Sunday was the US Open Scholastic, won by Manu Reddy.

To follow the standings of all events, click here. To register for the four or six-day sections, or for general information, click here. To follow the games live via Monroi, click here.