USCF Home arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2007 arrow May arrow Shabalov and Onischuk Share Lead
Shabalov and Onischuk Share Lead Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 21, 2007
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Shabalov has been dethroned from board one. Alexander Onischuk defeated Hikaru Nakamura with black to join Shabalov in the lead. Onischuk, the defending champion, is higher rated and will be playing Sergei Kudrin tommorow on board one with Black. Onischuk's game with Nakamura was crucial because after Shabalov's round six mishap either player could make a serious run for first place. Interestingly, Onishuck and Nakamura are both the two highest rated players in the event and the only to choose to stay outside the motel adjacent to the playing hall, the Quality Inn.

I know that there have been internet horror stories circulating about the Quality Inn. You won't get pay-per-view movies or room service here, it's true. You may find a bug on your doorknob, a broken coffeemaker and rusty hangers. But the hotel staff is very friendly, the Berrys and other locals have been great about escorting players to excellent area restaraunts. and most players seem to be in high spirits. Still there is a lingering sadness in the air from the loss of prestige that went along with the loss of the American Foundation for Chess's sponsorship. In fact, many of the top players were unsure whether or not they would accept their invitations. Onishuck was among the undecided, but he came to defend his title. The presence of the defending champion adds integrity to the event, and if he wins again, he'll be the first since Lev Alburt (1984 and 1985 champion) to win back to back U.S. champ titles:



The risky looking Qe7 and 0-0-0 plan turned out beautifully for Black. 18.Bg5 gives Black winning compensation after Qe5 Bxd8 Bd6. After forcing a trade of queens with Qc5, Onischuk stayed on top with g5! ( g5 can't help but remind fans of b4 from the game before.) White would be OK if he on move 32, he could figure out a way to defend c2 against the menacing idea of Rc5. But Rd1 Rc5 Rd2 loses to d3 and 32.b4 d3 33.cd3 Rd3 creates new but equally troubling problems.

Kudrin climbed to clear third place with a win against Ildar Ibragimov. Kudrin had a better position when Ildar blundered with Rb1, allowing Ne2-c3.



Wildcard player Michael Langer from Austin, Texas continues to impress, this round with a win over Bryan Smith.



Photo Gallery
Photos by Jennifer Shahade unless otherwise noted.
Twelve-year-old Ray Robson is the leading "Key to success" in the fantasy chess competition.


Hanging out at the Stillwater Laundromat: David Pruess and Irina Krush

 
Alexander Stripunsky and Hikaru Nakamura



In round seven, Jaan Ehlvest drew on the black side of the Poisoned Pawn Najdorf against Alexander Shabalov.
Robert Hess, Irina Krush and Jay Bonin unwind after a game. Photo courtesy Irina Krush.
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Hikaru Nakamura

 

Round 8 Pairings

Bd White Player Name
Black Player Name
1 GM SERGEY KUDRIN   GM ALEX ONISCHUK
2 GM BORIS GULKO   GM ALEX SHABALOV
3 GM GREG KAIDANOV   GM ALEX IVANOV
4 GM JULIO BECERRA   GM JAAN EHLVEST
5 GM EUGENE PERELSHTEYN   GM YURY SHULMAN
6 GM DMITRY GUREVICH   GM HIKARU NAKAMURA
7 GM MELIK KHACHIYAN   GM ILDAR IBRAGIMOV
8 GM ALEX STRIPUNSKY   FM MICHAEL LANGER
9 FM RAY ROBSON   GM VARUZHAN AKOBIAN
10 GM ALEX YERMOLINSKY   IM IRINA KRUSH
11 IM ENRICO SEVILLANO   IM MICHAEL MULYAR
12 IM JOSHUA FRIEDEL   FM ROBERT HESS
13 FM JOE BRADFORD   IM JAY BONIN
14 GM WALTER BROWNE   IM DAVID PRUESS
15 IM RON BURNETT   FM MOVSES MOVSISYAN
16 WFM CHOUCH AIRAPETIAN   IM JUSTIN SARKAR
17 IM BRYAN SMITH   TOM BRAUNLICH
18 WFM IRYNA ZENYUK   MICHAEL AIGNER

Standings after Round 7

1-2-5.5/7 Alexander Onischuk and Alexander Shabalov
3- 5/7- Sergey Kudrin
4-10- Gregory Kaidanov, Jaan Ehlvest, Alexander Ivanov, Eugene Perelshtyen, Yury Shulman, Julio Becerra, Boris Gulko.

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