Photo Betsy Dynako
by Jennifer Shahade
On Thursday, in round six of the merged U.S. Open*, two perfect scores emerged, one a major surprise. Benjamin Finegold coming from the hectic five-day defeated Justin Sarkar, the only perfect score from the six-day. The real shocker was Zambian-American Amon Simutowe's victory over top seed GM Hikaru Nakamura (We wrote about the earlier part of Amon's tournament in a previous report):
After 26.Rc7, White is winning because Rxb7 and Rxg7 are equally devastating threats. Hikaru needed to offer a queen of trades with 25...Qd4.
Finegold's 34.Bc5! is a pretty finishing move. If Kh7 Re8+ followed by Bd4 wins so Black was forced to go for unfavorable complications with 34...Nf4.
U.S. Open (Cherry Hill,NJ) July 28-August 5
Standings after six rounds
1-2- Amon Simutowe and Benjamin Finegold- 6/6
3-5- Alisa Melekhina, Boris Gulko and Sergey Kudrin- 5.5/6
6-20- Tegshuren Enkhbat, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Shabalov, Michael Rohde, Alex Lenderman, Dean Ippolito, Justin Sarkar, Mackenzie Molner, Elliott Liu, Bill Carlton, Evan Ju, Eric Rodriguez, Justin Papariella, Solomon Beilin- 5/6
Latest Complete U.S. Open Standings
Alisa's Poetic Justice
According to MSA, Alisa broke 2200 after the U.S. Women's Championship. She is certainly playing like a master in Cherry Hill. In the fifth round of the six-day, she defeated Braden Bournival. The 16-year-old Philadelphia resident may not have known it, but her win was particularly satisfying to many CLO fans, because of a series of comments Braden made during the U.S. Women's Championship. He wrote: "They might as well just flip a coin to decide who is going to win each game, because when women play chess the results are completely random." Braden also said that with the exception of Irina Krush, he would, "be glad to bet a large sum of money on myself in a match against any of them." Scroll down and look through comments to see the debate in full.
Anyway, enough making fun of Braden. It is tough to lose a rook and pawn endgame that was drawn for much of the game, not to mention that Braden was winning with the simple 69...Kf3 instead of 69...g2??
Alisa followed this up with a win over Senior Master Thomas Bartell. She now has 5.5/6:
*The small Quick schedule does not merge until tomorrow. But it significant because two GMs, Boris Gulko and Michael Rohde, are playing in it.