|US Champs Round One: Upsets and Stellar Games by Top Two|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|May 8, 2009|
The first round of the 2009 U.S. Championship (Saint Louis, May 8-17) saw upsets by GM-elect Robert Hess and U.S. Junior Champion Tyler Hughes over GMs Larry Christiansen and GM Boris Gulko. Hughes' win was particuarly remarkable because Tyler is the lowest rated player in the field. Tyler sacrificed a pawn with 26...Nd7 because 27.Rxb7 Ne5 28. Rxe7 and Black must recapture with Rxe7 because Nxc4 loses to Rxe8+ Bf8 Rg4+ Kh7 Rxf8. He got a lot of compensation for the pawn, but the final blow was 39...Qxg4! simplifying into a totally won endgame. |
Check out round two pairings here which features two Olympiad members Kamsky and Akobian on board one and Nakamura vs.Ehlvest on board two. Tune in for the live coverage tomorrow on uschesschamps.com or the Internet Chess Club. Tomorrow, the DGT boards that failed mid-game, will be supplemented by a manually entered Monroi backup. Download the entire pgn file here or play through all of the games on our interactive java chess viewer here. (Click here for help with Java or the chess viewer.)
Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky both won very convincing games against Alexander Shabalov and Ildar Ibragimov, respectively.
Many of the spectators and me and Emil Sutovsky in the commentary room, thought Kamsky was in control in a Grunfeld-like English against Ibragimov. However, Ildar and Gata both thought White had the opening edge.
Many favorites prevailed, including GM Julio Becerra, who put the squeeze on IM Ray Robson and finished off with a classic knight fork tactic.
GM Yury Shulman was happy to pick the white wine from the opening ceremony--"He is a White player" according to GM Emil Sutovsky, meaning that he has a particularly strong style with the white pieces.
Speaking of the opening ceremony, here are the photos from the event, held at the Saint Louis Museum of Art. Luckily for the hundreds of attendees, the rain began just minutes after the ceremony concluded. Also see a full set of photos by official U.S. Championship photographer Betsy Dynako from round 1.