Five Lead in Tulsa
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 15, 2008

Tournament Hall at the start of round 2. Photo Paul Truong

Perfect scores GM Sergey Kudrin and GM Gregory Kaidanov may have drawn on board one, but there was plenty of decisive action in round three of the Frank Berry U.S. Championship.  GMs Yury Shulman and GM Alexander Onischuk won great games on boards 2 and 3. Yury's battle against Gulko featured an unusual combination on move 24:

Position after 24.Nb4

Show Solution

Onischuk's game against Perelshteyn was a theoretical line of the Grunfeld defense (The Russian Variation) which leads to an exciting three pieces vs. queen imbalance. I think this line is supposed to be good for White. 17. Nxc7 was played previously instead of Ra3. If Black had tried to keep the queen with 18...Qc4, White develops his pieces with tempos: b3 Qd4 Ra2! Not sure what White was planning after 18...Qc2, but he has a lot of options, Ne3 and Nb4 both look promising.

GM Julio Becerra had the longest fight of all the leaders, against GM Alexander Yermolinsky. He reached the following interesting position after 27 moves.

Position after 27.Bb4

In the above position, Yermolinsky cannot avoid Becerra's dangerous exchange sacrifice, Rxe7, because Kf8 fails to Nxe5! dxe5 d6. Rad8 also loses to Nxe5.

Frank Berry U.S. Championship

Standings after 3 rounds
1-5. Sergey Kudrin, Julio Becerra, Yury Shulman, Gregory Kaidanov and Alexander Onischuk-2.5

6. Varuzhan Akobian-2
7-17. Josh Friedel, Daniel Ludwig, David Pruess, Jesse Kraai, John Fedorowicz, Alex Yermolinsky, Benjamin Finegold, Eugene Perelshteyn, Alexander Ivanov, Boris Gulko and Alexander Shabalov-1.5
18-21. Larry Kaufman, David Vigorito, Sam Shankland and Dmitry Gurevich-1
22-23. Michael Langer and Dean Ippolito-0.5
24. Sergey Galant -0

Irina Krush. Photo Tom Braunlich

In the Women's competition, Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush may fulfill expectations for a two-horse race. Both have 3/3. Katerine Rohonyan should not be forgotten though- she is close behind with 2.5/3, and is a top "key to success" (i.e- picking her was a good idea) in the fantasy chess competition.

Frank Berry U.S. Women's Championship

Standings after 3 rounds
1-2- Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush-3
3- Katerina Rohonyan-2.5
4-5. Tatev Abrahamyan and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs-2
6-7. Tsagaan Battsetseg and Chouchanik Airapetian-1
8. Esther Epstein-.5
9-10. Courtney Jamison and Iryna Zenyuk-0

Tom Braunlich's mid-torurney report will appear tomorrow. Over the weekend and throughout the end of the tournament, look for photo coverage and live color by Betsy Dynako.