Hess, Shulman and Kamsky Lead in Saint Louis
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 10, 2009
After two rounds of the U.S. Championship (Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, May 8-17), Gata Kamsky, Robert Hess and Yury Shulman lead with 2-0. See round three pairings here. Watch live coverage tomorrow at 3 PM EST on uschesschamps.com or the Internet Chess Club. Also follow the twitter feed and play through all of the games on our interactive java chess viewer here. (Click here for help with Java or the chess viewer.)

Two key boards for round three should be Shulman vs. Kamsky on board one and Nakamura vs. Hess on board two. 

In round two, Gata Kamsky crushed Varuzhan Akobian in a Rubinstein French. In the commentary room, Gata's second GM Emil Sutovsky seemed to be just as proud as Gata over the victory- clearly, good preparation was involved, but Gata was also happy with his Bf4 and Re1 plan.



Defending champion GM Yury Shulman also took out GM Melikset Khachiyan on the black side of a French.



Hikaru Nakamura's positional queen sack against GM Jaan Ehlvest thrilled the crowd, but the game petered out to a draw relatively quickly.



In the revelation of the tournament so far, GM-elect Robert Hess is continuing the streak that gave him his final two norms in quick succession. His game against Becerra seemed to be heading toward a draw, but Hess set-up a surprising mating net.



IM Ray Robson also got GM Boris Gulko's king in a net on the White side of a Richter-Rauzer Sicilian.



GM Josh Friedel was on better with white in his second Ruy Lopez in a row, but unlike Onischuk in round one, Kaidanov was not able to hold it.



Other fascinating games included Joel Benjamin's wild comeback over IM Irina Krush and local hero Michael Brooks' win over four-time U.S. Champ GM Alexander Shabalov. Look for more on those games in the round two daily video recap.

Here is my round one recap with Macauley Peterson of chess.fm.