Five Lead in Saint Louis
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 12, 2009
GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Josh Friedel, Gata Kamsky, Yury Shulman and Varuzhan Akobian are all tied for the lead in the 2009 U.S. Championship with 3/4. The event, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis runs from May 7 to May 17.

Akobian won a very nice game against GM Julio Becerra, which you'll find out more about in the round four video recap with me and Macauley Peterson.


But the fight of the round was GM Josh Friedel's tough defense against GM Gata Kamsky. Despite coming out of the opening with a big disadvantage, Josh held on and found some nice simplifying tactics in the endgame like Kc5 and Ne1. Even GM Alexander Onischuk, watching from the VIP room, called Josh's technique top-notch, which IM Sam Shankland pointed out, "means a lot coming from Onischuk."  


This is Josh's fourth straight marathon game. Tomorrow he plays defending champion GM Yury Shulman with white. In round five, we will also see the much awaited match-up on board one- Nakamura vs. Kamsky.  Check out the round five pairings here. Click here to Download pgn for all games from round 4. All games available for replay within the Monroi viewer on the Live Coverage page.

Shulman and Nakamura was also a hard-fought draw, with Shulman achieving a fine opening but losing a pawn and then struggling for the half point.


The young players also continue to impress. Hess drew against Onischuk with Black, while Sam Shankland prevailed over IM Enrico Sevillano and Ray Robson beat Ildar Ibragimov.