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Shulman and Akobian Lead after Five Rounds Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 12, 2009
GMs Josh Friedel and Yury Shulman, Photo Betsy Dynako

After five rounds of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship (Saint Louis, May 7-17) , GMs Yury Shulman and Varuzhan Akobian lead with 4/5. They are used to facing each other- they played a rapid/blitz match in Northern California just a few weeks before, which Akobian won convincingly. See round six pairings here, and  Play through all of the games on our interactive java chess viewer here. 

U.S. Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih, who is feeling much better, said Kamsky-Nakamura was likely to be "the game of the tournament." Indeed, it started out by fulfilling all expectations for excitement with an English transposition into the exciting Qb3 Russian Variation against the Grunfeld Defense. Kamsky, playing Black, seemed to be much better through the opening and middlegame, but Hikaru had his chances too, and the game finally ended in a fair and well-fought draw.


In the other match-up between leaders ,GM Josh Friedel surprised GM Yury Shulman in the opening with 15.Qd6, but then misplayed,got into a worse endgame, and made a final mistake with Re7, allowing Rg2+ and Rxg4.


GM Varuzhan Akobian, Photo Betsy Dynako

GM Varuzhan Akobian was happy to accept GM Jaan Ehlvest's pawn sacrifice against the French and managed to diffuse the queen sack with counter-sacks.


GM Robert Hess continues to rebound from his loss against Hikaru Nakamura, and won today against GM Melikset Khachiyan in a Keres Sicilian. He's now just half a point behind the leaders and faces Gata Kamsky in round six.


Follow my commentary with GM Emil Sutovsky on uschesschamps.com or chess.fm and see the full gallery of videos below, or at this link.