The US Men’s and Women Championship is by far the most prestigious and honorable tournament in the United States. What makes it even more enticing is that it is held at the storied St. Louis Chess Club, where everything appears just perfect. This year’s men’s event is a Round Robin, unlike last year’s which fielded 24 players, with the players average rating of a hefty ~2610. The tournament is spearheaded by the rating favorite and four times champion, GM Gata Kamsky, with a 2713 (!) FIDE. Some of my friends (the friendship is one-way at least 🙂 ) that I’ll be rooting for are GMs Robson, Naroditsky, Akobian and Lenderman.
Three rounds have occurred, and Lenderman is in sole lead with an incredible 2.5/3, while Robson and Gareev follow closely behind with 2/3. Remarkably, there have been only four decisive games (two are a courtesy of GM Lenderman 🙂 ) with the other 14 ending in draws. Now that nobody can score a perfect 11-0 in both the Men’s and Women’s Section, the bonus $64,000 Fischer prize is unattainable for this year’s event, and Bobby Fischer doesn’t have to worry this year. He truly was peerless and remains so. Btw, in case some of you might not understand Bobby Fischer’s reference, he is the only person to have scored a perfect 11-0 at a US Championship. He accomplished his feat in 1964, and it has remained one of the best individual performances ever at a US championship. The award is to commemorate Fischer’s achievement and it’s my belief the amount was worked out at $1,000 per square for a total of $64,000. Or I believe it commemorates the year ’64 when Fischer won the round.
Here’s an interesting battle Ray played against GM Erenburg in the first round:
GM Ray Robson, off to great start with 2/3. (All photos courtesy of http://www.uschesschamps.com/2014-us-championship-player-bios)
For some reason, the PGN on the official site for the R1 games is really the R2 games. So I can’t just copy paste it into ChessBase, and have to manually put the moves in. After expending my efforts analyzing the Robson-Erenburg game, I’m kinda lazy now to put in Lenderman’s long win against Friedel. So when they fix that, I’ll update this article with his games as well . Here’s Lenderman’s R3 win against Ramirez:
UPDATE: Lenderman’s R1 win against Friedel:
GM Lenderman off to a splendid start as well with 2.5/3
Unfortunately, Naroditsky lost today to Gareev in a game I felt that Danya defended valiantly, but his position was just too hard in the end. Don’t worry Daniel, just rebound with the White pieces in the next game and put to use the training I’ve given you. By training, I mean losing 10-0 to him in our blitz sessions 🙂 . Anyways, about the game with Gareev today, just “Fuggedaboutit!”
Reigning US Junior Champ,GM Naroditsky
Varuzhan “Var” has made a steady start with 1.5/3, and is definitely right in the mix of things. He drew with the veteran and experienced GM Alexander Onischuk, another strong player who can’t be overlooked. Wait, this is the US Championship, NOBODY can be overlooked, especially not a 2650+ GM like Onischuk 😛
The solid and ultra-precise, GM Akobian
The one who cannot be over looked, GM Onischuk 🙂
In the Women’s Section, GM Krush is in the lead along with IM Zatonskih, both with 2.5/3. A nice surprise in their section has been Ashrita Eswaran who is on an outstanding 2/3, considering she’s only 13 years old.
5 time US Women’s Champ, GM Irina Krush, tied for the lead with 2.5/3
4 time US Champ, also tied in the lead with 2.5/3, IM Anna Zatonskih
The commentary duo was a bit different then usual today, with GM Ben Finegold filling in for WGM Jen Shahade. Ben’s a great and funny guy, just read his blog postings, I guarantee you will laugh at least once 🙂 . GM Yasser Seirawan was outstanding as usual, and GM Maurice Ashley had some nice insights too.
Looking forward to the action tomorrow, and may we see some exciting fighting chess in the coming rounds! Who will triumph and etch their names into the history books forever? After all, there can only be One.
PS (Am I the only who who just noticed St Loui’s “Arch” above the King and Queen? :))