Friday, April 15, 2011

2011 US Championships--round 1

I am watching the live video from the Championship. I am writing this post while the video is on a break, it has been a long break, so I wonder if they are having technical problems. They did manage to pop up a commercial for New In Chess magazine before going to black, so they are getting some revenue from the broadcast. IIRC, the replay videos did not have the breaks in them. There are 16 players in two groups for the Championship. Two players from each group will go into a final round of 4. There are 8 players in the Women's championship. So Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade have 12 games to comment on, so there sure is a lot to talk about.

There are two games with "interesting" openings. Tatev Abrahamyan brought out the Evan's gambit against Camilla Baginskaite and Alexander Stripunsky pulled a Budapest against Yuri Shulman. I think it likely that Abrahamyan is trying to find a line that Baginskaite is not familiar with, while Stripunsky is throwing dice.

Maurice Ashley could not supress his disgust at the timid Ruy Four Knights exchange that Ivanov played against Kamsky. It is hard for black to play an exciting game, when white chooses such a quiet line.

Yasser Seirawan has come out of retirement for this tournament, and played a double fianchetto Reti type formation from an English against what started as a very solid formation from Gregory Kaidanov, but it appears that Kaidanov is playing a little plan less in the opening.

Alexander Shabalov brings out a Sicilian Dragon against Larry Christiansen and managed to convince Christiansen to castle kingside, so we do get to watch a double pawn storm race.

Alexander Onishuk played a Nimzo-Indian vs Ben Finegold and developed a strong kingside attack, but Finegold had not castled yet. OTOH, white has the doubled c-pawns from the Nimzo exchange, so it is not clear where white's king will find safety.

Robert Hess played a King's Indian Defense against Sam Shankland. Shahade says that this is the first time Hess has played the King's Indian. They are following one of the lines I am looking at. This will be a very interesting game for me, though it looks like Hess has misplayed it a bit. He has traded his light square bishop for the Nf3, with a locked center. Usually this exchange happens after black has played exd4 (i.e. white has not locked the center with d5). The locked center leads to attacks on opposite wings, and black usually needs his light square bishop for that.

Lots of other good games, too.

You can also check out the games from the or via The Week In Chess live games (pgn downloads, too) from here

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