Monday, April 25, 2011

US Championships 2011-Semifinals

I was a little overwhelmed with chess after Saturday's tournament (4 games), so I am late with this post. I also missed a good deal of Sunday's games.

Saturday First round:
Kamsky v Shankland was a dynamic Slav with unbalanced material, but eventually a draw.
Shulman v Hess was a solid Queen's Indian: draw.
Zatonskih v Krush was a c3 Sicilian, so not as crazy as Krush's usual Sicilians, but fun anyway.
Abrahamyan v Baginskaite was a not so quiet Giocco Piano.

Sunday Second round:

Kamsky v Shankland was a "normal" Najdorf, (i.e. messy and exciting).
Hess v Shulman was a very boring exchange French: draw

In Krush v Zatonskih their normal QGD, Krush locked the pawns with c5 and was able to control e5, but lost  c5. Chaos ensues. Krush and Zatonskih seem allergic to draws.
In Baginskaite v Abrahamyan, Abrahamyan got a very ugly looking position from her King's Indian Defense, but was able to prove it had much dynamic potential.

Kamsky goes on to the final, Shankland goes on to the consolation 3rd place game.
Everyone else gets no rest day, on to the

Semifinal Playoffs
First round:

I am writing this as the playoffs of the semifinal matches are going on. Time control is 25 min with a 5 sec increment for two games. If tied, then an Armageddon 45 min game.

Krush and Zatonskih first game had a exciting double edged game, that should have ended in a draw, but Krush lost the thread in time pressure. She was playing on the 5 sec increment.

Hess and Shulman drew another game.

Abrahamyan playing white got an exciting attack from a Giuoco Pianissimo against Baginskaite, which was not perfect but was sufficient.

Second round:

Krush responded 1...d6 to Zatonskih's 1.d4 and went into a Modern defense, with Zatonskih delaying any decision with the c-pawn and the Nb1, very fun for me.

Hess is playing a Kings Indian against Shulman, and it got wild. GM Ashley described it as "tornado chess", he got very excited commenting on this game, and the other two games got little attention, but those were exciting games, too.

Baginskaite v Abrahamyan is a King's Indian that very similar to their second game in the Semi's, but Baginskaite deviates on move 9 and considering how that game went, it probably is a good idea. OTOH, Abrahamyan

Semifinal Armageddon

Zatonskih won the bid with 27 minutes, while Krush bid 45. I guess Krush likes playing white and does not like playing for a draw. Zatonskih played her usual QGD and the opening went very rapidly along similiar lines to what these two have done before. Both played the first 17 moves in less than 2 minutes by which time lots of pieces have been traded off, unbalanced pawns, but bishops of opposite colors, but Krush made several over committal moves, and her position fell apart.

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