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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:47 pm
Posts: 5
 Post subject: 2011 US Championship: Regulation Time Ends
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:54 am 
Withstanding the absence of top US player Hikaru Nakamura, the 2011 US Chess Championship has certainly not been disappointing. Gata Kamsky at 5/7 and Yury Shulman at 4.5/7 advance from Group 1 without the need for a play-off, however Group 2 was another story. 19 year-old Robert Hess dominated with 5.5/7, and GM-Elect Sam Shankland advanced to the semi-finals with a fantastic upset in a rapid play-off over Alexander Onischuk as both players battled with no time. It was a pleasure to witness the end of this exciting game, as Hess and Onischuk essentially played on the 5 second increment until Hess was able to convert the endgame into a great win.

It has been quite an interesting US Championship this year, and I think that the current format is a good fit for the tournament to make things more exciting. Unfortunately for 16 year-old prodigy Ray Robson, he failed to advance with 4/7 in Group 1 and finishes with clear 3rd place. The young man certainly can’t be disappointed with such a solid performance (+.5) against a field in group 1 with an average FIDE rating of 2579. Varuzhan Akobian (3/7) and Larry Christiansen (2.5/7) can’t be satisfied with their performance in this year’s championship, as rising stars consistently scored upsets against experienced opponents.

Daniel Naroditsky is a 15 year-old prodigy from California who will surely be gaining the GM title in the near future. I’m sure he’s not happy with finishing in last place in Group 1 (2.5/7), however his 4th round victory over fellow rising star Ray Robson definitely provided some consolation. I have provided a video analysis of this game and the rapid play-off between Shankland and Onischuk at
Naroditsky had a sensational 2010 US Open, tying for 2nd-5th place with 7.5/9!

Alexander Shabalov and Gregory Kaidanov were unable to get it going, and finished tied for 5-6th with 3/7 points in Group 2. I’m excited to watch the semi-finals as Group 1 heavyweights - Gata Kamsky (FIDE 2733) and Yury Shulman (FIDE 2622) - will face off as well as Group 2 rising stars - Robert Hess and Sam Shankland, both 19 years old. It’s looking like a very interesting match-up for the finals - my prediction is Robert Hess Vs Gata Kamsky.

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