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2009 US Ch: Round 2

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I didn't have much time to look at the round one games after they finally came out, unfortunately. Round two, will, one hopes, be live here on the official site at 3pm EDT, where they appear to have bailed out on the DGT software that caused them so many headaches yesterday in favor of Canadian elfware. Favorites Kamsky and Nakamura both won yesterday, as did defending champ Shulman. Untitled Tyler Hughes beat Boris Gulko with black. Today Kamsky faces Olympiad teammate Akobian while Nakamura has black against Ehlvest. Christiansen lost to Hess yesterday and gets another teenager today in Shankland. All pairings here. Live (and free, I believe) audio coverage on ICC Chess.FM with Jen Shahade and Sutovsky. Updates here later, post'em as you see'em.

Add: Hmm, at 3:05 I'm getting "This Tournament.Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (11)" from the live page.

Add: 3:20: Progress! Now it's "This Tournament.Access denied for user 'apache'@'localhost' (using password: NO)" Ah, there's no place like The ICC has games; perhaps someone figured out they could walk over and look.

Add: 3:26: Hey, chessboards with pieces and everything! Some don't have clocks, hard to say why. Beggars and choosers and all that. It works!

Add: Broadcast when fine for me after that, though I'm not a huge fan of that fancy interface. Lots of clicking. But at least I could watch the games. Others reported some problems in the comments. But right before the last games finished, the entire St. Louis site appears to have gone down hard. It's been offline for at least two hours now. So once again, no PGN! The curse of St. Louis?

Kamsky, Hess, and Shulman won again to move to 2/2. Kamsky completely destroyed Akobian, wow. Nakamura played some spectacular prep against Ehlvest, sacrificing his queen for two pieces to gain a solid position and eventually draw. Cool. (In the comments, acirce points out Varnusz-Kluger, Hungary, 1966, with the same queen sac, only with 12..Rfd8 instead of 12..Rad8. Today's game could have transposed, but Ehlvest played 19.Rc4 instead of 19.Rfd1. Nice find. That game also ended in a draw.) Gulko and Shabalov are both 0/2 after losses to Robson and Brooks, respectively. It's Shulman-Kamsky and Hess-Nakamura in round three. Hess just beat Nakamura at Foxwoods. Pairings are here when the site is up. (Also in full below.)

Okay, okay, I pasted all the PGN together from the ICC and fixed the names. Download round 2 here, replay here. Official site seems back up now at 10:30pm. (Spoke too soon, down again 10 min. later.) The St. Louis club has a handy Twitter feed here, if you're into that sort of thing.

US Championship 2009 US Championship - Round 3

Board White Black
1. ___ GM Shulman, Yury (2.0) ___ GM Kamsky, Gata (2.0)
2. ___ GM Nakamura, Hikaru (1.5) ___ IM Hess, Robert (2.0)
3. ___ GM Onischuk, Alexander (1.5) ___ GM Ehlvest, Jaan (1.5)
4. ___ GM Benjamin, Joel (1.5) ___ GM Friedel, Joshua (1.5)
5. ___ GM Becerra, Julio (1.0) ___ Hughes, Tyler (1.0)
6. ___ GM Akobian, Varuzhan (1.0) ___ IM Robson, Ray (1.0)
7. ___ IM Shankland, Samuel (1.0) ___ GM Khachiyan, Melikset (1.0)
8. ___ IM Brooks, Michael (1.0) ___ IM Sevillano, Enrico (1.0)
9. ___ GM Ibragimov, Ildar (0.5) ___ GM Christiansen, Larry (0.5)
10. ___ GM Kaidanov, Gregory (0.5) ___ IM Zatonskih, Anna (0.5)
11. ___ IM Krush, Irina (0.5) ___ GM Gulko, Boris (0.0)
12. ___ Lawton, Charles (0.0) ___ GM Shabalov, Alexander (0.0)


Heh, live board for Ehlvest-Nakamura shows white about to have his king captured after the illegal move 15.dxe5. Interesting that the software allows that.

Unless there are more glitches, Nakamura just sacrificed his queen for two minor pieces. 13..Qd6 had been played many times, including Ivanchuk-Carlsen last year at the CCAS tournament where Nakamura also played. So must be prep, right? Computer hates it. Wow.

Surprisingly, Nakamura's position looks safe even though he has given up his queen for a bishop and knight. Ehlvest may not have any way to use his queen effectively, and meanwhile, Nakamura probably wins the d4 pawn. If this is prepared stuff, it is really deep. Perhaps Nakamura decided to sacrifice his queen with the expectation that Ehlvest is the type of player who will burn up his clock or play too passively. Against someone else, maybe he wouldn't sac the queen.

Ehlvest is a pragmatist. And he just gave back an exchange. Looks like all the queenside pawns will come off and then very hard for the queen to do any damage. Fascinating piece of prep from Nakamura.

You guys have probably already checked with larger databases - I haven't. But I found Varnusz-Kluger 1966 http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1535049 with the same sacrifice just with 12..Rfd8 instead. Next few moves the same. Could have transposed since Black (of course) double on the d-file in both games.

Unfortunately the problem that caused the errors had to do with Monroi's server needing to be reset.

Mig: are you receiving any problems when viewing the live coverage?

From the official site: "Any technical difficulties that may have occurred during Round 1 have been resolved. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center has flown in a Monroi specialist to provide backup support in the unlikely event that a future technology malfunction occurs."
Still, I cannot see any game... It looks like our own North American webmasters are not too far ahead of Azerbaijanis...

Worked for me fine as of my last update at 3:26. Once it loaded it was okay. Not a huge fan of that interface, but that's a separate matter. Hess and Kamsky both 2/2.

I watched the round today. Amazing, the national championship, and I was able to get unobstructed, uninterrupted views of nearly all the boards (couldn't see Kamsky-Akobian, but they showed it on a video screen). Kamsky smoked him, by the way--guy is an executioner. Lots of great fighting games!

Is the live coverage down again? Three games are still unfinished, but the message I get is "the link appears to be broken."

Yah, the entire St.Louis site seems have been down for at least two hours. What, you wanted a live broadcast AND results and PGN later. Greedy greedy. Sigh. Can't blame it on DGT this time, though. Did the games get out anywhere?

This sad. Just sad!

Reminds me of watching the Fischer-Spassky match, had to wait until the next day to get an error filled game score in the local paper.

Did they even test the system at the Azeri, er I mean US Championship?

Official site is back up. I put together a PGN download file from the ICC scores and html replay page for round two. I'm betting things will be running perfectly by round eight. That's how it usually works.



It's up, it's down, it's up, it's down again! Someone administer a standing eight to the St. Louis site, okay? Some nice games today. Kamsky's demolition job on Akobian was brutal.

Thanks for the downloads Mig. Very nice.

The round 2 games were a strange mix of good and ugly, sometimes in the same game. Two examples: Sevillano - Lawton. When I was watching yesterday, before one of the live coverage failures, it was Black's 20th move. I looked at 20...Nxd4 and it seemed to win a piece. The more I looked at it, the more it won. I switched on my computer engine and it spits out - 3.50 or so for Black. It looked so simple. Instead, Lawton blundered with 20...Nf4? Later that night, before the final St. Louis crash, I saw the position somewhere around the 75th move and figured it was an easy opposite bishop + rook draw. I woke up this morning and find that Lawton lost! All he had to do was play 87...Bd6 to lock in the draw. Instead, he loses in 2 moves. Poor guy. We've all done it, blown a won game and then messed up a simple draw.

The second example is Benjamin - Krush. I thought 27...Qc3 was ok, but Krush played something else which I thought must be just as good. After all, she was the exchange and a pawn up and was pushing Benjamin back against the wall. Looking at the game this morning, I see that she then lost horribly, one mistake after another. I feel bad for her too.

I hope the St. Louis site is fixed today. I feel bad for them too.

Someone on www.chessgames.com had the following comment:

"I was live on site. Lawton had an easy draw with Enrico who was being a jerk to not offer a draw. However, the real disgust of hour came from the arbiter who practically forced Lawton to resign. Lawton yielded letting his time run out in a lose lose situation where the arbiter was clearly playing dunce cap card."

Yah, that was pretty rough, though we've certainly seen worse. You're there to win, not make friends. Or fans, apparently, though some players see it differently.

They're on a five-second increment, which is pretty worthless. It adds a little decorum to rapid games, but anything less than 15 seconds increment is for the convenience of the arbiters, not for the players or the games. I'm not in favor of increment before the final time control anyway though.

The game score (according to TWIC) from Kamsky-Akobian seems crazy: Black could've played 23...Bd5 and remained up a full rook. Even ...Rhe8 in that position (instead of 23...Kg6, as listed in the score) would've left him up a piece. Or was it a time-scramble blunder? Anybody know what the real game moves were?

From the analysis by Dennis Monokroussos on Chessmind:

"23.Bxc7?? [23.Bxe6+ Kg6 24.Bxc7 is how I hope the game actually went. Given the consistent relay problems, it's a possibility.]
23...Kg6?? [23...Bd5-+ and now White can resign.]
24.Bxe6 Back on track."

Indeed, the "game score according to Mig" (see link above) satisfies Monokroussos' hopes ,:) . Was this corrected at a later stage by the organizers, and some sources (also TWIC) still have the wrong version?

The game went 23. Bxe6+ Kg6 24. Bxc7 I was live on site and watched it.

The Lawton case was a travesty and an egregious violation by the arbiter. Barely a mention was made here about this case. I would like to hear Jarecki's interpretation of the rulings cited at other sites.

USCF Rule 15C:

“15C. Scorekeeping in time pressure, sudden death time control. If either player has less than five minutes remaining in a sudden death time control, both players are excused from the obligation to keep score. A scoresheet is not required to win on time in a sudden death time control (13C).”

FIDE Rule 8.4:

If a player has less than five minutes left on his clock and does not have an additional time of 30 seconds or more added with each move, then he is not obligated to meet the requirements of Article 8.1.

Daaim, the way it was told by the person who said what Luke quoted, the arbiter intervened when Lawton had 6 minutes left. So if that is correct then what's the problem?

Who said what Luke quoted... ah yes.

I was told Lawton had six and Sevilliano had five. It's still not clear since no one is talking much about it. Someone just told me that they stopped the clock to allow Lawton to catch up, but this is unclear.

If at any point, he went below five minutes, which he apparently did, then he no longer is required to keep score. However Jarecki apparently forced him to continue until he flagged. That's the problem.

Players must obey the rules at all times. Sometimes they do not. Depending on the circumstances, arbiters are given discretion and flexibility in enforcing the rules. Some arbiters are more lenient than others when it comes to using their discretion and flexibility.

If the arbiter believed that a rule was not being obeyed in the Sevillano – Lawton game, then the arbiter was required to do something. Otherwise, why have an arbiter at all?

But, what did the arbiter actually do? I’ve read several accounts from spectators and even from people who were hundreds of miles from the scene, but there has not yet been a statement from any of the three people directly involved (the arbiter, and the two players). Or from the official tournament site either.

I can wait a little while longer for direct information. I think it is incumbent upon the official site and the arbiter to say something soon. The players need to speak up also.

I'm working on getting a statement.

"If at any point, he went below five minutes, which he apparently did, then he no longer is required to keep score. However Jarecki apparently forced him to continue until he flagged."

He would no longer be required to keep score of _new_ moves, but it doesn't mean he wouldn't have to complete his protocol up to that point. See Mig's rd 3 post for thoughts about that. But, really we are only talking about various hypothetical scenarios here, as none of us know for sure exactly what happened.

Here is the arbiter's statement:


Sevillano had less time than Lawton, yet he was keeping score while Lawton was not? Lawton becomes childishly angry when Jarecki tells him he must fix his scoresheet? Is that it?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 9, 2009 2:22 PM.

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