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Hikaru Nakamura Claimed 2009 U.S. Chess Championship

Robert Hess and Alexander Onischuk tied second

GM Hikaru Nakamura earned his second U.S. Championship title after an express win against GM Joshua Friedel in the last round of the tournament. Nakamura employed an opening that was frequent in the repertoire of the great champion Bobby Fischer. Friedel was not cautious enough and allowed his Queen to finish trapped on move 21, after which he immediately resigned.

Nakamura’s blitzkrieg put pressure on GM-elect Robert Hess, who also entered the final round with six points, as he had to win in order to call tiebreak match. GM Varuzhan Akobian, however, played well and the game was drawn. Hess ultimately shared second place, together with former champion Alexander Onischuk, who gave yet another lesson to his student, a 14-years old prodigy IM Ray Robson.

Nakamura - Betsy Dynako

Hikaru Nakamura (photo by Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer)

“I was very happy with my play throughout and relieved to have won the title again,” said Nakamura moments after being confirmed champion. “This is a title that means so much to me and the U.S. chess community – and I have to thank the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis for putting on such a memorable championship. Winning the second title feels better to me than the first.”

Nakamura will officially be crowned the 2009 U.S. chess champion Sunday evening by championship sponsor Rex Sinquefield – founder of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center – during a closing ceremony at the Zodiac Room of the Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis’ trendy Central West End.

Videos courtesy of ICC

Round 9 – Sunday, May 17, 10:00 am

1. IM Robert Hess (6) 2545 ½-½ GM Varuzhan Akobian (5½) 2664

2. GM Hikaru Nakamura (6) 2757 1-0 GM Joshua Friedel (5) 2568

3. GM Alexander Onischuk (5½) 2736 1-0 IM Ray Robson (4½) 2542

4. GM Jaan Ehlvest (4) 2649 ½-½ GM Gata Kamsky (5½) 2798

5. GM Yury Shulman (4½) 2697 ½-½ GM Gregory Kaidanov (4) 2662

6. IM Enrico Sevillano (4) 2549 0-1 GM Larry Christiansen (4) 2681

7. GM Joel Benjamin (4) 2650 ½-½ GM Alexander Shabalov (4) 2620

8. GM Ildar Ibragimov (4) 2628 1-0 IM Michael Brooks (4) 2419

9. IM Samuel Shankland (3) 2464 0-1 GM Boris Gulko (3½) 2631

10. GM Julio Becerra (3½) 2672 ½-½ GM Melikset Khachiyan (2½) 2632

11. Tyler Hughes (3) 2293 1-0 FM Doug Eckert (2) 2278

12. IM Irina Krush (3) 2496 ½-½ Charles Lawton (½) 2350

Final Standings

1. GM Nakamura, Hikaru (NY 2757) – 7.0 | prize $40,000.00

2. IM Hess, Robert (NY 2545) – 6.5 | $12,500.00

3. GM Onischuk, Alexander (VA 2736) – 6.5 | $12,500.00

4. GM Kamsky, Gata (NY 2798) – 6.0 | $ 7,500.00

5. GM Akobian, Varuzhan (CA 2664) – 6.0 | $ 7,500.00

6. GM Shulman, Yury (IL 2697) – 5.0 | $ 4,650.00

7. GM Friedel, Joshua (NH 2568) – 5.0 | $ 4,650.00

8. GM Ibragimov, Ildar (CT 2628) – 5.0 | $ 4,650.00

9. GM Christiansen, Larry (MA 2681) – 5.0 | $ 4,650.00

10. GM Ehlvest, Jaan (NY 2649) – 4.5 | $ 2,833.33

11. IM Robson, Ray (FL 2542) – 4.5 | $ 2,833.33

12. GM Kaidanov, Gregory (KY 2662) – 4.5 | $ 2,833.33

13. GM Benjamin, Joel (NJ 2650) – 4.5 | $ 2,833.33

14. GM Shabalov, Alexander (PA 2620) – 4.5 | $ 2,833.33

15. GM Gulko, Boris (NJ 2631) – 4.5 | $ 2,833.33

16. IM Brooks, Michael (MO 2419) – 4.0 | $ 2,375.00

17. Hughes, Tyler (CO 2293) – 4.0 | $ 2,375.00

18. IM Sevillano, Enrico (CA 2549) – 4.0 | $ 2,375.00

19. GM Becerra, Julio (FL 2672) – 4.0 | $ 2,375.00

20. IM Krush, Irina (NY 2496) – 3.5 | $ 2,000.00

21. IM Shankland, Samuel (CA 2464) – 3.0 | $ 2,000.00

22. GM Khachiyan, Melikset (CA 2632) – 3.0 | $ 2,000.00

23. FM Eckert, Doug D (IL 2278) – 2.0 | $ 2,000.00

24. Lawton, Charles (MO 2350) – 1.0 | $ 2,000.00

25. IM Zatonskih, Anna (NY 2503) – 0.5 | $ 2,000.00

US Chess Championship – Round 7 Report


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