U.S. Chess Championships 2011
Saturday, 30 April 2011 06:38
After an opening miscue led to a struggle for equality, GM Yury Shulman conceded a draw to GM Gata Kamsky and with it the title of 2011 U.S. Champion. Kamsky also won the title last year in another final-round game with Shulman. Kamsky won $40,000 for first place, plus $2,000 more for winning his preliminary group. His first title was in 1991.
Kamsky won in the first game of their match, putting Shulman in a must-win situation, but he never seriously pressed. "I had to survive all game," Shulman said. Shulman is the 2008 U.S. Champion, and he earned $30,000 for his second-place finish this year.
"He should have done what he did last year against me in the rapid game - played slowly to build up pressure," Kamsky said. "After he played e4, I realized it was almost done." Shulman agreed that his seventh move was imprecise. "I should have shown some fight," Shulman said.
Prior to Kamsky, the last American to successfully defend his national championship was GM Lev Alburt in 1984-1985.
After two weeks of almost non-stop playing, IM Anna Zatonskih needed a few more hours to win the 2011 U.S. Women's Championship. She won her first rapid game as Black on Thursday against WFM Tatev Abrahamyan. Zatonskih seemed to be able to cruise to the title, but in the next round she spoiled a better position and lost. The two had to play a deciding Armageddon match that Zatonskih drew to give her the title. She had draw odds by virtue of playing Black and with less time.
"I don't have enough energy to celebrate," Zatonskih said. She slid down into a chair in relief.
The final game saw Zatonskih aim for an opposite-colored bishop endgame. Her control of the light squares stifled any chances for Abrahamyan to advance any pawns to make progress. After admitting that progress was impossible, a reluctant Abrahmyan looked up and signaled that she would concede the draw. Zatonskih immediately agreed, which gave her a fourth championship in six years.
Prior to the game's commencement, Zatonskih entered a secret bid of 19 minutes, 55 seconds. When Abrahamyan's bid of 24 minutes, 28 seconds was revealed, it meant that Zatonskih's lower time would give her a time handicap but the advantage of only needing a draw to win. Abrahamyan started with 45 minutes but took the White pieces. She chose to repeat her opening from the first rapid game.
Results, standings and videos on the official website.