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Friday, May 15, 2009

2009 U.S. Chess Championship - Friday, May 15

After seven of the nine rounds of the 2009 U.S. Championship, there is an amazing four-way tie for first, among Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Onischuk (no surprise for these three), and 17-year-old Robert Hess, who has been having a phenomenal year.

In my mind, though, the surprise of the tournament thus far is Missouri IM Michael Brooks, who apparently didn't even own a computer (or at least a laptop) prior to the tournament! Although he is a strong player with a rating of 2419, he remains far below most of the field, yet finds himself with an admirable score of 4/7 on this off day for the tournament. He lost to Jaan Ehlvest and Josh Friedel, but has defeated Alexander Shabalov, Julio Becerra and young phenom Ray Robson, and drew with Enrico Sevillano and Joel Benjamin. Tomorrow, though, he will face his toughest opponent to date - Hikaru Nakamura.

IM Michael Brooks; Photo: Betsy Dynako, official event photographer


Standings
No. Name St Rate Score

1. GM Kamsky, Gata (1)........ NY 2798 5.0
2. GM Nakamura, Hikaru (2).... NY 2757 5.0
3. GM Onischuk, Alexander (3). VA 2736 5.0
4. IM Hess, Robert (17)....... NY 2545 5.0

5. GM Shulman, Yury (4)....... IL 2697 4.5
6. GM Akobian, Varuzhan (7)... CA 2664 4.5

7. GM Benjamin, Joel (9)...... NJ 2650 4.0
8. GM Ehlvest, Jaan (10)...... NY 2649 4.0
9. GM Friedel, Joshua (15).... NH 2568 4.0
10. IM Sevillano, Enrico (16).. CA 2549 4.0
11. IM Brooks, Michael (22).... MO 2419 4.0

12. GM Kaidanov, Gregory (8)... KY 2662 3.5
13. GM Ibragimov, Ildar (13)... CT 2628 3.5
14. IM Robson, Ray (18)........ FL 2542 3.5

15. GM Christiansen, Larry (5). MA 2681 3.0
16. GM Becerra, Julio (6)...... FL 2672 3.0
17. GM Gulko, Boris (12)....... NJ 2631 3.0
18. GM Shabalov, Alexander (14) PA 2620 3.0
19. IM Krush, Irina (20)....... NY 2496 3.0
20. Hughes, Tyler (24)......... CO 2293 3.0

21. GM Khachiyan, Melikset (11) CA 2632 2.5
22. IM Shankland, Samuel (21).. CA 2464 2.5

23. FM Eckert, Doug D (25)..... IL 2278 1.0

24. IM Zatonskih, Anna (19).... NY 2503 0.5

25. Lawton, Charles (23)....... MO 2350 0.0


Take a look at this seventh round game between Michael Brooks and Ray Robson. I had to cut away from following the game after 52.b5, when I thought Ray was winning (and I thought I heard commentator Emil Sutovsky echo the same thought), yet Brooks pulled out the win. Here's the game:




By the way, here are the Round 7 photos from Betsy Dynako. And here is the link to download all games so far.

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