GM Alexander Shabalov finally won the 2007 Frank K. Berry US Championship, which ended today and took place in Stillwater (Oklahoma), with the score of 7 points out of 9 (+6=2-1). He defeated GM Sergei Kudrin in the final round to take the crown. Last year's champion GM Alex Onischuk beat the winner in the sixth round and finished in clear second half a point behind him. After conquering the US title Shabalov said (to quote the official site http://www.monroi.com/tournamentgate/USChamp07/): "Huge thanks to all the fans! I'm so happy I was finally able to pull it out after so many misses earlier in the tournament. In the last round game Sergey surprised me with 2…Nc6!, which totally killed all my preparation versus Dragon or 2…g6. But I couldn't remember a single game of his after 3.Bb5. Does it matter that I'm not playing it? No! So the resulting position was very much in the spirit of pet variation 1.e4 c5 2. Na3 and I did the grinding!".
Icelandic IM Hedinn Steingrimsson still leads in Palau, Italy, with a perfect score after round 6 (yesterdau a double round was played). Tomorrow he will play Romanian GM Mihail Marin with black pieces and this could be a decisive game for the first place: Marin is in second place on 5 points with Ecuadorian GM Matamoros, Italians GM Ortega and IM Shytaj, Serbian GM Djuric and Scottish IM Aagaard. 14 y.o. IM Fabiano Caruana is on 4.5, but he doesn’t have any chance to get his third GM norm as he played against too many lower opponents in the last rounds. Official site: http://asd.caissa.it/portomannu/vega/index.html.
Sergei Movsesian has extended his lead to a full point in the 2007 Bosna supertournament after beating Nigel Short in round 5. The Slovakian GM has now 4 points out of 5, while Bosnian GM Predojevic could get a draw with Morozevich, keeping second place on 3. Official site: http://www.skbosna.ba.
China and Ukraine are dominating the first Women's World Team Championship, which is taking place in Ekaterinburg, Russia. They has both won three matches and drawn one up to now; China beat 4-0 Poland and Russia, 3.5-0.5 Vietnam and drew with Georgia, Ukraine beat 3-1 Armenia and Czech Republic, 4-0 Botswana and drew with Germany. Tomorrow the two leaders of the tournament will play each other. Official site: http://www.chesswomen.com/en/.
And now here is the decisive last round game from the 2007 U.S. championship.
Shabalov,Al (2606) - Kudrin,S (2556) [B51], Stillwater, 23.5.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.0–0 Bd7 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 Bg4 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 g6 9.c3 Bg7 10.Na3 Nf6 11.Nc2 Nd7 12.Rb1
This move should be a novelty. After 12.d3 b5 13.Ne3 b4 14.Bd2 0–0 15.Qg3 bxc3 16.bxc3 Kh8 17.Nd5 Rb8 18.Bg5 Re8 19.Rab1 f6 20.Be3 got a slightly better position in Stefanek-Kochetkov, Jantar Baltyku op 1998.
12...Qb6 13.b3 0–0 14.Bb2 Rac8 15.Qd1 Rfe8 16.d4 cxd4 17.cxd4 Nf8
17...Qa5 18.Ne3 b5 was an alternative to be considered.
18...Qa5 19.Bc3 Qh5 was better.
19.Ne3 Nb5 20.Rbd1 Ne6 21.Nc4 Qa7 22.d5 Nf8?
22...Bxb2 23.Qxb2 Nc5 was a more active defence. Now White takes the initiative.
23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.a4 Nc7 25.a5 f6 26.Kh1
26.Nb6 Rcd8 27.Rc1 Na8 28.Nc4 was even stronger.
Too passive indeed!
28...b5 29.axb6 Nxb6 30.exf6+ exf6 31.Ne3 was just a bit better for Black.
29.exd6 exd6 30.Re6
White is dominating.
30...Nc7 31.Nxd6 Nxe6 32.dxe6 Nc5 33.Nxe8+ Rxe8 34.Bc4 was not too much different.
31.Nxd6 Nxe6 32.Nxe8+ Rxe8 33.dxe6 Re7
Obviously not 33...Rxe6 34.Qd7+ and White wins on the spot.
If 34...Rxe6 then 35.Rd7+ Kh8 36.f5! followed by Qh4.
35.Rd6 was even stronger, e.g.: 35...Nc7 36.Qxb7 Nxe6?? 37.Rxe6 Rxb7 38.Rxe8+-
35...Nc7 36.Re1 Nb5 37.Qc5
Black can just wait for the end.
37...h5 38.f5 gxf5 39.Bxb5 axb5 40.Qxf5 Qg6
40...Qc6 41.Qxh5 Rxe6 42.Rxe6 Qxe6 43.Qxb5 would have only postponed the end for Black.
41.Qxb5 Qg3 42.Qe2 Qxb3 43.Qxh5 Qg3?
43...Qc3 was the only good move.; 43...Rxe6 44.Qg4+ Kf7 45.Qxe6+ Qxe6 46.Rxe6 Kxe6 47.Kg1 would have obviously been without hope for Black.
Black has no defence against Rg4, so he resigned.