2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Championships: It’s a Wrap !
GM Yury Shulman won the 2008 FKB U.S. Championship with a 7-2 score, while IM Anna Zatonskih won the 2008 FKB U.S. Women’s Championship after a long and exhausting playoff match that literally went down to the last second.
Shulman won the 24-player title event sponsored by Frank K. Berry in Tulsa, Oklahoma, using complex positional play that included wins over David Pruess, Boris Gulko, Gregory Kaidanov, Julio Becerra, and Sergey Kudrin. He was only in trouble once, against Eugene Perelshteyn in round 8, but managed to draw a pawn-down ending.
Shulman had a full point lead going into the last round. His opponent, Josh Friedel, needed also a draw to make his 3rd GM norm. Therefore a split result was very agreeable to both of them and a draw happened quickly.
Shulman’s tense win over veteran GM Boris Gulko is an example of his play in this event: Gulko,B (2559) – Shulman,Y (2606) [E04] 2008 FKB U.S. Championship (3), 19.05.2008?
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.Ne5 c5 7.Na3 cxd4 8.Naxc4 Bc5 9.Bd2 Nd5 10.Rc1 O-O 11.O-O Nd7 12.Nd3 Ba7 13.Ba5 Qe7 14.Qb3 Rb8 15.Nce5 Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Qf6 17.Nd3 b6 18.Bb4 Rd8 19.Bxd5 Rxd5 20.Rc7 Bb7 21.Be7 Qf5 22.Qc2 e5 23.Rc1 h6 24.Nb4 d3! 25.exd3 Rd7 26.Rxb7 Rbxb7 27.Qc8 Kh7 28.Nxa6 Qxd3 29.Nb4 Qd2 30.Bf8 Rb8 0-1
Alexander Onischuk finished in 2nd place with 6½ points, and Sergey Kudrin was clear third with 6. (See complete standings below.)
In the women’s title event, both Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush finished with 7½ points.
A playoff between them went all the way to the end: After two Game/15 (+3) contests and two Game/5 (+2) blitz games were split, an aptly-named Armageddon game determined the result of this grueling finale.
The rules for this were as follows: one player would name the times white and black would have (with black having draw odds) and the other to chose which color she wanted. There was no add-on time increment.
Krush had white with 6 minutes, while Zatonskih had 4 ½ minutes and the draw odds. The game was close and entered into a time scramble. At one point Anna had 2 seconds left compared to about 20 for Irina.
But Anna’s had the advantage of draw odds — Irina needed to win, and thus had to take the extra time to make purposeful moves, while Anna could just move the pieces nearest the clock to blitz out as fast as she could her moves.
In the end, Irina lost on time with 0:01 left showing on Anna’s clock!
It was a testiment to how evenly matched and what determined fighters the both are.
Katherine Rohonyan and Tatev Abrahamyan finished tied for third place with excellent 6-3 scores.
Goddesschess.com and The Susan Polgar Foundation donated $500 for the “GoddessChess ‘Fighting Chess’ Award”. This was awarded by Susan Polgar to Tatev Abrahamyan, who had 6 wins, 3 losses, and zero draws.
CruisingThroughLife.com added a nice perk to the first prize, a deal for the winner to join the 2008 Caribbean Gambit Chess Cruise. (see http://cruisingthroughlife.com/chess2008/ )
Full information on the tournaments can be found at monroi.com, which provided an excellent website, videos, and live coverage.
International Arbiter Frank K. Berry was the sponsor of these events for the second year in a row. Jim Berry was chief T.D. and Tom Braunlich was the chief organizer.
A special thanks to Tom Braunlich for providing us with this report!