WGM Anna Zatonskih at the sole lead after 2 rounds

US Women Chess Championship 2009

Defending U.S. women’s chess champion WGM Anna Zatonskih is using her versatility to keep her opponents off balance at the 2009 championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis . After two games, she was the only player to move to 2-0, reflecting two victories. Zatonskih played a solid opening variation that she seldom uses to frustrate the aggressive style of Battsetseg Tsagaan. “I’m expecting Zatonskih to surprise us in many games,” said Grandmaster-elect Ben Finegold, who provided live commentary.

Round 2 results

Sabina-Francesca Foisor ½-½ Tatev Abrahamyan

Alisa Melekhina ½-½ Camilla Baginskaite

Rusudan Goletiani 0-1 Irina Krush

Anna Zatonskih 1-0 Battsetseg Tsagaan

Yun Fan 0-1 Iryna Zenyuk

Read about Anna Zatonskih’s simul record and round 1

Zatonskih Krush

Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush

The top-seeded Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., avoided the trap of overlooking Tsagaan, of Ellicott City, Md., the seven-time Mongolian women’s champion. Zatonskih insisted she was not placing undue emphasis on her upcoming encounter with second-seeded IM Irina Krush, with whom she shared an infamous incident at last year’s championship.

In 2008, the pair played a controversial championship playoff. After the pair were tied following nine rounds of regular play, the two women played an “Armageddon” blitz match to decide the winner. Both women had their time dip below 5 seconds, so Zatonskih made several random moves quickly, and Krush overstepped the time limit. Zatonskih had one second remaining and claimed victory. Krush, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was nonplussed by the strategy and claimed Zatonskih began making her moves before she was legally allowed. Video replays were inconclusive and the accusations flew faster than the pieces. Since then, the two have competed as American teammates, but have not had a chance to face off over the board. They meet in round three on Tuesday.

In other round two action, Krush make a remarkable comeback from a horrible opening position to defeat third-seeded Rusudan Goletiani, of Hartsdale, N.Y. “It was a complete opening disaster,” Krush said.

The youngest competitor, 18-year-old Alisa Melekhina, of Philadelphia, battled the oldest player, 42-year-old Camilla Baginskaite, of Sioux Falls, S.D. Like the first round, Melekhina faced a tough defense, but again she was able to hold the balance and score one-half point for the drawn game.

foisor

WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor, currently a student at UMBC, Maryland.
(Photo Betsy Dynako)

Sabina-Francesca Foisor of Baltimore, Md., and Tatev Abrahamyan, of Glendale, Calif., also battled to a draw, giving Foisor 1.5 points out of two and Abrahamyan her first half-point of the tournament. The two played an uncompromising affair with wild imbalances before the game petered out into an equal ending.

In the last game, Iryna Zenyuk, of Pittsburgh, Pa., got her first win by grinding out an equal ending against Yun Fan, of Greencastle, Ind., who is now 0-2.

Round three will begin Tuesday at 2 p.m. Games can be followed live at the official site.

FM Mike Klein’s daily wrap

Defending U.S. women’s chess
champion WGM Anna Zatonskih is
using her versatility to keep her
opponents off balance at the 2009
championship at the Chess Club
and Scholastic Center of Saint
Louis. After two games, she was
the only player to move to 2-0,
reflecting two victories. Zatonskih
played a solid opening variation
that she seldom uses to frustrate
the aggressive style of Battsetseg
Tsagaan. “I’m expecting Zatonskih
to surprise us in many games,”
said Grandmaster-elect Ben Finegold,
who provided live commentary.

The top-seeded Zatonskih, of Long
Island, NY, avoided the trap of
overlooking Tsagaan, of Ellicott
City, MD, the seven-time Mongolian
women’s champion. Zatonskih
insisted she was not placing undue
emphasis on her upcoming encounter with second-seeded IM
Irina Krush, with whom she shared
an infamous incident at last year’s
championship.

In 2008, the pair played a controversial
championship playoff. After
the pair were tied following nine
rounds of regular play, the two
women played an “Armageddon”
blitz match to decide the winner.
Both women had their time dip
below 5 seconds, so Zatonskih
made several random moves
quickly, and Krush overstepped
the time limit. Zatonskih had one
second remaining and claimed
victory. Krush, of Brooklyn, NY,
was nonplussed by the strategy
and claimed Zatonskih began making
her moves before she was
legally allowed. Video replays were
inconclusive and the accusations
flew faster than the pieces. Since
then, the two have competed as

American teammates, but have
not had a chance to face off over
the board. They meet in round
three on Tuesday.

In other round two action, Krush
made a remarkable comeback
from a horrible opening position to
defeat third-seeded IM Rusudan
Goletiani, of Hartsdale, NY. “It was
a complete opening disaster,”
Krush said.

The youngest competitor, 18-yearold
Alisa Melekhina, of Philadelphia,
PA, battled the oldest player,
42-year-old Camilla Baginskaite, of
Sioux Falls, SD. Like the first
round, Melekhina faced a tough
defense, but again she was able to
hold the balance and score onehalf
point for the drawn game.
Sabina-Francesca Foisor of Baltimore,
MD, and Tatev Abrahamyan, of Glendale, CA, also battled to a
draw, giving Foisor 1.5 points out
of two and Abrahamyan her first
half-point of the tournament. The
two played an uncompromising
affair with wild imbalances before
the game petered out into an
equal ending.

In the last game, Iryna Zenyuk, of
Pittsburgh, PA, got her first win by
grinding out an equal ending
against Yun Fan, of Greencastle,
IN, who is now 0-2.