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Anna Zatonskih and Yury Shulman win at the U.S. Chess Championship

Thrilling playoff match for the Women’s title, caught on the video!

By Tom Braunlich

22.05.2008 – GM Yury Shulman won the 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Championship with 7/9, while IM Anna Zatonskih won the 2008 FKB U.S. Women’s Championship after a long and grueling playoff match that went down to the last possible second.

Shulman won the 24-player 9-SS event sponsored by Frank K. Berry in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with solid play that included wins over GMs Gulko, Kaidanov, Becerra, Kudrin, and IM Pruess. He had a full point lead going into round 9 and a quick draw with IM Josh Friedel gave him the title while also giving Friedel his 3rd GM norm.

USCH Shulman

GM Yury Shulman

USCH Friedel

GM-elect Josh Friedel

An example of Shulman’s play was win over veteran GM Boris Gulko which was punctuated by the shot 24…d3


Alexander Onischuk was clear 2nd with 6½, and Sergey Kudrin was clear third with 6.

In the women’s event, both IM Anna Zatonskih and IM Irina Krush finished with 7½ points in the 10-player round robin. A playoff between them went down to the wire. After two Game/15 (+3) games and two Game/5 (+2) games were split, a remarkable Armageddon game determined the result of this grueling finale. The rules called for one player to name the times (with black having draw odds) and the other to chose which color she wanted. No time increment.

Krush had white with 6 minutes, while Zatonskih had 4 ½ minutes and the draw odds. A tense game ensued and both players entered severe time trouble. At one point Anna had 2 seconds left compared to about 20 for Irina. But Anna’s draw odds were a big advantage here — she could blitz out moves hardly thinking (just moving the piece nearest to the clock) while Irina actually had to do something with her moves since she had to win. Krush lost on time with 0:01 left on Anna’s clock! It doesn’t get any closer than that. Zeljka from MonRoi has it on the video!

USCH Zatonskih

IM Anna Zatonskih

USCH Krush

IM Irina Krush

An example of the play of these two rivals was their 8th-round draw:

Final Standings:

Rank / Name / Title / Rating / Pts

1 Shulman, Yury GM 2664 7.0

2 Onischuk, Alexander GM 2728 6.5

3 Kudrin, Sergey GM 2610 6.0

4-6 Friedel, Josh IM 2511 5.5

4-6 Perelshteyn, Eugene GM 2615 5.5

4-6 Akobian, Varuzhan GM 2666 5.5 etc

Rank / Name / Title / Rating / Pts

1 Zatonskih, Anna IM 2490 7.5

2 Krush, Irina IM 2515 7.5

3-4 Abrahamyan, Tatev WFM 2280 6.0

3-4 Rohonyan, Katerine WGM 2318 6.0

5 Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg WIM 2289 5.5

6 Battsetseg, Tsagaan WIM 2251 4.5

7 Zenyuk, Iryna WFM 2205 3.5

8-9 Epstein, Esther WM 2194 2.0

8-9 Airapetian, Chouchanik WFM 2143 2.0

10 Jamison, Courtney 2064 0.5

Full information on the tournaments can be found at MonRoi, which provided an excellent website, videos, and live coverage.

Goddesschess 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.

International Arbiter Frank K. Berry generously sponsored the event for the second year. Jim Berry and Tom Braunlich were also on the organizing committee.

USCH Barry

Jim and Frank Barry

USCH Katerine Rohonyan

WGM Katerine Rohonyan

USCH Tatev Abrahamyan

GoddessChess Award for WFM Tatev Abrahamyan

USCH Julio Becerra

GM Julio Becerra

USCH Eugene Perelshteyn

GM Eugene Perelshteyn

Round 7 report

Photos courtesy of MonRoi

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