|Round 7 Summary Report by Tom Braunlich|
|Mon, May 19 2008 (20:31)|
Yury Shulman took another big step toward the championship by defeating Julio Becerra to maintain his 1-point lead with only two rounds to go. Shulman was not sitting on his lead by playing safely with black; he instead played into the main line of the Qg4 French Winawer Variation. In the post-mortem Yury said that after 22…Rg4 it is hard for white to find a move. Julio tried a diversion by rushing forward his h-pawn, but before long it was lost. White might have tried 36.Rxc4 intending to fight on with two bishops against two rooks. 39…R1h3 forced mate with some flair.
WFM Tatev Abrahamyan is a student at Cal State in Psychology.
The round was a very combative one, with only one game was drawn (Ippolito-Vigorito).
Kaidanov – Onischuk was another key game this round, a very interesting Two Knights variation in which black played 8…Be7 instead of the more usual 8…Rb8. Before long white had two sets of isolated double pawns and Alex cleverly sacrificed two more pawns to exploit this and threaten penetration with his better developed pieces. Black soon won back these pawns, with interest, helped by the excellent 21…Ne1. In the post mortem it seemed that 27. Nxf5 instead of 27.Ba3 was white’s best chance to hold on.
Defending champ Alex Shabalov has not been having a good tournament. Today his chances for the title were lost with his defeat by Kudrin, whose 21.Qf3 suddenly just won a piece.
Friedel joined the leaders when Gurevich played a sharp line of the Queen’s Indian with 13.Nb5 and Josh shot back with 16…Nxf2 and 17… e5. He was winning after 24…Nxh2!
Akobian also won to stay among those within range of first place by finding the subtle 20…Be5! Perelstheyn beat Yermolinsky who again used an usual line of the Carlsbad QGD. 46. Rh4! set up a mating net with the threat of Rch8. The Fed defeated Ivanov with the same idea of …h5 to safeguard his kingside he used against Shankland. 32…d5 exposed white’s king.
Sergey Galant was doing well against Jesse Kraai until 28…Rxh2? lost a tempo to grab a pawn (the players decided 28…Kd6 was better.) Kaufman beat Shankland in an endgame in which 17…Na6 was called an error by Alan Stein in the commentary room (17…Nce4).
Important events in the Women’s event turned the leader board over. Krush won over Airapetian while Zatonskih was upset by Tuvshintugs in a Caro-Kann modern main line, falling from ½-point ahead to ½-point behind.
Tomorrow’s K-Z matchup will likely determine the champion.