Sharks (and Penguins) Join The Fray On Day Five of U.S. Open

The U.S. Open has officially entered the home stretch after day five in Grand Rapids. With three rounds done in the six-day schedule and the accelerated four-day schedule kicking off today, things are about to get a lot more crowded in DeVos Place. GM Andrew Tang, better known as speed chess legend penguingm1, is leading the charge in the six-day and several 2600+ players are getting ready to go in the four-day.


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Fear the Penguin! Andrew Tang during the first round of the six-day schedule (photo Daniel Day)


The sections are set to merge tomorrow for the final three rounds, with the six-day playing rounds four and five today and round six tomorrow. The four-day features four games today and two tomorrow. Round six in the traditional section kicks off at the usual time tonight. 



Isn't it nice when things work out? Only two players remain with unblemished 5/5 scores headed into the final round before the merge. Top-seeded IM Jason Liang will face off against veteran GM Dmitry Gurevich in what is sure to be a great game.


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Dmitry Gurevich is one of two remaining players with a perfect 5/5 score in the traditional schedule (photo Daniel Day)


Neither player had an easy pairing last night, with both having to survive tense endgames against venerable opposition. Gurevich managed to equalize on the black side of a trendy variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined against Michigan IM Joshua Posthuma, and the game took on a rich, unbalanced character from there. Eventually, Gurevich's activity proved too much for Posthuma's position and, despite the extra pawn, he was unable to hold.



Liang's game against GM Rahul Srivatshav was even more dramatic. After a series of trades created a double-edged endgame under time pressure, Srivatshav completely missed a devious mating net that Liang had sneakily set up. Suddenly, an equal position turned into a forced mate.



IM Kostya Kavutskiy is the lone player with 4½/5.



Eleven players still boast 3/3 scores after the first double-round day in the six-day schedule, including Tang. Here is an interesting game of his from the London System. Despite the opening's reputation, the game reached a novel position rather quickly and took on a sharp, combative shape from there. 



A few notable names joining Tang atop the standings are GM David Brodsky, FM Sharvesh Deviprasath and IM Ron Burnett. Equally notable are some of the names not in the tie for first: GM Alexander Shabalov and FM Brewington Hardaway. Both players were nicked for draws yesterday.

Hardaway's game featured near flawless play from his opponent, Puwit Sky Moerlien from Kansas. While Hardaway was able to equalize, he got nothing more than that and Moerlien never gave up any chances for more.



Shabalov's game was a bit more dramatic. His opponent, Texan Logan Shafer, seemed content to navigate things towards a heavy-pieces endgame rather early on, despite Shabalov's seemingly fearsome attack.


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Alexander Shabalov is dangerous with an initiative, but Logan Shafer managed to hold his own in the endgame (photo Daniel Day)


But Shafer correctly assessed that Shabalov's attack would not materialize, and he actually had some winning chances with a passed d-pawn. Instead, he boldly traded to a remarkably sharp king-and-pawn endgame where Shabalov actually had a forced win at one point, but was unable to find it.



Interestingly, this was not Shafer's only thrilling endgame from Grand Rapids. Check out puzzle five from this week's Wednesday Workout to see for yourself.


Outside of the Open

With more players joining the Open, there were only eight Wednesday quads, down from eleven on Tuesday and twelve on Monday. Congratulations to Arizona's Asish Panda for winning Quad A two days after winning the top quad on Monday. Between these victories and his tie for second at the weekend swiss, the expert player is up to 2195 in the live ratings, just five points away from earning the national master title!

A number of committee meetings and workshop meetings took place on Wednesday, as well, including the Communications and Chess Journalists of America (CJA) meetings.


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(Left-to-right) Natasha Roberts, Melinda Matthews, and Dan Lucas from the US Chess Communications Department (photo WIM Dr. Alexey Root)


Today's meetings begin with the open section of the US Chess Executive Board meeting, and continue in the afternoon with meetings of the Women's Committee, US Chess Development, US Chess Trust, and, finally a closed meeting for Chess in Education. The full schedule is available here.


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