Reports | May 18, 2010 19:39

7-way tie after 4 rounds U.S. Championship

7-way tie after 4 rounds US ChGMs Nakamura, Kamsky, Onischuk, Shulman, Akobian, Christiansen and Stripunsky tie for first after four rounds of the U.S. Championship in St. Louis. These seven players all scored three points. After three more rounds there will be a four-player final.

The 2010 U.S. Chess Championship takes place May 13-25 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Missouri. The event features a new format, which includes a 24-player, seven-round Swiss tournament followed by a four-player Championship final. In the event that there is no clear U.S. Champion after the quad finals, there will be a championship playoff. If after seven rounds, there are ties for the four places into the final round-robin quad, then there will be a concise fourth-place playoff on May 21, the scheduled rest day.


  • The defending U.S. Champion - GM Hikaru Nakamura
  • The winner of the 2009 U.S. Senior Open Championship - GM Larry Christiansen
  • The winner of the 2009 U.S. Junior Championship - GM Ray Robson
  • The top five qualifiers from the 2009 U.S. Open Championship - GM Alex Lenderman, GMs Sergey Kudrin, Alex Yermolinsky, Dmitry Gurevich, and Jesse Kraai
  • The winner of the 2010 ICC State Champion of Champions - IM Levon Altounian
  • The top 11 U.S. players by rating of the United States Chess Federation:
    • GM Gata Kamsky
    • GM Alexander Onischuk
    • GM Varuzhan Akobian
    • GM Yury Shulman
    • GM Jaan Ehlvest
    • GM Alexander Shabalov
    • GM Gregory Kaidanov
    • GM Robert Hess
    • GM Melikset Khachiyan
    • GM Joel Benjamin
    • GM Ben Finegold
  • Four wildcard spots:
    • GM Alexander Stripunsky
    • GM Vinay Bhat
    • IM Sam Shankland
    • IM Irina Krush


The winner of the final will take home $35,000. The total prize fund was increased from $135,000 to more than $170,000, the largest per capita prize fund in U.S. Championship history according to Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Players who do not make it into the top four places after seven rounds will play two more rounds of the Swiss event. They will also have much to play for as fifth place will be awarded $10,000 and the total prize fund of the “Challenger’s Swiss” will exceed $90,000.


The Championship not only stands out as a far as prize money is concerned. Like last year, the official website is of outstanding quality. There's live commentary with WGM Jennifer Shahade and GM Maurice Ashley, and already many high-quality videos have been produced and posted.

There are promos, 'round recaps' and montages of the live shows, including yesterday's top clash Kamsky-Nakamura, which by the way was interrupted by a phone call with Magnus Carlsen, who talked about visiting the Karpov fundraiser in New York, which is tonight. This is all in the second video from the top, at the moment of writing - it's called Live-Calling Carlsen.

The organizers allowed us to embed their video show player, which is licensed under the Creative Commons license (”BY-NC-ND“).

After four rounds, seven grandmasters tie for first with 3/4. So far the tournament has seen many interesting fights - the drawing percentage is as low as 42%.

US Ch 2010 Round 4 Standings

US Ch 2010 Round 4 Standings

Selection of games rounds 1-4

Game viewer by ChessTempo



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


shane's picture

Does anyone know the formula for determining the number of rounds required in a Swiss tournament as a function of the number of competitors?

(apologies: my copy of Chess Competitor's Handbook, which I think contains the formula, is floating towards me, on a boat, but by my calculations is currently about 5000 miles away, as the bird flies, which a boat can't)

Castro's picture

#rounds = round [sqrt (#competitors)] +1

(That is, you round the square root of the number of competitors, and add one)
(Of course, nowadays many "swiss" tournaments are made with fewer rounds than that, but that's merely a lie, specialy regarding classification, and even more in what tiebreak criteria is concerned. It's like applying Eratostenes algorithm to determine prime numbers, but forgeting to exclude some of the non-prime numbers)

Castro's picture

Ah! Just to add:
That is the MINIMUM number of rounds required, as a true alternative to an all-play-all.
But you can put in more rounds. It just improves the swiss.
That's the case, in this years US championship.

shane's picture

thanks castro - you succeed where google fails!

Phil's picture

Isn't the formula for minimum number of rounds to determine a clear winner: #rounds = log2(#competitors) rounded up.
See for example

Castro's picture

We are talking about the Swiss.
That comment involves two common misunderstandings:

1- No one should mainly be (and the swiss system surely isn't) interested in "determining a clear winner".
Depending on criteria, a "clear winner" can be achieved by various means (for instance, elimination).
The swiss is, precisely, the studied best alternative to the main systems (round-robin, elimination, series...)

2- The log2(#competitors) formula is a confusion, in what the swiss is concerned, and simply means a mathematical curiosity here, namely, IF you are having someone (say, out of 1024 players) always winning, it just takes 10 rounds to fairly declare him the best player. For that, you can use elimination! Or just pairing him with the 2nd best so far. Etc.!
Now, under the swiss method, 1024 players would never be "tournamented" with merely 10 rounds! :-) The correct swiss number for them is 33 rounds. For 100 players, NOT 7, but 11! And so on.
It makes sense...

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