Reports | May 13, 2009 16:39

US Ch: Nakamura-Kamsky drawn

Nakamura-KamskyIt was the game everyone was waiting for, and despite its peaceful finish, Nakamura and Kamsky didn't disappoint the fans. In the fifth round of the US Championship the two top-seeds drew against each other, allowing Shulman and Akobian to take the shared lead.

The 2009 U.S. Chess Championship takes place May 7-17 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The tournament is a 9-round Swiss with 24 participants with one round per day and a rest day between rounds 5 and 6. The prize fund is $130,000.

We start this report with the news that Anna Zatonskih, the only mother in the field, dropped out of the tournament on Mother's Day. On Sunday morning she went to hospital and initially her game against GM Gregory Kaidanov was postponed till the rest day (an act of sportsmanship by Kaidanov, who could have claimed the point). Later it turned out Zatonskih had gall stones and obviously could not participate anymore. FM Doug Eckert was the backup replacement available and he stepped in to get the number of participants back to 24.


Anna Zatonskih: out of the tournament

In round four, the top pairings between overnight leaders, #1 seed Gata Kamsky vs. Josh Friedel, and defending champion Yury Shulman vs. #2 seed Hikaru Nakamura, ended in epic draws. The top two seeds held the advantage throughout, as they tried to press for the sole lead in the tournament. Especially Friedel's tenacious defence was admirable.

The impasse at the top allowed Varuzhan Akobian, who played the best game of the day, to join the leading pack of five at the top with 3/4. Akobian, of North Hollywood, Calif., who is ranked No. 8 in the country, scored a resounding victory over seventh-ranked Julio Becerra, of Miami.


Varuzhan Akobian of North Hollywood, California

In round five, Shulman and Akobian broke from the pack to take the joint lead. Akobian was the first to make his move for the title with his third successive win; he easily outplayed Jaan Ehlvest, of Baltimore. Shulman joined Akobian at the top of the leader board with points by capitalizing on an error from Josh Friedel of New York near the end of their game.


Friedel held Kamsky to a draw, but then lost against Shulman in round 5

Photos by Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer

Akobian and Shulman were only able to take the joint lead after a clash of the titans between top-seeded New York grandmasters Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw. In that game, No. 1 seed Kamsky looked to be better throughout, but his young rival proved resourceful as he saved the game and a valuable half point.

Kamsky and Nakamura each were a half point behind the leaders with 3.5 points, along with Alexander Onischuk, of Baltimore, and Robert Hess, 17, of New York.


New game viewer

With this report we're trying out for the first time a new game viewer. We always used the Palview/Palmate viewer and for the end user there was nothing wrong with it, but to create a board and moves out of a PGN file was always a big hassle for us.

From now on were going to use Martin Bennedik's viewer which many of you will know from TWIC, where Mark Crowther has been using it for a few months already. It will be a very similar experience for our readers, while our editorial team will win much time creating them for the reports.

There's one "but". You need Silverlight. Silverlight is a programmable web browser plugin developed by Microsoft that enables features such as animation, vector graphics and audio-video playback that characterizes rich Internet applications. It's similar to Flash in that it only needs a one-time install on your local computer.

So if you already see a chess board below these sentences then you're fine and you already installed Silverlight on your computer. Otherwise, just click the Get Microsoft Silverlight button - the software won't harm your computer and also works on Macs! (Not yet on Linux, but a solution for that is in the making.)

Click on the pairings at the top of the board to reveal a drop down list of all the games. Click on the arrow under the board just once, then the arrow keys of your keyboard also work.

Videos hosted by Jennifer Shahade & Macauley Peterson



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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.


Pogos's picture

I'm with grumble, the need of installing yet another application and furthermore a Micro$oft crapware is not nice.

Think about the lots of people that don't use a windows system, OK not a millions, but anyway, this is about facilitating the users with the most widely available tools, using flash player for instance, everybody has it installed already, besides there's support for almost every system, except BSD (shame on them! :-) )

The worst part is that silverlight is very likely become prey of plenty of exploits, as most of the Microsoft products are. As a rule I stay away of Microsoft products as much as I can.

choufleur's picture

This "get microsoft silverlight" made me give up twic and now chessvibes ?
Please don't do this ! The viewer you used till now was just perfect.

muzio's picture

silverlight board working great on my mac. i notice too that it doesn't draw the big arrow along the "from" - "to" squares (which it annoyingly does over on TWIC). sorry to hear that it's not yet available for linux (aren't you linux guys supposed to be computer whiz kids ;-) ).

CAL|Daniel's picture

not to change your angerfest about silverlight...

I would just like to say this is the best writeup yet i've seen on the US Championship (ironic that it comes from outside the states? :))

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks but due to busy times I did use some lines from the official press releases...

CAL|Daniel's picture

yes I noticed that but I like how you guys always bother to include the crosstable. no one else seems to think that is important (besides TWIC). They mention the leaders then pretend like the pack can't catch up.

BumbleBee's picture

This new viewer is pretty awful.

The old one is much nicer... not to mention the fact that it doesn't work in opera (my primary browser).

This was a bad choice.

iLane's picture

You forgot one important thing: you cannot install new software on office PC as you're not admin. So I think this is the end of lunch-break chess for now... :(

Patrick's picture

The mob will stone me but I prefer the new Silverlight plugin-- the animation is a nice touch.

Patrick's picture

(especially since the only animation is when flipping the board. oh well.)

Titus's picture

Not yet for linux! Damn, I won't be able to follow the games anymore on chissvibes!

Peter Doggers's picture

Sorry about that. For all Linux users: check out the Moonlight project, an open-source implementation of Silverlight, primarily for Linux and other Unix/X11 based operating systems. Bennedik's chess viewer should work as soon as Moonlight 2.0 is stable.

Mandarin's picture

There is also one more thing with the new viewer, you can't replay the moves using the arrow keys...

Peter Doggers's picture

I was kind of hoping one would come up with that. :-) At first I thought the same, and it would be a reason for us not to use it at all. However, if you click on the arrow under the board just once, then the arrow keys do work!

christos (greece)'s picture

Moonlight 2.0 is not usable for me, very unstable. I must look for the games elsewhere for the time being.
I have never seen the new game viewer, though. If it is better, I have no problem to wait.

choufleur's picture

ILane is right : also it is impossible to watch games in a web cafe where you cant install anything

Marcel's picture

No problems here with the new viewer. It works fine in Firefox as well, so it doesn't have to be all Microsoft.

moonnie's picture

I use linux too :(

guess it is back to chessbase for me

vaughn's picture is not suported by opera.
2.i'm glad to see that after the superb organization in President's Cup we have another masterpiece named Mtel(one superturnament but without an official site).All of them are nothing more than some amators with personal interest!
Sorry for the off topic.

Peter Doggers's picture

1. Opera will be officially supported with future builds. Unofficially, Silverlight support is already available to Opera via a hack. [Source: Wikipedia]

2. What the [bleep] are you talking about??

guitarspider's picture

I use Opera and it works fine.

vaughn's picture

You want to say that i am the only one that i'm not able to acces the mtel is working?

Peter Doggers's picture

No problems here with accessing the site.

grumble grumble's picture

Hi, sorry to say that coverage of games via Silverlight may be easier for programming or posting - but is a lot less comfy for viewers. The applet is SLOW to react to clicks, the colour is to say the least unusual, and loading Your harddisk with one more of Microsofts wonderful programs is a disadvantage. People like me do not need the multimedia crap - all we want is the hard, stark and beautiful matter of the games played. Certainly hope this is not the final world - on websites of course nothing ever is....and You find a better application to use.

Yes - and I appreciate Your coverage very much - especially where the live coverage on the tournament sites is as lousy ("Monroed" !! ) as with the US Championship!

grumble grumble's picture

Arne Moll

You miss one important point - I am not expressing arguments - I am not part of the editorial team - but PERSONAL SENTIMENTS. De gustibus ....
If You guys like it, that is fine - I do not have to, and I don't, period.

As for taking offense on a light grumble, You might note that there is a tinge of chaffing or humour included. I am well aware that I partake of the service of Chess Vibes for free, and am most appreciative of it.

Also, the production of chess applets has exploded, the get more refined every day .- but that cost disk space, they get "heavier" and whether that improves the information value is debatable. Most people are quite inured to the DGT applet colours, and the fast functioning of these applets.....

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that the need to install software is not an ideal situation, but it's not the end of the world either, is it? By the way the applet is not slow to react on clicks over here so that might be your local computer configuration.

Arne Moll's picture

@grumble grumble. Nothing is perfect, but your arguments against the application hardly make sense. It is not slow to clicks at all: I just clicked through the entire Khatsian-Krush game (56 moves) in 25 seconds. The colours (blue and white) are the same as the previous board. As for stuffing your harddisk with another wonderful Microsoft program: this one is really just 1.3 MB, i.e. one medium sized jpg-picture.
Besides, the previous game viewer had a few objetive disadvantages such as not being able to get a decent overview of the games in the selection, and problem with reading comments when you're clicking through a game that's not immediately visible (it jumps back).
Aren't you grumbling a bit too much?

Moon Walker's picture

I'm sorry to say but Silverlight sucks big time!

yeb's picture

I'm happy to report that the new viewer works fine on my Mac with Firefox. I didn't even have to press the arrow key twice. It just worked. But I do think you should have waited until the Linux guys can have a solution.

horsie's picture

This site has been great, but now, without linux support, it's no worth reading. Thus, I'll go back to chessbase and I think I'm not the only one.

suiletro's picture

Yes, Chessbase is highly recommended. Especially the reports on M-Tel are great. If you can't find them, search for Super Tournament in Sofia.

Dominik's picture

First of all, I have to say that ChessVibes has emerged to become one of my favorite chess web sites lately due to its excellent and non-standard reporting. However, as many comments states before, the new game viewer is a big minus for me as a Linux user.

It is an essential part of a chess website to replay the games which are reported on. If I'm not able to do so, it will definitely lower by interest in this fine website. Beside, I think it's both critical and alarming to exclude a big group of users from the complete usage of this website. It is a step that supports manufactures like Microsoft in their approaches to monopolize the software markets and at the same time a limitation of the freedom of those users which still want to use this website.

As I just noticed, the moonlight ( project looks quite promising for linux users, I'm going to try this. However, even if this emerges to be sufficient to view the games, this does not limit my criticism, especially since you did not provide any helpful resources to address this topic.

Dominik's picture

Damn... yet another disappointment - the game viewer requires Silverlight 2.0 which is not supported yet by moonlight. It might even require some time until it will be supported:

Currently support for Silverlight 2.0 is in pre-Alpha stage (

That is just another reinforcement of my criticism, please reconsider your decision carefully.

Marc B's picture

Sadly, those of us using PowerPC Macs (not Inle Macs) can only install Silverlight 1, so your games are now lost on us...

moonnie's picture

So for me the choice is to either boot to windows to visit chessvibes or go to different sites. Anybody know any good sites where i can (as a linux user) click trough the games ?

Eric's picture

Care to explain why the older viewer was difficult to "create a board and moves out of a PGN..."? Why couldn't it be mostly or completely automated?

In any event, I use Linux and am thus disappointed.

Peter Doggers's picture

Of course we tried, and we even contacted the programmers, but unfortunately they stopped working on the project six years ago or something. We don't have the source code.

Meanwhile, the creator of the Silverboard has already created a first update with some improvements, and wil keep on improving it.

The latest news is that Moonlight (the Unix solution) should be compatible with Silverlight 2.0 early summer.

arlen's picture

Have to say, silverlight is a really bad choice. I don't even have it on my Windows machine, so It's not simply a linux compatibility issue.

Just seems like pure arrogance to tell your audience "If you want to see what I've got to say, you have to go install another piece of software that you don't need for anything else except what I have."

You really think you're *that* indispensible? Tell that to most people and their response is to simply leave and not come back.

HJVFan's picture

It must be tough being a Linux user and spend your life complaining about lack of compatibility. Of course, it's usually a free choice. And as any Linux programmer will tell you: a true Linux fan doesn't complain - he builds his own solution!

HJVFan's picture

Yeah just like asking money for a loaf of bread at the bakery is 'pure arrogance', right? Oh but of course free stuff is even worse than money, because .. well, just because!

Amos's picture

"Care to explain why the older viewer was difficult to “create a board and moves out of a PGN…”? Why couldn’t it be mostly or completely automated?"

I have said it before in the comments here - Palview is a great tool, but, as Peter pointed out, hasn't been worked on for six years and is closed source. It takes some time to create .html output with it, although not much - the fastest way I know is this:
1) Drag-n-drop your .pgn file on the palview4.exe and the html file(s) will be created (provided you have edited the .ini file to you liking with all the paths and stuff. It has to be done once, so not a problem);
2) You have to upload the .html files to your ftp server;
3) You have to put an iframe with the uploaded .html in the article text.

I suspect Peter has to do a bit more clicking if he uses Palmate GUI and does not know about the simple possibility of drag-n-dropping the file (I know, I did it for more than a year!).

I think that it would not be too hard for someone with average programming skills to write a code that would allow the ChessVibes admins to skip the 2nd step. The code would allow them to run palview4.exe on their server (it's a Windows command line software, I think it runs in Wine, but I haven't checked. Alas, I do not know if ChessVibes has their own server and what OS it uses.), so the html files would be created directly on the server.

One could even go so far as to write a little script that 'listens' to TWIC and automatically generates the Palview .html files whenever the active tournaments files get updated. The Admin would need only to point the script to the .pgn files at the beginning of the tournament.

Those are just a couple ideas of a non-programmer. If I would know more than just basics about Python, I might program it myself, but, alas, I am not a programmer :(

Amos's picture

I did not notice this before:
"Besides, the previous game viewer had a few objetive disadvantages such as not being able to get a decent overview of the games in the selection [..]"

That is not true. The way you used to do it, no there was no overview, but it can be easily done.

See the drop down list under the board in the left frame?

Disappointed's picture

Good bye, dropping chessvibes from RSS. There are 10 sensible javascript viewers around and even a few flash based and you had to pick some ugly ms plugin.

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