On the top three boards there were 'almost' some surprises, with the top two seeds being in some danger. Kamsky went astray in some complications and had to fight like a dog to keep himself afloat.
Nakamura was worse and even had to defend an endgame a pawn down.
|1||GM Yuri Shulman (4.5)||2613||0.5-0.5||GM Alexander Onischuk (4.5)||2699|
|2||GM Larry Christiansen (4)||2578||0.5-0.5||GM Hikaru Nakamura (4.5)||2733|
|3||GM Gata Kamsky (4.5)||2702||0.5-0.5||GM Alexander Shabalov (3.5)||2585|
|4||GM Jesse Kraai (3.5)||2492||0-1||GM Alexander Stripunsky (3.5)||2570|
|5||GM Alex Yermolinsky (3.5)||2528||0.5-0.5||GM Ben Finegold (3.5)||2539|
|6||GM Robert Hess (3)||2590||1-0||GM Varuzhan Akobian (3.5)||2599|
|7||IM Irina Krush (3)||2455||1-0||GM Aleksandr Lenderman (2.5)||2598|
|8||GM Jaan Ehlvest (2.5)||2591||1-0||GM Vinay Bhat (2.5)||2547|
|9||GM Gregory Kaidanov (2.5)||2577||0.5-0.5||GM Ray Robson (2.5)||2569|
|10||GM Melikset Khachiyan (2)||2539||1-0||GM Joel Benjamin (2.5)||2565|
|11||GM Sergey Kudrin (1.5)||2571||0.5-0.5||GM Dmitry Gurevich (1.5)||2488|
|12||IM Samuel Shankland (1.5)||2507||0-1||IM Levon Altounian (1.5)||2454|
So after seven rounds the rankings were as follows:
|GM Hikaru Nakamura||2733|
|GM Gata Kamsky||2702|
|GM Alexander Onischuk||2699|
|GM Yury Shulman||2613|
|GM Alexander Stripunsky||2570|
|GM Larry Christiansen||2578|
|GM Robert Hess||2590|
|GM Alexander Shabalov||2585|
|GM Ben Finegold||2539|
|GM Alex Yermolinsky||2528|
|IM Irina Krush||2455|
|GM Varuzhan Akobian||2599|
|GM Jaan Ehlvest||2591|
|GM Jesse Kraai||2492|
|GM Gregory Kaidanov||2577|
|GM Ray Robson||2569|
|GM Melikset Khachiyan||2539|
|GM Aleksandr Lenderman||2598|
|GM Joel Benjamin||2565|
|GM Vinay Bhat||2547|
|IM Levon Altounian||2454|
|GM Sergey Kudrin||2571|
|GM Dmitry Gurevich||2488|
|IM Samuel Shankland||2507|
So in the next round (eighth for the swiss) the pairings will be as follows:
'Quad finals' = Title group (for places 1-4)
|1||GM Hikaru Nakamura||2733||GM Gata Kamsky||2702|
|2||GM Alexander Onischuk||2699||GM Yury Shulman||2613|
Swiss event (for places 5-24)
|3||GM Alexander Stripunsky||2570||GM Larry Christiansen||2578|
|4||GM Ben Finegold||2539||GM Robert Hess||2590|
|5||GM Alexander Shabalov||2585||IM Irina Krush||2455|
|6||GM Jesse Kraai||2492||GM Alex Yermolinsky||2528|
|7||GM Varuzhan Akobian||2599||GM Jaan Ehlvest||2591|
|8||GM Ray Robson||2569||GM Melikset Khachiyan||2539|
|9||GM Vinay Bhat||2547||GM Gregory Kaidanov||2577|
|10||GM Joel Benjamin||2565||IM Levon Altounian||2454|
|11||GM Dmitry Gurevich||2488||GM Aleksandr Lenderman||2598|
|12||GM Sergey Kudrin||2571||IM Samuel Shankland||2507|
Naturally the top group of four will be playing amongst themselves, that is against opponents they have already met in the earlier phase.
However for the lower twenty participants, normal swiss rules apply and they won't be paired against the same players as earlier.
I must admit I was caught by surprise by this system, but have noticed that the Americans like to experiment with different formula for important events.
Presumably, in the 'quad' event those players who receive two whites out of three have the best chance?
Today is a rest day and the next games will take place on Saturday the 22nd of May.
Everything will be decided over the next few days.
St.Louis seems to be investing heavily in chess and their efforts will be boosted by the fact that Nakamura has just moved to the city. The new centre of chess in the USA?
You can watch the games live and can find more information on the official tournament site.