Alejandro Ramirez had a great tournament and gave Gata Kamsky a run for his money, but in the end experience prevailed as Kamsky won the U.S. Championship by finally defeating his opponent, in the Armageddon game. Before that they played a pair of 25-minute games, and while Kamsky was better in each he simply couldn't put his opponent away. Ramirez proved himself an adept defender, as indeed he also did in their classical game in round 8.
After the draws, it was time for the Armageddon game, and as you may recall from previous U.S. Championships they do things with a twist there. As usual, the player getting Black receives draw odds, meaning that if the game finishes in a draw he wins the playoff. The twist comes in how they determine who gets what color. The player with White, whoever it ends up being, gets 45 minutes (plus a 5-second increment after every move; Black also gets the 5-second increment). But who gets Black and how much time Black will have is determined by a bidding process: both players secretly write down how much time they would be willing to have to play with the black pieces, and the low bidder gets his wish. Kamsky bid 20 minutes, and Ramirez, simulating ESP, bid 19 minutes and 45 seconds. (I suppose if he really had ESP he'd have gone for 19 minutes and 59 seconds, but the point was that it was a clever bid.)
In the rapid games Ramirez handled the concrete play quite well, and was able to move quickly in those situations. In the Armageddon game, Kamsky tried a different tack, basically holding the position, avoiding exchanges and trying to gently suffocate the black pieces. This proved very effective, as Ramirez lacked the time to keep solving the more vague problems being posed. Eventually Ramirez fell very short of time, and then the moment was right for Kamsky to initiate concrete play. Without enough time to work out the problems, Ramirez lost ground, lost material, and finally lost the game. Still, it was a great performance, and in addition to $20,000 and a bunch of rating points, he clearly earned Kamsky's respect, too.
As for Kamsky, he netted $30,000 and his fourth U.S. Championship title. Intriguingly, he was rather subdued after winning, and expressed himself as somewhat disappointed that one of the young guns didn't win. He still seems intent on retiring once he turns 40, and wants to see the future of U.S. chess in good hands. It seems to me that things are going in the right direction, but it will be a pity for American chess (though of course, not necessarily for Kamsky himself) if he really does follow through with his planned retirement. Anyway, congratulations to him, to Alejandro Ramirez, and to Irina Krush for picking up her 5th women's championship the day before.