Caruana and Paikidze are the new US Champions!

by André Schulz
4/26/2016 – Before the last round of the US Championship 2016 Fabiano Caruana was half a point ahead of his rivals and had to play with Black. But Caruana played energetically and this strategy paid off: he won the game and the title. Wesley So finished on place two, Hikaru Nakamura became third. The final round of the US Women's Championship was much more dramatic.

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The final round  (Photo: Austin Fuller)

In the final round of the US Championship 2016 Fabiano Caruana took no chances. Before the round Caruana had half a point more than his closest rivals and was to play with the black pieces but still left no doubt that he was willing to win his last round game against Akshat Chandra. From the start he put pressure on his young opponent who finally cracked - which allowed Caruana to become US Champion 2016.

Fabiano Caruana, US Champion 2016



Congratulations to the new Champion (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Caruana scored 8.5/11 and this strong performance helped him to become number two in the world again. Wesley So, who won silver, and Hikaru Nakamura, who won bronze, finished one point behind Caruana. The young Jeffery Xiong once again showed his talent and added some more points to his already impressively high rating.

Wesley So became second (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Results of the 11. and last round

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Ergebnis Titel Name Coun ELO
1 IM Akshat Chandra
2501 0 - 1 GM Fabiano Caruana
2 GM Ray Robson
2663 ½ - ½ GM Hikaru Nakamura
3 GM Aleksandr Lenderman
2623 ½ - ½ GM Wesley So
4 GM Alexander Onischuk
2664 ½ - ½ GM Varuzhan Akobian
5 GM Jeffery Xiong
2588 ½ - ½ GM Alexander Shabalov
6 GM Gata Kamsky
2667 ½ - ½ GM Samuel L Shankland


All games



Final standings


Women's Tournament

In the women's tournament the situation before the last round was similar. After ten rounds Tatev Abrahamyan was leading by half a point and "only" needed to win in the last round to secure the title. However, she was less lucky than Caruana in the open event and lost her last game against Ashritha Eswaran. The 16-year old Eswaran completely outplayed her opponent.


A big disappointment for Tatev Abrahamyan (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Played like Karpov: Ashritha Eswaran (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

This gave Nazi Paikidze a chance to win the title - if she managed to win with Black against Irina Krush. Paikidze managed to spice up a rather quiet opening and this courage was rewarded:



The new US Women Champion:

Nazi Paikidze


Results of the 11. and last round

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Ergebnis Titel Name Coun ELO
1 WIM Ashritha Eswaran
2149 1 - 0 WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
2 GM Irina Krush
2458 0 - 1 IM Nazi Paikidze
3 IM Anna Zatonskih
2469 1 - 0   Carissa Yip
4 WGM Sabina Francesca Foisor
2258 1 - 0 WIM Agata Bykovtsev
5 FM Alisa Melekhina
2205 0 - 1 WGM Katerina Nemcova
6 FM Akshita Gorti
2242 ½ - ½ WFM Jennifer R Yu

All games



Final standings


Jennifer Shahade and Yasser Seirawan provided the entertaining live commentary
together with Maurice Ashley and Alejandro Ramirez (Photo: Lennart Ootes)


On Thursday and Friday Garry Kasparov will play a blitz tournament with Caruana, Nakamura and So, the top three finishers of the US Championship 2016. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

Photos: Tournament page (Lennart Ootes, Austin Fuller, Spectrum Studios)

Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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boiette boiette 4/29/2016 11:28
Congrats to Fabby and Miss Paikidze. Truly great chess champs!.

One side-thought though. With all due respect and malice towards none, it must have occurred to you Miss Paikidze, to change your nickname. As it could probably be mistaken for the deaths of World War Two. To be honest with you, the word Nazi means "evil" as it is cannot be separated from the horrors of the Holocaust. I guess you must have read History books. I suggest you stop using it. All US courts would willingly change it easily. This is a truly constructive suggestion. Because we, I for one, have become overnight fans.

If you have thought so previously and stayed with it, it is all right. My apologies. It is just sad to see your nickname posted as such, and it is so unfair to you.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/28/2016 07:13
@ubernomics you missed the point. carry on...
JohnTVian JohnTVian 4/27/2016 01:08
@Aighearach, I find that interesting because I have SF also and I had to set up a Syzygy table base before it would even consider Kc2. with the tbhits I get 3:35 Kc2 g3 Kd3 g2 Nc3 g1=N Kd4 Nf3+ Kd5 Nd2 a4 Nb3 Nb1 Ke3 Kc4 Na5+ Kb5 Nb3 Kb4 Nd4 Nc3 Kd3 Nb5 Nc6+ Kc5 Nb8 a5 Na6+ Kb6 Nb8 Nd6 Kc3 Kb5 Kd4 Nb7 Kd5 Kb6 Kd4 Kc7 Na6+ Kc6 Kc4 Kb6 Nb8 Nc5 Kd5 Nb3 Kc4 Kb7 Nd7 a6 Kxb3
Manuel Vergara Manuel Vergara 4/27/2016 10:41
Is there a study that will conclude men think differently from women? or will tell us that women possess different approach to a particular problem than the so called weaker sex? hehe
Aighearach Aighearach 4/27/2016 09:41
In defense of computers in the endgame, stockfish did find Kc2 after 9427 seconds. It actually switched to Kc2 at 3481 seconds, but it was only saying +1.19 until it found the line below.

59 [+7.96] 1.Kc2 g3 2.Kd3 g2 3.Nc3 g1=N 4.Kd4 Nf3+ 5.Kd5 Nd2 6.a4 Nb3 7.Nb1 Ke3 8.Kc4 Na5+ 9.Kb5 Nb3 10.Kb4 Nd4 11.Nc3 Kf4 12.Kc4 Nc6 13.Kd5 Na5 14.Ne4 Ke3 15.Nd6 Kd2 16.Kc5 Kd3 17.Kb5 Nb3 18.Kb4 Nd4 19.Nb7 Nc2+ 20.Kc5 Nd4 21.Kd5 Kc3 22.a5 Nb5 23.Kc5 Nc7 24.Kc6 Na6 25.Kb6 Nb8 26.Kb5 Kd4 27.Nc5 Kd5 28.Nd7 Nc6 29.Nf6+ Kd6 30.a6 Kc7 31.Ne8+ Kd7 32.Kb6 Ne7 33.Nf6+ Ke6 34.Kb7 Kxf6 35.a7 Kg5 36.a8=Q Nf5 37.Kb6 Ng3 38.Qf3 Kh4 39.Qf4+ Kh3 40.Kc6 Nh5 41.Qf1+ Kg4 42.Qe2+ Kh4 43.Qf3 Ng3 44.Qf4+ Kh3 45.Qg5 Nf1 46.Qh5+ Kg3 47.Qe2 (9427.03)
ubernomics ubernomics 4/27/2016 05:41
@ alphanumeric

That is why I suggest the Anglicization, "Natalie" (am guessing at shared word root - she would have to be asked to her name's meaning - I confess I do not know Georgian language.)

And nor does any native English speaker know that "Aryan" is pronounced "ar-YAN". They're gonna say, air-RI-yan. (Yes, I have met plenty of Aryans in the United States. Immigrants, yes. Some Iranian, some from parts unknown. Everyone starts off by calling them "air-RI-yan" - yes master, how may we serve you!?)
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/27/2016 04:55
@ubernomics -- You might learn to speak English before suggesting someone change their name.

Winston Churchill's mispronunciation of the word "Nazi" as "Narzi" aside, if you are referring to the political party,
it is pronounced "Natzi", with a t sound in the middle. Unless Paikidze pronounces her first name the same way, there is, in fact, no need to change.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 4/27/2016 03:19
Thanks John for these very interesting elements to consider. And yes, we must take account of the characteristics of the engines, like the ones you illustrated, when we use them.

If we go back to your suggestion 19. Rad1 - I still think it is a strong move and it is not sure that a human, in a game, over the board, would find the right response, even in circumstances where an engine would find the right move.
thlai80 thlai80 4/27/2016 02:59
Congratulations to Paikidze, what a come back win after leading the tournament for the 1st half before being overtaken by Abrahamyan. Abrahamyan it seems has been suffering jitters from leading the tournament. Her performance of the last 2 games were off standard to her rating.

Kasparov after out of chess for more than 10 years, now playing blitz vs Caruana, Nakamura and So ... that would be a very tall order even for the beast of Baku.

@ubernomics, I thought that force changing someone's name only happened in North Korea.
JohnTVian JohnTVian 4/26/2016 10:55
@Raymond Labelle, Chess engines are only good for finding difficult solutions. I merely use them for defending the engines analysis against unsubstantial claims. Take the following position for example.

I ran across a lot of people at who were criticizing the chess engines for not find mate in 11 or so. The given answer was actually mate in 15.

1. Nf6+ Kg7 2. Nh5+ Kg6 3. Bc2+ Kxh5 4. d8=Q Nf7+ 5. Ke6 Nxd8+ 6. Kf5 e2 7. Be4 e1=N 8. Bd5 c2 9. Bc4 c1=N 10. Bb5 Nc6 11. Bxc6 Nc7 12. Ba4 Ne2 13. Bd1 Nb5 14. Bxe2+ Nf3 15. Bxf3#

The reason most chess engines don't find mate in 11/15 is because 4...Nf7+ is a bad move. if Black were to play 4...Kg4 then white will eventually win but never in 11 or 15 moves; actually, it's a long drawn out game.

I like to focus on positions that the chess engines don't get and there are a few of them around. In the following position most chess engines want Nf2, not the winning move.

The winning move is 1. Kc2 g3 2. Kd3 g2 3. Nc3. Now black cannot queen the pawn because of 4. Ne2, forking the king and queen. One must have a table base of chess moves for the engines to get this one.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 4/26/2016 08:45
To JohnTVian and Kevin C.

Yes, 19. Rad1 could be worth more or less .5 or .6 after Black has responded to it IF Black finds the best answer, such as the one an engine can find...
vladivaclav vladivaclav 4/26/2016 08:11
Exciting last round; entertaining and fine coverage of the whole event by Yasser, Jennifer and Maurice. Unfortunatelly, Garry Kasparov showed up and partiually spoiled a nice atmosphere during live transmission: he refused to shake hands with Jennifer Shahade on two ocassions (one time could be just accidental but twice no). I couldn't believe my eyes!
Dionisio De Cuadro Dionisio De Cuadro 4/26/2016 07:57
Wonderful and Congratulations Fabiano !!
JohnTVian JohnTVian 4/26/2016 06:46
@KevinC, Thanks Kevin for that input. I haven't analyzed the game yet with any chess engines. Now that you mentioned it, Stockfish 7 64 evaluates white at +0.55 after 18...bxc3. Had white played the suggested move 19. Rad1 Qc6 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. Qc4+ Qe6 22. Qxc5, white is still up around +0.54. I have Stockfish running on all cylinders, if you know what I mean, so I have to wait until all other applications are closed because I don't have enough resources to run any other applications.
KevinC KevinC 4/26/2016 05:30
@JohnTVian, agreed, that looked very strong. Houdini only has it at about +.6, but to my eye, it looks a lot worse than that. Black looks critical.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 4/26/2016 04:07
Nazi has played the best chess of any woman for TWO full tournaments.

Undefeated in her first two US champs. Impressive play.
JohnTVian JohnTVian 4/26/2016 04:03
I was watching the game between Akshat Chandra and Fabiano Caruana. I couldn't help but noticed that Akshat missed a golden opportunity on move 19. He played 19. bxc3 when he should have played 19. Rad1!, attacking the queen. If the black queen retreats to e7 then white wins the black bishop on c5. Black's only alternative would have been 19...Qc6. 20. Bxf7+ and either 20...Kxf7 or black loses a rook. After 20...Kxf7, 21. Qc4+, Qe6, 22. Qxc5 and white is looking really good.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 4/26/2016 03:55
From the first photograph of Fabiano above, I understand that when you win the US championship, you are allowed to take a cookie!
ubernomics ubernomics 4/26/2016 03:41
In the politically correct United States, I recommend a name change from "Nazi" to something like "Natalie", "Nicole" (Anglicizations), or even "Natasha" (black or Russian). Same goes for any of the chess-playing boys named "Aryan" out there who may be thinking about relocating.