Favorites dominate first round of US Championship

by André Schulz
4/15/2016 – With Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So three of the world's best player take part in the US Championship 2016. They all started well into the tournament and showed their class by beating their first round opponents in textbook fashion. In the women's tournament the favorites Krush and Zatonskih started less convincingly.

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The first round of the US Championship 2016 was played 14th April. The overall prize-fund of about 300,000 USD and the prestige of the tournament attracted a very strong field to St. Louis, where the Chess Club and Scholastic Center supported by sponsor Rex Sinquefield once against hosts the event.

Nominally, the US Championship 2016, is the strongest of all time. The top favorites are Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, but players such as Ray Robson or Sam Shankland or the young talents Akshat Chandra or Jefferey Xiong are always good for a surprise.

But in the first round the favorites showed why they are the favorites. Varuzhan Akobian had to play with Black against Fabiano Caruana and tried arather rare line of the Scandinavian perhaps hoping to bring Caruana out of book. But Caruana showed his opponent why this line is not often played by the top opponents Caruana usually plays against. Black did not get any counterplay and lost without much of a fight.



Hikaru Nakamura answered Lenderman's attempt to play a Semi-Slav by transposing to a gambit line of the Catalan. In this line Nakamura gave up material but had a lot of pressure - too much for Lenderman who soon collapsed.





Wesley So followed the advice of Pavel Eljanov and quickly and convincingly demolished Gata Kamsky's Breyer Defense of the Ruy Lopez by sacrificing a knight on f5.



Wesley So

Defending champion Hikaru Nakamura is interviewed

Round 1- results

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Result Title Name Coun ELO
1 GM Fabiano Caruana
2794 1 - 0 GM Varuzhan Akobian
2 GM Hikaru Nakamura
2790 1 - 0 GM Aleksandr Lenderman
3 GM Wesley So
2773 1 - 0 GM Gata Kamsky
4 GM Samuel L Shankland
2648 1 - 0 IM Akshat Chandra
5 GM Alexander Onischuk
2664 ½ - ½ GM Jeffery Xiong
6 GM Alexander Shabalov
2520 0 - 1 GM Ray Robson

Games of round 1





Women's tournament

Top favorites in the US Women's Championship are Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush. But in the first round both had to concede a draw   with Black.

Round 1 - results

Br. Tit Name Coun ELO Result Title Name Coun ELO
1 IM Nazi Paikidze
2346 ½ - ½ IM Anna Zatonskih
2 WGM Katerina Nemcova
2367 ½ - ½ GM Irina Krush
3 WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
2324 1 - 0 WIM Agata Bykovtsev
4 WGM Sabina Francesca Foisor
2258 ½ - ½ FM Alisa Melekhina
5 WFM Jennifer R Yu
2102 ½ - ½ WIM Ashritha Eswaran
6   Carissa Yip
2109 1 - 0 FM Akshita Gorti

Round 1 - Games




The Chess Hall of Fame

Without Rex Sinquefield none of this would happen

Fabiano Caruana plays...

... against his manager Lawrence Trent

The ladies share pictures and news


Pictures: Tournament page (Lennart Ootes)

Tournament page...

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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