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.
Nakamura : "There is a reason why three of us are so much higher rated, I think one of us will win!"#USChessChamps— SaintLouis ChessClub (@CCSCSL) 14. April 2016
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.
Defending champion Hikaru Nakamura is interviewed
||2794||1 - 0||GM||Varuzhan Akobian||
||2790||1 - 0||GM||Aleksandr Lenderman||
||2773||1 - 0||GM||Gata Kamsky||
|4||GM||Samuel L Shankland||
||2648||1 - 0||IM||Akshat Chandra||
||2664||½ - ½||GM||Jeffery Xiong||
||2520||0 - 1||GM||Ray Robson||
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
||2346||½ - ½||IM||Anna Zatonskih||
||2367||½ - ½||GM||Irina Krush||
||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||
||2109||1 - 0||FM||Akshita Gorti||
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)