Sam Sevian and Abhimanyu Mishra triumph in Saint Louis

by André Schulz
3/13/2022 – The Saint Louis Spring Classic had a thrilling final day of action. In the A group, Sam Sevian prevailed after beating Ilya Nyzhnyk in a rapid playoff. In the B group, the youngest grandmaster in history Abhimanyu Mishra (pictured) won the event with an impressive Tournament Rating Performance. | Photo: Crytal Fuller

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Sevian beats Nyzhnyk

Samuel Sevian took down former sole leader Ray Robson in round 8 at the A Group of the Saint Louis Spring Classic 2022 to grab the lead himself, level on points with Ilya Nyzhnyk, who defeated Aram Hakobyan on the same day.

In the final round, Samuel Sevian played Jeffery Xiong with the black pieces, who still had a theoretical chance of winning the tournament. A double rook ending emerged from an English Opening, with Jeffery Xiong fighting for victory with an extra pawn. Sevian defended tenaciously and was eventually rewarded with a half point. 

On the next board, the game between Ilya Nyzhnyk and Ray Robson was also relevant in the fight for tournament victory. Robson was only half a point behind the leading duo. 

Robson and Nyzhnyk played a wild game. Robson employed a gambit line with White and was lucky to get a draw after a sharp struggle.

Robson, Ray (2676) - Nyzhnyk, Illya (2674)
Spring Chess Classic-A (9), 10.03.2022 [as]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.dxe5 [The main variation is 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5]

4...Bc5 [After 4...d5 5.Nbd2 Nxd2 6.Qxd2 Be7 7.Qf4 White had good results.]

5.Bc4 [5.Be3 Bxe3 6.fxe3 d5 is pleasant for Black.]


5...Nxf2 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 [6...Kf8 7.Qd5 Nxh1 8.Qxc5+ Kxf7 is similar to the game.]

7.Qd5+ Kg6 8.Qxc5 Nxh1 9.Nc3 h6 Black has an extra rook.


10.Qd4? [10.Qc4 Kh7 (10...d6 11.e6) 11.Nd5 Re8 12.Bxh6 gxh6 13.0–0–0 Re6 14.Nxc7 d5 15.exd6 Nf2 16.Nxe6 Bxe6 17.Qxe6 Nxd1 18.Qf7+ Kh8 19.Nh4 Qxh4 20.Qf8+ Kh7 21.Qf7+ Kh8 22.Qf8+ Kh7 23.Qf7+ ½–½ (23) Motylev, A (2624)-Esipenko, A (2720) Ufa 2021]

10...d6!? [10...Kh7 11.Qe4+ with the same position as after 10.Qc4]

11.Nd5 Nc6 12.Qe4+ Kf7 13.Be3 Re8 [Better is 13...dxe5 14.0–0–0 Be6]


14.Bxh6 Rxe5 [14...gxh6? 15.Qh7+ Kf8 16.0–0–0 with a decisive attack for White.]

15.Nxe5+ Nxe5 16.0–0–0 Nf2 The knight returns to the game.



17... Qf6 A good-looking tactic, but it gives away the advantage. [Objectively better was 17...Kg8 18.Rxf2 c6 19.Nf6+ gxf6 20.Qh4 Ng4 21.Rf4 Qd7 22.Qg3 Qe7 23.Rxg4+ Bxg4 24.Qxg4+ Kh7 and White has too little for the exchange.]

18.Nxf6 Nxe4 19.Nxe4+ Kg8 20.Bf4 Ng6 21.Ng5 Bd7 After all the excitement, an even endgame emerged.

22.Be3 b6 23.Bd4 Rf8 24.Rxf8+ Nxf8 25.Kd2 Ne6 26.Nxe6 Bxe6 27.a3 Rf7 28.h4 Bf5 29.c3 c5 30.Be3 Ke6 31.Bf4 Be4 32.g3 Bf3 33.Ke3 Bd1 34.Kd2 Bf3 35.Ke3 Bd1 36.Kd2 Bf3 ½–½

This result left Sam Sevian and Ilya Nyzhnyk tied for first place. The rules provided for a rapid playoff. Sevian defeated Nyzhnyk by a 2-0 score.

Tiebreak games


In the B group, Christopher Repka and Abhimanyu Mishra were sharing the lead before the final day of play. Repka lost in the final round to Lithuanian Grandmaster Titas Stremavicius, while the youngest grandmaster in history managed to defeat Christoper Yoo.

The 13-year-old Abhimanyu thus won the B tournament with an impressive 7 out of 9 score, and a 2735 Tournament Rating Performance. 

Final standings - A group


All games - A group


Final standings - B group


All games - B group



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


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