US Ch: Wesley So's endgame squeeze

by André Schulz
3/22/2019 – In the second round of the US Championships, Wesley So showed flashes of brilliance against Timur Gareyev, giving a master class in the endgame with rook and knight against rook and knight. Just when everyone thought it was a draw, that's when the struggle really began. So now leads alongside Sam Sevian and Jeffrey Xiong. Carissa Yip and Jennifer Yu in the Women's Championship are now the only two players in either tournament to remain with a perfect score. | Photo: Justin Kellar

Opening package: 1.b3 and Black Secrets in the Modern Italian Opening package: 1.b3 and Black Secrets in the Modern Italian

Wesley So published two new opening DVDs: 1.b3, the so called Nimzo-Larsen-Attack, for White and his black secrets in the modern Italian. Get them in a package and save money!


Let's go Bogo vs So

In the second round of the US championship Timur Gareyev met Wesley So, the 2017 winner and one of the favorites, and "surprised" chess fans by playing a completely "normal" opening: the Bogo-Indian defense.

The former US Champion failed to achieve a significant advantage in either the opening or middlegame against the unpredictable Uzbek. 

Gareyev arrives

Flying in: Gareyev turns heads with his chess attire | Photo: Justin Kellar


So against Gareyev | Photo: Lennart Ootes

When a perfectly balanced endgame with a rook and a knight against rook and knight arose, you'd be forgiven for expecting an imminent handshake. But you'd be wrong!


We're not heading for a draw? Nope! In fact, now the game became really interesting. A few moves later this position was on the board. 


The task certainly has become more difficult for Black, though not impossible. But now his opponent shocked him with 47.♘f6! When the black rook moves, 48.g8 follows and the f8-knight is lost. After 47...xf6 (47....gxf6 48.g7) 48.xf8 e7 49.f7+ Gareyev played ♚d6. Far better is 49...e8 with good drawing chances. The game continued with 50.xg7 xh5 and now 51.d7+!, after which the g-pawn cannot be stopped. The resulting position with e6-pawn rook against the queen was not holdable for Black.

Wesley So discusses his epic endgame win | Saint Louis Chess Club YouTube

Sam Sevian also joined the leaders getting his first win of the tournament against Awonder Liang. After castling on opposite wings, both sides were attacking but White landed the first blow.


Actually, here White missed his chance to drop the hammer with 33.Nf6+! deciding the game on the spot. The king, denuded of defenders, won't survive for long. However, he first played 33.g1 and after 33...xe5 34.dxe5e2 35.g4 g6 36.f6+ h8 37.e4 went into a promising endgame. 

Sevian looking worried

"Did you hand in your phone, Sam?" — Cristian Chirila (not really) | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Results of Round 2


All games


Standings after Round 2


Women's Championship

In the women's championship, unlike yesterday — a true bloodbath — this time there were also "only" two decisive games. First, Carissa Yip won with Black against Akshita Gorti in unconventional fashion.


White gave up after 23...f5. But why? Gorti had missed that after 24.c1 and xb1 she has 25.f3 d3 26.a5 regaining the material.

Jennifer Yu also won against Ashrita Eswaran as Yu better handled the tactics in a complicated middlegame. Yip and Yu now lead the field with two wins.

Yip and Wang

Yip and Annie Wang | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Results of Round 2


Standings after Round 2


All games


Commentary webcast


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


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