U.S. Championships: Winning streaks

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
10/13/2022 – An exciting round in both sections of the U.S. Championships saw 9 out of 14 games ending decisively. In the open, Fabiano Caruana, Ray Robson (pictured) and Dariusz Swiercz grabbed second consecutive wins, while Leinier Dominguez scored his first full point after merely ten moves! In the women’s section, Megan Lee defeated Jennifer Yu and is now sharing the lead with Irina Krush. | Photo: Austin Fuller

ChessBase 17 - Mega package ChessBase 17 - Mega package

ChessBase is a personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it.

More...

Caruana keeps on winning

It has been seven rounds of exciting chess at the U.S. Championships in Saint Louis, and the 28 participants have only reached the equator of the event. Anish Giri described it best.

With six rounds to go (the tournament runs until October 19), Fabiano Caruana has a full-point lead over Ray Robson, who stands in sole second place ahead of a 4-player pack. Both Caruana and Robson scored full points on Tuesday and Wednesday, much like Dariusz Swiercz, who lost against the sole leader in round 3 but now has a +1 score after beating higher-rated players back-to-back. 

In a round that saw four players winning with white in the open, Leinier Dominguez needed only 10 moves to collect his first victory of the event — following six draws.

 

This position arose out of a Petroff Defence. Elshan Moradiabadi, who is having a rough time in Saint Louis, fell for a trap not unknown to strong players with 8...0-0. After 9.cxd5 Qxd5 10.Bxe4, both possible captures lose material for Black.

 

10...Qxe4 fails to 11.Re1 and the bishop on e7 falls, while 10...Bxe4 is bad due to 11.Nc3 first, followed by the same attack with the rook along the e-file. Moradiabadi decided to call it a day right there and then.

Leinier Dominguez

Leinier Dominguez | Photo: Lennart Ootes

While Dominguez had a short day at the office — a particularly relevant asset amid such a long tournament — Robson scored a crucial win over rating favourite Wesley So. With this win, the 27-year-old climbed to sole second place and crossed the 2700-rating barrier in the live ratings list. Notably, he has never crossed 2700 in an official rating list, as he has remained within the 2640-2690 bracket since November 2014!

Moreover, Robson got to beat a 3-time U.S. champion in style.

 

So’s 20...cxd5 was a mistake (20...Qe7 was the only move in the position), as the central capture allowed 21.Bh7+ Kh8 22.Bf5 Ne5 (what else?) 23.f4

 

All forcing moves for White as he steamrolls Black’s kingside!

The straightforward sequence continued with 23...Ng6 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Nxf7+ Qxf7 26.Bxg6, and Black is doomed.

 

The queen is ready to infiltrate on h4, while the rook will join the attack via the g-file. So resigned the game nine moves later, and a level-headed Robson later confessed that he was “a little bit surprised by how well the game went for me”.

Ray Robson, Wesley So

Ray Robson and Wesley So | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Caruana’s victory over Aleksandr Lenderman was not as straightforward, as the latter fell for a tactical trick in a middlegame position with six major pieces still on the board, which led to Caruana simplifying into a winning rook endgame. 

While Caruana has been needing to work hard to collect full points throughout the tournament, Swiercz got a second stylish win in a row — after beating Levon Aronian (rated 2755) in the previous round, he needed only 28 moves to defeat Hans Niemann (2699) on Wednesday.

 

Niemann resigned here after failing to resort to a defensive approach once he found himself in an inferior position early in the middlegame. 

The string of higher-rated opponents continues for Swiercz, who will have the black pieces against So in Thursday’s eighth round.

Dariusz Swiercz, Hans Niemann

Dariusz Swiercz defeated Hans Niemann | Photo: Lennart Ootes

All results - Round 7

 

Standings after round 7

 

All games

 

 

Megan Lee takes down Jennifer Yu

Following the trend seen in the open section, Megan Lee grabbed a second consecutive win to climb to shared first place in the women’s event. In a key matchup, the young entrepreneur (she runs Snipett Studios) defeated former co-leader Jennifer Yu with the white pieces.

 

Yu’s aggressive approach in a setup with kings castled on opposite sides backfired, as her opponent got to simplify into a clearly winning ending in the diagrammed position — 35.Qxb8+ Qxb8 36.Re8+ Rf8 37.Rxb8 Rxb8 38.Re8+ Rxe8 39.Bxe8 Kg8 40.cxb3, and White is two pawns up in the minor-piece endgame.

 

The game lasted 23 more moves, but the result was never in doubt.

Megan Lee

Megan Lee | Photo: Lennart Ootes

No fewer than five games finished decisively in the women’s section. Remarkably, Ashritha Eswaran, who lost three out of her four first games in Saint Louis, scored a third consecutive win and is now sharing sixth place on a fifty-percent score.

Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, Rochelle Wu and 2-time U.S. women’s champion Nazi Paikidze also collected full points in round 7.

A highlight of round 8 will be the confrontation between two players on an upward trajectory, Megan Lee and Ashritha Eswaran.

Ashritha Eswaran

Ashritha Eswaran | Photo: Austin Fuller

All results - Round 7

 

Standings after round 7

 

All games

 

 

Links


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
Discussion and Feedback Submit your feedback to the editors