US Championships: Yip scores third win in a row

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
10/15/2021 – For the first time in this year’s US Championship, a round finished with all six games drawn, which means Wesley So, Sam Sevian and Aleksandr Lenderman are still sharing the lead going into the second rest day of the event. Meanwhile, in the women’s tournament, Carissa Yip kept the sole lead by scoring her third consecutive victory. Katerina Nemcova is in second place, a half point back, as she also won her round-8 encounter. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Nemcova undefeated in second place

A bit over half the games in this year’s US Women’s Championship have finished with decisive results (26 out of 48). Given this rather high percentage, it is not surprising that only one of the twelve participants has managed to remain undefeated after eight rounds: Katerina Nemcova, who kicked off the event with two straight wins, is yet to lose a game in the tournament. Nonetheless, she currently stands a half point behind Carissa Yip, who has won five games and lost once up to this point.

With three rounds left to play, it seems unlikely that any player other than Yip, Nemcova or Irina Krush — who is in third place, a half point behind Nemcova — becomes the 2021 US women’s champion. Two direct encounters between the three frontrunners will be played between Saturday and Monday: Krush will face Nemcova with white in round 9, while Yip will also have white against Nemcova in Monday’s final round.

Katerina Nemcova

Katerina Nemcova | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Playing black against Sabina Foisor, Yip saw her opponent starting to think very early in the game. Nonetheless, Foisor’s decision to allow for an exchange of bishop for knight on move 12 was still part of theory.


12.Qd2 gave way to 12...Nxf4 13.gxf4, which was followed by the novelty 13...Bd7. This dynamic position needs to be handled carefully by White, who has weakened her structure and given her opponent the bishop pair. Foisor could not take advantage of the trumps in her position, though, as Yip continued to play confidently, increasing her advantage on the clock.

Eventually, both players got a passed pawn on the queenside, but Black was quicker


White’s a-pawn is on the seventh rank, but Yip can now win the game with 43...Rxe1+, and in case of 44.Kxe1 (the white rook is pinned), Black has mate with 44...Qc1+ 45.Qxc1 bxc1Q#. Foisor played 44.Kg2 instead, and resigned after 44...Ra1 45.Re1 Qa6.

US Women's Chess Championship 2021

Will Carissa Yip get her first (of potentially many) national title at 18? | Photo: Bryan Adams

Standings after round 8


All games


All the games finished drawn in the open section for the first time in the event, but none of them lasted fewer than 39 moves.

At some point, Fabiano Caruana seemed to be slightly in trouble after going for a double-edged opening against Jeffery Xiong, while in the longest game of the day, co-leader Aleksandr Lenderman played a pawn down in a rook endgame for over 40 moves against Dariusz Swiercz.


In this crucial position, Lenderman, playing black, spent almost 15 minutes assessing whether 48...h5 was called for here. He correctly evaluated that exchanging the pawn was the best way to fight for a draw, but needed to show proper technique until move 69 when the point was split in a stalemate position.



Friday is a rest day in Saint Louis. The tense event will be decided by Monday (or Tuesday, if a playoff is needed). It is very likely that Sunday’s penultimate round will be crucial in the fight for first place, as current co-leaders Sam Sevian and Wesley So play each other, and Lenderman faces the ever-dangerous Caruana, who still has an outside shot at the title

Aleksandr Lenderman, Sam Sevian

Aleksandr Lenderman and Sam Sevian are sharing first place with Wesley So going into the last three rounds of the championship | Photo: Crystal Fuller

Standings after round 8


All games



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.


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