U.S. Championships: Yip and Tokhirjonona keep on winning

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
10/13/2023 – While two consecutive rounds ended with draws on all six boards in the U.S. Championship, three players got win after win in the U.S. Women’s Championship. Co-leaders Carissa Yip and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova have each grabbed three full points in a row to remain tied for first, while Alice Lee has in fact collected four back-to-back victories to climb to shared second place. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Two streaky co-leaders and a dangerous chaser

Only four players have positive scores in the U.S. Women’s Championship, and two of them have a 1½-point lead over the other two.

Co-leaders Carissa Yip and Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova have each collected five wins and two draws to reach an impressive 6/7 score with four rounds to go in Saint Louis. Tied for second are Irina Krush and Alice Lee. Krush is undefeated but has only grabbed two wins, while Lee, drew in the first round, lost two games in a row and has now obtained four consecutive wins to catch the 8-time national champion.

On Thursday, Yip, Tokhirjonova and Lee all won with the white pieces. Yip played a topical Sicilian sacrifice in her game against Thalia Cervantes.

Grabbing the knight with 15...exd5, which is the strongest move in the position, leads to wild complications, with Black most likely needing to place her king on d8 to deal with White’s threats. Cervantes thought for 10 minutes and replied by 15...Nc5 instead, and Yip handled her edge in the ensuing middlegame proficiently.

The final position featured multiple pins.

Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova

Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Round 7 results

Standings after round 7

All games

Caruana still sole leader

All games finished drawn for a second consecutive round in the open championship, which means Fabiano Caruana continues to be the sole leader with a plus-three score.

In sole second place stands Hans Niemann, who is set to face Ray Robson with black in Friday’s eighth round. Sharing third place a half point back are super-GMs Wesley So and Leinier Dominguez. Both So and Dominguez will also have the black pieces in the last round before the second rest day.

Round 8 will see the leader facing Sam Shankland, surely a dangerous opponent.

Ray Robson, Fabiano Caruana

A 58-move draw was signed in the game between Ray Robson and Fabiano Caruana in the seventh round | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Round 7 results

Standings after round 7

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.