US Seniors: Khachiyan prevails in duel of co-leaders

by André Schulz
7/20/2023 – Melikset Khachiyan, a former coach of Levon Aronian, won the clash of co-leaders in round 5 of the US Seniors Championship as he beat Maxim Dlugy with white to take the sole lead in the standings. In the Junior Championships the leaders could not extend their leads. To the contrary, the fields are now closer together, both in the open and the girls’ sections. | Photo: Austin Fuller / Saint Louis Chess Club

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Khachiyan beats Dlugy

The fifth round of the US Senior Championship, taking place at the Saint Louis Chess Club, saw former co-leaders Melikset Khachiyan and Maksim Dlugy facing each other in the marquee encounter of the day. Both players had collected 3½ points in the previous four rounds.

Melikset had the white pieces and quickly launched a spirited kingside attack out of a Colle Opening. The strategy worked wonders.

Melikset Khachiyan is not that well-known outside the United States. He was born in 1970 into an Armenian family in Baku. Khachiyan played in a few tournaments, but put his own career on hold in the 1990s in favour of his activities as chess coach in Armenia and Moldova. His pupils included Almira Skripchenko, whom he coached until 1992; Elina Danielian, with whom he worked from 1991 to 1994; and Levon Aronian, whom he coached from 1991 to 1997.

In 2001 Khachiyan immigrated to the United States and took the US World Youth Champions Steven Zierk, Kayden Troff and Annie Wang under his wing. The Carnegie Corporation honoured Melikset Khachiyan as a ‘Great Immigrant’ in 2013.

Khachiyan has also held the title of Grandmaster since 2006.

It was a very lively round in the Seniors Championship, with three more games ending decisively. Alexander Shabalov scored a big win against rating favourite Vladimir Akopian. Dmitry Gurevich beat Douglas Root, while Patrick Wolff only needed 28 moves to get the better of Igor Novikov.

Alexander Shabalov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Standings - Round 5

All games

Juniors: Three draws and two wins in each event

In the Juniors Championship, Abhimanyu Mishra, Brandon Jacobson and Arthur Guo entered the fifth round as the leading trio. None of the three youngsters, however, could make up any additional ground. Guo missed a win against Josiah Stearman, while Abhimanyu faced a very well-prepared Jason Liang and also scored half a point.

Jacobson lost his game against Balaji Daggupati after running into mate in a difficult position. This gave Andrew Hong the opportunity to catch the leaders thanks to his victory with black over Arthur Xu.

Andrew Hong | Photo: Austin Fuller

In the Girls’ Championship, Alice Lee could not manage more than a draw against Rochelle Wu. With her win over Gracey Prasanna, Carissa Yip joined the 3-player chasing group standing a full point behind the early leader.

Carissa Yip | Photo: Bryan Adams

Standings - Round 5 (Juniors)

All games - Juniors

Standings - Round 5 (Girls)

All games - Girls


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