Day 4 in Rancho Mirage: Invitationals End; 6-Day Begins

Open

The field nearly tripled in size yesterday as the six-day schedule of the U.S. Open kicked off with numerous titled players joining the fray. Playing at the classical time control, these 175 entrants will play two games today and the ensuing two days, finally merging with the traditional schedule before Friday night’s seventh round.

On the second board, GM Daniel Naroditsky executed a flawless miniature against his 1890-rated opponent from Idaho. It is as of yet unclear whether he will play a 250-game hyper-bullet match with Firouzja the night before any of his games, but seeing the popular educational streamer put on a clinic over the board is always a delight.
 


 

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GM Daniel Naroditsky calculating at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski
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GM Daniel Naroditsky calculating at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski


In the traditional nine-day schedule, only two remain unbeaten. Unsurprisingly, GM Elshan Moradiabadi is still unscathed, but 2026-rated John Luger is also on 4/4 after an upset win over John Langreck.
 


Speaking of upsets —one of the joys of covering the Open is that there are plenty of upset draws and wins to talk about. Here’s one from the first round of the six-day, where Black overcame a nearly 500 point rating different to pull out the win!
 

 

Quads and Committees

In addition to the full day of classical chess, the U.S. Open quads will continue for a third day. Yesterday saw nine quads, including two strong quads with players rated over 2000. For even faster chess enthusiasts, today is also the National G/15 championship.

Committee meetings also begin today, including the Rules, Communications, Scholastic, and Fair Play committees.
 

Invitationals

Tuesday was scholarship day in Rancho Mirage. The first-place finisher in each of the scholastic invitational events will receive a $5,000 scholarship to their choice of an institute of higher learning. Second and third place finishers will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Details on these and other awards can be found on all event webpages (USChess.org-->Play-->National State Invitationals) and in the opening/closing ceremony program. The top five finishers also receive cash prizes.

While there was no scholarship money set aside for the winners of the Irwin Tournament of Senior Champions, there were larger cash prizes for the top five finishers. As a result, the battles for second and third place took on as much, and in some cases more, significance than the fight for first.
 

Denker

Following the old tiebreak adage of ‘lose last, laugh last,’ tournament leader Georgia’s IM Arthur Guo drew his final game against Ohio’s FM Jason Wang to win first place on tiebreaks. By not losing any games, Guo had stronger pairings throughout the tournament than his rivals, meaning tiebreaks would likely come out in his favor were he to draw his final game. Indeed, after failing to find anything concrete on the attacking side of a sharp Ragozin, Guo took the draw and, fortunately for him, the math played out in his favor.
 


Northern Californian GM Andrew Hong and Arizonian FM Sandeep Sethuraman each won their final round games to finish second and third, respectively, on tiebreaks. Hong beat Washington’s IM Anthony He in a fascinating, trendy line of the Caro-Kann favored by neural net engines. Hong showed excellent understanding of a queen-less middle-game, winning in only 28 moves.
 


Sethuraman beat New York’s FM Nico Chasin in an admirably slow, patient grind where Chasin, down a pawn in the rook endgame, was objectively drawn for quite a while. But, knowing there was no need to hurry, and with scholarship money on the line, Sethuraman pushed until he found a narrow window of opportunity.
 


 

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Denker Winners (L to R) IM Arthur Guo, GM Andrew Hong, FM Sandeep Sethuraman at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski
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Denker Winners (L to R) IM Arthur Guo, GM Andrew Hong, FM Sandeep Sethuraman at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski


Haring

FM Ruiyang Yan, the Northern Californian who entered the final round as the only player on a perfect score across all the invitationals, happily drew Oregonian WFM Zoey Tang to claim clear first.
 


 

Tang took second in tiebreaks over North Carolina’s Asha Kumar, a 1948-rated player who finished on 5/6 ahead of many Experts and Masters by outplaying WFM Gracy Prasanna in a positional Mar Del Plata King’s Indian Defense.
 


 

Barber

Representing New York, Brewington Hardaway put a stop to Kansas’s Vaseegaran Nandhakumar impressive run of upsets to take home clear first with 5½/6. Playing with the black pieces, Hardaway created problems for Vaseegaran’s Catalan queenside pawns right out of the opening and, despite attempting to create problems deep into the endgame, Vaseegaran was unable to ever equalize.
 


Pennsylvanian FM Erick Zhao finished in clear second with 5/6 after drawing Floridian FM Bach Ngo. Zhao had a promising position in a theoretical line of the Three-Knights Grunfeld, but was unable to convert. Ngo edged out Vaseegaran on tiebreaks to take home the third place prize. 
 


 

 

Rockefeller

Top seeds Andrew Jiang from Georgia, and Benjamin Tang, the Southern California representative, finally met for a last-round showdown that could determine clear first. But after agreeing to an early draw, Jiang won first on tiebreaks.
 


 

The draw also allowed New York’s Sam Luger to join the three-way tie atop the standings with 5/6, finishing third on tiebreaks by beating North Carolina’s Krishna Rallabandi. 
 


 

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Rockefeller Winners (L to R) Andrew Jiang, Benjamin Tang, and Sam Luger at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski
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Rockefeller Winners (L to R) Andrew Jiang, Benjamin Tang, and Sam Luger at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski


Irwin

Texas’s IM Douglas Root, a fixture on the top boards throughout the entire event, needed only a draw against Oregon’s GM James Tarjan to claim at least a share of first. He achieved this without much difficulty, and with the best tiebreaks, Root is in line to play in the 2023 U.S. Senior Championship.
 

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IM Douglas Root at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski
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IM Douglas Root at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski


This result allowed southern California’s GM Enrico Sevillano to catch up to Root on 5/6 with a win over Illinois’s Steven Szpisjak.
 


 

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GM Enrico Sevillano and Steven Szpisjak do battle at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski
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GM Enrico Sevillano and Steven Szpisjak do battle at the 2022 U.S. Open. Photo: Mark Cieslikowski


With the draw, Tarjan finished on 4½/6, which was good enough for a three-way tie for third alongside South Carolina’s IM Alexander Matros and Connecticut’s GM Sergey Kudrin.


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