2022 U.S. Championships, Round 4: Experience and Youth

After the upsets saturating the first three rounds of the 2022 U.S. Championships, Saturday’s fourth round seemed like a quiet return to normalcy — ratings generally bore predictive power, and experience tended to beat youth.

Just another day in Saint Louis?

Look a bit closer, and you’ll realize that chess fans enjoyed a captivating round of chess: there was an enormous number of interesting moments, many lurking beneath the surface and visible only after computer analysis.

 

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2022 US Ch Rd04 Standings
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios

 

In the Open Championship, GM Fabiano Caruana defeated GM Hans Niemann with the Black pieces to seize the sole lead at 3/4.

 

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Niemann versus Caruana
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Crystal Fuller

 

Niemann played a solid opening but allowed Caruana to free his position and surround Niemann’s passed d-pawn. The teenager fought back from an awful position but missed a chance to simplify into a drawn rook ending:

 

 

Proving that poor starts mean little in such a long tournament, GM Wesley So won a crucial game against GM Sam Shankland and returned to an even score.

 

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So wins against Shankland
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Lennart Ootes

 

So’s prophylactic play was visually appealing and led to an attractive finish:

 

 

15-year-old superstar Christopher Yoo has been having a spectacular tournament so far but found himself on the back foot in today’s game against GM Alex Lenderman. Lenderman’s Catalan proved remarkably effective, but Yoo nevertheless had chances to defend even after time control. One final mistake, however, ended his hopes to fight back:

 

 


 

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2022 US Womens Ch Rd 04 standings
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courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios

 

In the Women’s championship, early tournament leader WIM Megan Lee fell to four-time champion IM Anna Zatonskih.

 

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IM Anna Zatonskih
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Lennart Ootes

 

Curiously, Lee's defeat stemmed from a pawn move symmetric to Yoo’s in the game above. The circumstances were somewhat different, but the result was the same:

 

 

As a result, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan was able to jump into shared first place with a well-controlled victory against WGM Sabina Foisor.

 

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Abrahamyan and Foisor
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Lennart Ootes

 

Abrahamyan took the full point after Foisor erred on the dreaded 40th move:

 

 

Abrahamyan is joined by WGM Jennifer Yu (who had the rare chance to deliver mate on the board against WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki) and by WIM Alice Lee. The latter was the one young player to escape today’s overall trend, drawing another junior – WIM Ruiyang Yan.

 

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GM Irina Krush
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Lennart Ootes

 

Last but not least, GM Irina Krush found her form against WIM Ashrita Eswaran, playing patiently to win a slightly better ending. The eight-time champion now moves up to 2½/4, only half a point behind the leaders.

 

 

One more round remains to be played before the players take a well-deserved rest day. Two top-level clashes await us in the Open: Caruana vs. So (playing on his birthday) and Dominguez vs. Niemann. In the Women’s, all eyes will be on Tokhirjonova vs. Krush and (Megan) Lee vs. Abrahamyan.

One of the recent novelties in St. Louis is the introduction of a “no-draw” rule, meaning that the players cannot agree to a draw. While a majority of games in this Championship have nevertheless been drawn (roughly 54% as of Round 4, by my count), and players intent on making a draw will always find ways to do so, the number of truly compelling games has been a pleasant surprise. My only hope is that all the drama remains strictly on the board…



PAIRINGS, ROUND 5

OPEN

Liang – Aronian
Yoo – Sevian
Xiong – Lenderman
Shankland – Moradiabadi
Caruana – So
Dominguez Perez – Niemann
Robson – Swiercz

WOMEN’S

Foisor – Yu
M. Lee – Abrahamyan
Eswaran – Zatonskih
Tokhirjonova – Krush
Cervantes Landeiro – Paikidze
Yan – Wu
Morris-Suzuki – A. Lee


Quick links:

 

Daily Livestream (1:30pm Central)

YouTube
Twitch

 

U.S. Championship

Main page
Field
Pairings and results

 

US Women’s Championship

Main page
Field
Pairings and results

 

Live Games

Lichess
Open | Women

Chess.com
Open | Women

Chess24
Open | Women

 

Annotated games from Chess Life Online

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