American Cup Recap: Lee, So Survive Elimination Brackets

Image Caption
courtesy Crystal Fuller/SLCC


With the second day of the Grand Finals coming to a close in the 2024 American Cup, it's time to look back at several key matches from the Elimination Brackets that led to IM Alice Lee setting her "threematch" against GM Irina Krush and GM Wesley So getting a shot at GM Levon Aronian. 


Image Caption
courtesy SLCC


A number of matches had to go into "overtime" blitz playoffs, including the match between IM Nazi Paikidze and FM Jennifer Yu that required no fewer than six (!!) blitz games (after the four regulation rapid games) to find a winner. The complicated tone was set from the outset in game one:



Annotations on the rest of the rapid games, and the final blitz games, are available in the chapters beginning here


Image Caption
courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC


The rematch between Lee and WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova also lived up to the hype. Determined not to go down as quickly as last time, Tokhirjonova kicked things off with her fist win over Lee of the tournament:



From there, how did Lee manage to bounce back? See for yourself starting here


courtesy SLCC


In the Open, we saw several more come-from-behind matches. First, GM Leinier Dominguez kicked off his match against Caruana with a lovely win:



But, from there, Caruana regained his footing, even winning on demand in a Berlin endgame before taking the lead for good with some nice blitz endgame play.

Caruana then came out strong in the Elimination Bracket semifinal, tricking So in a complicated endgame:



From there, one imprecise move was enough for So to even the score before taking the lead for good when Caruana missed a clever way to force a perpetual check. This set up an Elimination rematch between So and Robson in the finals. At first, it looked like Robson was just going to pick up where he left off:



But after winning a fine strategic game, So turned the tables by out-Robson-ing Robson in a tactical melee:



Stay tuned tomorrow for recaps on the finals of the Winners Bracket and the Grand Final. 


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Annotated games

This year's coverage on Chess Life Online

Last year's coverage on Chess Life Online