Caruana Clinches Second Consecutive U.S. Championship with Round to Spare, Yip Overtakes Tokhirjonova

The penultimate round of the 2023 U.S. Championships saw a drastic shift in the course of events. In the Open, GM Fabiano Caruana completed his fantastic run with a classical victory over the youngest participant, GM Abhimanyu Mishra.


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Experience versus youth (courtesy Lennart Ootes, SLCC)


Mishra, who actually could have caught up with Caruana should he have won the game, fell victim of a one-move bad judgement of a position, after which Caruana showed his class and mercilessly turned his advantage to a full point:



The only other two players who had a chance to catch up with Caruana were GMs Wesley So and Leinier Dominguez. So had far more chances than Dominguez given that he still had a game against Caruana (with the white pieces!) to look forward to. Things seemed to go Wesley’s way , since he obtained the upper hand against Hans Niemann, but he missed his chances at this point:



The games Robson–Dominguez, and Xiong–Sevian were clinical draws while the dejected GM Sam Shankland fell victim of early blunder in an Italian and ended up losing his second consecutive game at the hands of GM Levon Aronian:



We cannot wrap up round ten in the open section, without mentioning the trailing GM Andrew Tang’s victory over GM Dariusz Swiercz. After being worse out of the opening, Andrew defended fiercely and equalized. Swiercz got adventurous and at one point he only had one move to maintain equality, after failing to find the move below, Tang masterfully turned his attack into a full point:




In the women’s section, all the eyes were on Krush–Tokhirjonova and Zatonskih–Yip.


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Yip shared the lead from rounds two through eight before relinquishing it in round nine. She is now in a "win-and-in" position with a half-point lead headed into the final round (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Zatonskih is ready to forget this event already as despite the good outcome of the opening — where she was even winning at one point — Anna got into a serious time pressure and went down against Yip without much of a fight.



With the hefty score of 8½/10, usually one would have won the event with a round to spare, but this year’s championship is a two-horse race. WGM Gulrukhbegim ‘Begim’ Tokhirjanova is also having a fantastic run and, before this round, she was sitting at the whopping 8/9 in clear first.


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After numerous escapes and dazzling finishes, Begim Tokhirjonova almost pulled off another improbable result in round 10, and the title is still not out of reach (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


However, round ten was not her day as she went down at the hands of eight-time US champion, Irina Krush, who after this win sits on the tie for the third place with 6.5/10. In this game, Tokhirjonova was dead-lost out of the opening, but fought her way back and achived a balanced ending, when things seemed to settle down to a draw, a blunder left Begim two pawns down, after which Krush had no problem to win the game with ease.



While the race for the title remains wide open, with Yip leading Tokhirjonova by a half-point, it is worthwhile to mention that FM Alice Lee made a full comeback after a shaky start at an only ½/3. With a gain of 11 Elo under her belt, Alice needs to win tomorrow to secure at least a tie for third. Yip and Tokhirjonova will also both have the white pieces, against FM Ruiyang Yan and WGM Jennifer Yu respectively. 


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courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios


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courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios

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Just consulted "Google Translate", under "Uzbek", and found "Begim". It means "My Lady" -:+)!

"Gul" is "flower", Not sure what "rukh" is, in Uzbek. But in Indian (Hindi?), it's "boat". Nice, huh?

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