Form is Paramount in Round Four of U.S. Championships

With four rounds completed at the 2023 U.S. Championships, we’ve seen enough games to have some idea of who will be fighting for the coveted titles and spots to play in the strongest tournament in American Chess. As players at the top exchange blows, the events are shaping up to be more exciting than ever!




In round four, the players apparently were out for blood, as the day ended with 5 decisive games. We saw the leader, GM Andrew Hong take the white pieces in a critical matchup against chaser GM Abhimanyu Mishra.


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The face of focus (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


With Hong looking to cement his spot at the top of the leaderboard and Mishra looking to blow the tournament wide open, the game was shaping up to be a classic. With this win with the black pieces, Mishra continues to prove his strength and looks to take home his first-ever U.S. Junior Championship.



While we had tactics flourishing, there were also a fair share of positional masterclasses, as GM Brandon Jacobson displayed his class in an isolated queen’s pawn (IQP) endgame against FM Arthur Xu.



Jacobson joins the pack of leaders alongside Mishra and IM Arthur Guo. Mishra and Guo will take white in their games against IM Jason Liang and IM Josiah Stearman, respectively. Jacobson plays black against GM Balaji Daggupati.





By contrast, in the Senior Championship, we saw the leaders show why they were at the top, further widening their gaps with the only decisive results. They couldn’t have done it in more different ways.


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Khachiyan is back at it (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


GM Melikset Khachiyan pumped the accelerator on his kingside initiative to blow apart GM Gurevich’s defenses.



GM Maxim Dlugy outplaying fellow American legend GM Alexander Shabalov in yet another extremely instructive IQP endgame.



In round five, the leaders will go head-to-head, with Khachiyan taking the white pieces.





In the Girls’, the leaders clashed in a heavily tactical game. Both FM Alice Lee and FM Zoey Tang were looking to establish themselves as the clear leaders, but only one could prevail.


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Alice Lee in the lee-ad (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Tang went for the sharpest possible line, starting a kingside initiative, but Lee defended accurately, and went on to take advantage of the weaknesses left behind to clinch an important victory and take a full-point lead going into Round five.



Like in the Senior, there was only one other decisive game, and here it was WIM Iris Mou bouncing back with a win over Rose Atwell. Atwell held a strong kingside initiative for most of the game, until Mou turned the tide with strong queenside piece play to eventually break through and score her first victory of the tournament.



Lee takes on FM Rochelle Wu next. In addition to Wu, both Tang and IM Carissa Yip look to join Lee with a “plus score” in their games against Atwell and WFM Gracy Prasanna, respectively.

Round five begins today, July 19, at 1:00 p.m. CST. Then, the players will take a well-deserved rest on Friday before resuming play over the weekend.

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