History in the Making?

With only one round remaining, the race is heating up in Cherry Hill.

The race for second place, that is.

GM Aleksandr Lenderman now stands a full point ahead of the field at a perfect 8/8 after his smooth victory over GM John Michael Burke, who had been hot on Lenderman’s heels for several days leading up to this encounter.

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Open"] [Site "Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA"] [Date "2021.08.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Lenderman, Aleksandr"] [Black "Burke, John Michael"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2607"] [BlackElo "2554"] [Annotator "Lang"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:32:15"] [BlackClock "0:04:07"] {[%evp 0,112,19,29,23,27,34,4,7,13,32,6,36,11,27,1,20,18,28,11,10,11,14,3,11, 11,30,-13,4,-18,15,13,73,85,66,67,84,122,124,134,199,146,189,171,200,181,213, 211,206,206,187,150,180,170,194,200,193,165,162,135,127,121,121,116,120,108, 122,127,127,115,120,115,116,116,105,117,113,147,189,191,192,192,198,144,132, 148,148,149,161,162,265,319,408,450,450,418,450,450,450,422,450,422,422,422, 422,422,445,442,442,446,465,474,472,471,463]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. e3 b6 5. Bd3 Bb7 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 O-O 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Ba3 c5 10. Nc3 Nbd7 11. Nb5 Bb8 12. Rc1 Ne4 13. Qe2 Re8 14. Nc3 cxd4 15. Nxd4 Qh4 $6 {Headed in the wrong direction} (15... a6 16. f4 {would provide white nothing without the misplaced queen} Nef6 $14) 16. f4 a6 17. Bxe4 dxe4 18. Nf5 $1 {Exploiting the queen's position to develop a substantial attack, all on the difference of one tempo} Qf6 19. Qg4 Nc5 20. Bxc5 bxc5 21. Nxg7 Qxg7 22. Qd7 Ba7 23. Qxb7 c4 24. Nd5 Reb8 25. Qc6 cxb3 26. axb3 Kh8 27. Kh1 Rg8 28. Rc2 Rad8 29. Nf6 {From here, white calmly simplifies and converts the extra pawn} Rgf8 30. Nxe4 Bxe3 31. Qxa6 Bxf4 32. Rxf4 Rd1+ 33. Rf1 Qg6 34. Qe2 Rxf1+ 35. Qxf1 Qxe4 36. Rc4 Qe5 37. b4 Rb8 38. h3 Kg7 39. Rg4+ Kf8 40. Rf4 Rb7 41. b5 Ra7 42. Rb4 Ra3 43. Qd1 Ra1 $6 (43... Ke7 {black's best practical chance, relying on tricks and hopes of queens on the open board after} 44. b6 Rd3 $1 45. Qxd3 Qe1+ 46. Kh2 Qxb4 47. Qe3+ Kd7 48. Kg3 f5 49. Kf3 Qc4 50. Kf2 {asking white how to advance the pawn without succumbing to a perpetual, although after} Qd5 51. Qh6 {the odds are still in white's favor.}) 44. Rb1 Ra3 45. b6 Rxh3+ 46. gxh3 Qe4+ 47. Kg1 Qe3+ 48. Kg2 Qe4+ 49. Kf2 Qh4+ 50. Ke3 Qh6+ 51. Kd4 Qd6+ 52. Kc4 Qc6+ 53. Kb4 Qxb6+ 54. Ka3 Qc5+ 55. Rb4 Qc3+ 56. Rb3 Qa5+ 57. Kb2 Qe5+ 58. Rc3 Qb5+ 59. Qb3 Qe2+ 60. Rc2 {1-0 Black resigns.} 1-0 [/pgn]

A draw today will suffice for clear first, but a perfect nine for nine would be quite remarkable. Going through the archives back to 1994, nobody has won the open with a perfect 9/9 (or 12/12), and only GM Alex Shabalov, in 2015, has gone 8.5/9. In most years, 8/9 suffices for clear first.

[Editor’s note: Jay Kleinman suggests via Twitter that a perfect 9/9 final score would be a first in U.S. Open history.]

Tweet URL

Barring a last-round upset and subsequent tiebreak madness, second place will be a race between IM Viktor Matviishen, GM Benjamin Gledura, and GM Awonder Liang, and GM Hans Niemann, all on 7/8. 

[Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Lenderman had already qualified for the 2022 US Chess Championship via the first-ever online qualifier. In fact, Lenderman had qualified for the 2021 Championship, to be held October 5-19 in St. Louis. Niemann, however, had already qualified for the 2022 Championship via his victory in the US Junior Championship last month.]

Matviishen won a tense game against GM Lazaro Batista where the latter appears to have flagged in an equal position after letting a huge advantage with better pieces slip away with a mistimed rook trade. We do not have clock times for Batista’s last few moves, so it is unclear whether he flagged or resigned in a position with perpetual check available.

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Open"] [Site "Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA"] [Date "2021.08.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Matviishen, Viktor"] [Black "Bruzon Batista, Lazaro"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E10"] [WhiteElo "2510"] [BlackElo "2645"] [Annotator "Lang"] [PlyCount "108"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:32:23"] [BlackClock "0:25:48"] {[%evp 0,108,29,27,34,4,13,13,13,-21,6,6,38,17,7,12,38,5,2,1,-13,-36,-36,-27, 14,-28,-1,-31,-10,-6,-18,-49,-47,-47,-33,-50,-27,-48,-38,-48,-49,-49,-41,-118, -83,-85,-83,-58,-57,-34,-7,-108,-35,-69,-25,-69,-61,-73,-69,-80,-78,-92,-78, -66,-60,-61,-65,-66,-65,-65,-57,-31,-59,-45,-11,-30,-34,-24,-31,-36,0,0,0,0,0, 0,0,0,0,0,46,46,37,58,76,99,99,99,164,209,209,217,225,213,220,220,239,239,239, 0,0]} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bd6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Bxf6 Bxf6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bg2 c6 11. O-O a5 12. e3 Nd7 13. Ne1 Be7 14. Nd3 Nf6 15. Na4 Bd6 16. Rc1 Re8 17. Nac5 h5 18. h4 Re7 19. a3 Bf5 20. Nf4 g6 21. b4 $6 {White is already worse, but the choice to open the a file does not help matters} axb4 22. axb4 Ra2 23. Qb3 Qa8 24. b5 Bxf4 25. exf4 cxb5 26. Qxb5 Kg7 27. Qb6 $2 (27. Nd3 {Pre-empting the attack on f2 was essential}) 27... Ree2 28. Rce1 Rxe1 (28... Rab2 $1 {A nice finesse, defending b7 before trading down} 29. Qd6 Rxe1 30. Rxe1 b6) 29. Rxe1 Ra1 30. Rf1 Rxf1+ $2 {With the trade of the last set of rooks, black's advantage all but evaporates} (30... Qa2 $1 31. Qb3 Qxb3 32. Nxb3 Ra3 33. Nc5 b5 {The pawn is fast and white's position is stagnant }) 31. Bxf1 Qa1 32. Qxb7 Qxd4 33. Qb6 Qa1 34. Nb3 Qb2 35. Qe3 Qb1 36. Nd2 Qd1 37. f3 Bh3 38. Kf2 Bxf1 39. Nxf1 d4 40. Qd2 Qa4 41. f5 Qc4 42. fxg6 fxg6 43. Qe2 Qc5 44. Nd2 d3+ 45. Qe3 Qc3 46. Qe7+ Kg8 47. Qe6+ Kg7 48. Ke3 g5 49. hxg5 Qc5+ 50. Kf4 Nd5+ 51. Ke4 Qe3+ 52. Kxd5 Qxd2 53. Qf6+ Kg8 54. Kd6 Qb4+ { 1-0 Black resigns. Unclear what happened, as black's queen can keep checking after any reply} 1-0 [/pgn]

 

Gledura won a nice queen ending in an all-collegiate match-up against GM-elect Aleksey Sorokin, who held on valiantly until yet another ill-fated rook trade. In a queen and pawn ending similar to what Lenderman-Burke could have been, the 22-year-old Hungarian-born Webster University student held his own against the Russian-born Texas Tech undergrad. 

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Open"] [Site "Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA"] [Date "2021.08.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Gledura, Benjamin"] [Black "Sorokin, Aleksey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2628"] [BlackElo "2532"] [Annotator "Lang"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:13:53"] [BlackClock "0:08:31"] {[%evp 0,91,34,27,29,13,43,33,60,62,62,51,51,51,49,33,33,24,30,32,46,30,43,34, 34,20,42,2,2,4,1,1,1,-1,-7,-7,7,-5,4,-4,-1,0,7,0,-13,2,0,-5,0,-19,0,3,4,-6,-6, -17,9,0,115,-6,9,7,11,11,89,92,99,123,55,55,69,52,52,78,172,113,103,103,97,117, 112,102,102,97,63,64,64,62,62,62,62,54,54,55]} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Ba3 O-O 8. d4 b6 9. Bc4 Nc6 10. O-O Na5 11. Bd3 c5 12. Rc1 Bg4 13. d5 e6 14. h3 Bxf3 15. Qxf3 exd5 16. exd5 Qd7 17. Ba6 Nb7 18. Bxb7 Qxb7 19. c4 Rae8 20. Qb3 Re7 21. Rce1 Rfe8 22. Rxe7 Qxe7 23. Bc1 Bd4 24. Qb5 Qd8 25. Bg5 f6 26. Bf4 Re4 27. Bg3 Qe8 28. Qa6 f5 29. Qb7 Re7 30. Qc6 Kf7 31. Bd6 Re1 $6 (31... Rd7) 32. Qc7+ Kf6 33. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 34. Kh2 g5 35. Qd8+ Kg6 36. Qg8+ Kf6 37. h4 gxh4 38. Bf4 Bxf2 39. Qf8+ Kg6 40. Qh6+ Kf7 41. Qxh7+ Kf6 42. Qh6+ Kf7 43. Qh5+ Kg8 44. Qg5+ Kh8 45. Qxf5 Bg3+ 46. Kh3 Qh1+ 47. Kg4 Qxg2 48. Qe5+ Kh7 49. Bxg3 hxg3 50. Qxg3 Qe4+ 51. Qf4 Qg6+ 52. Kh4 Qd3 $2 ( 52... Qe8 {Black's best bet was to make white prove the passed pawn was enough: } 53. d6 $6 Qe6 $3 {and there are no checks or plans to advance the pawn further}) 53. d6 $1 b5 54. Qf7+ Kh6 55. Qd5 Qe3 56. d7 Qf2+ 57. Kg4 Qg1+ 58. Kf5 Qg5+ 59. Ke6 Qd8 60. Qe5 {1-0 Black resigns.} 1-0 [/pgn]

Liang came out victorious over Michigan’s FM Seth Homa in a delightfully imbalanced trendy 7. Nd5 Sveshnikov, where one miscalculation from an already precarious position proved decisive. The lesson from this game? Always play b5.

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Open"] [Site "Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA"] [Date "2021.08.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Liang, Awonder"] [Black "Homa, Seth"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B33"] [WhiteElo "2587"] [BlackElo "2285"] [Annotator "Lang"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:51:46"] [BlackClock "0:17:52"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Ne7 9. c3 f5 10. Qa4 Kf7 11. Qb4 Ng8 12. a4 a6 13. Na3 Nf6 14. Be3 Be7 15. O-O-O g6 $6 (15... b5 $1 {As is often the case in such double-edged positions, timing was everything. Here, the thematic break keeps black alive against white's misplaced king.} 16. f3 Bd7 17. axb5 axb5 18. Bxb5 Qc7 {provides black with Benko-like counterplay on the queenside}) 16. a5 Kg7 $6 {Black continues to put too much faith in solidity} (16... b5 $5 {is less convincing after the a-pawn recaptures, but complications would offer black more practical chances than he found in the game variation}) 17. Nc4 f4 18. Bb6 $1 {Shutting down black's counterplay for good} Qf8 19. f3 Nxd5 $4 (19... h5) 20. Rxd5 Be6 21. Rd2 d5 22. Qb3 dxc4 23. Bxc4 Bxc4 24. Qxc4 Rc8 25. Qe4 Qf7 26. Rd7 Rxc3+ 27. bxc3 Ba3+ 28. Kc2 Qxd7 29. Qxe5+ {1-0 Black resigns.} 1-0 [/pgn]

Niemann withstood an unsound attack from Florida’s Nicholas Rosenthal to hold on in a game where both youngsters spent under thirty minutes on their respective clocks.

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Open"] [Site "Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA"] [Date "2021.08.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Niemann, Hans"] [Black "Rosenthal, Nicholas"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2606"] [BlackElo "2137"] [Annotator "Lang"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] [WhiteClock "1:32:40"] [BlackClock "1:27:01"] {[%evp 0,59,27,29,40,13,13,13,26,42,93,59,52,52,65,65,58,33,44,33,39,40,51,35, 48,62,57,79,52,85,97,105,85,97,90,107,107,115,123,127,237,229,235,234,424,444, 456,425,446,426,482,468,518,532,593,550,582,532,554,558,766,589]} 1. d4 e6 2. c4 d5 3. Nf3 c6 4. e3 f5 5. Be2 Nf6 6. O-O Bd6 7. b3 Qe7 8. a4 O-O 9. Ba3 Nbd7 10. Bxd6 Qxd6 11. a5 f4 $6 (11... e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Qd4 Nxf3+ 14. Bxf3 Rd8 15. Rd1 Qe7 16. cxd5 Nxd5 $16 {Black can be forgiven for wanting more activity than this line suggests, but objectively there was nothing better}) 12. exf4 Qxf4 13. Nc3 Qd6 14. Re1 Ne4 15. Qc2 Ndf6 16. Bd3 Nxc3 17. Qxc3 Ng4 18. Bc2 Bd7 19. h3 Rxf3 $6 20. Qxf3 Qh2+ 21. Kf1 Nxf2 22. Kxf2 g6 23. Rh1 Qd6 24. c5 Qe7 25. Qe3 Qh4+ 26. g3 Qh5 27. Kg2 e5 28. Qxe5 Qh6 29. Qf4 Qh5 30. Bd1 {1-0 Black resigns.} 1-0 [/pgn]

Finally, our U2200 class prize watch brings us once again to Vishnu Vanapalli. The untitled (for now!) Charlotte, NC player has pulled off yet another upset, this time over decorated champion GM Joel Benjamin. Vanapalli, born in 2007, is a shining example of the ‘underrated youngster’ stereotype striking fear into so many players in their post-pandemic return to chess. Here, he outmaneuvers Benjamin in a game where, save for one missed study-like save on move 47, he was always in control.

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Open"] [Site "Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA"] [Date "2021.08.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Vanapalli, Vishnu"] [Black "Benjamin, Joel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A20"] [WhiteElo "1958"] [BlackElo "2499"] [Annotator "Lang"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:01:34"] [BlackClock "0:15:51"] {[%evp 0,99,29,-3,-23,-48,-38,-38,28,-12,-25,-6,-26,-41,-19,-12,-12,-2,29,29, 87,39,33,36,31,34,59,51,54,58,59,43,63,60,69,56,50,52,69,12,8,7,40,26,24,8,9, -5,-3,6,-2,-15,-6,4,22,11,17,37,56,86,79,60,50,30,30,24,111,104,100,111,121, 110,120,111,104,95,118,114,116,121,134,145,140,138,148,122,125,123,133,103,90, 82,87,69,64,0,249,252,255,256,224,1016]} 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. Nf3 e4 5. Nd4 d5 6. cxd5 Qxd5 7. e3 Qe5 8. d3 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 exd3 11. O-O O-O 12. Nc4 Qc5 13. Rc1 Rd8 14. Qxd3 Na6 15. Rfd1 Bg4 16. f3 Bh5 $6 17. Qa3 Qxa3 18. bxa3 $1 {An impressive decision: keeping the pieces centralized is more important than the pawn structure in this position} Rab8 19. Rb1 Nd5 20. Rd2 Bg6 $6 (20... f6) 21. Rc1 f6 22. Bf1 Ndc7 23. a4 Nc5 24. a5 Bf7 25. Kf2 g6 26. e4 Kf8 27. Ke3 Na4 28. Nb2 $1 {Trading off black's only active piece} Nxb2 29. Rxb2 Ne6 30. Nxe6+ Bxe6 31. Rcb1 Rd7 32. Ba6 Rbd8 $4 (32... c5 33. Rxb7 Rdxb7 34. Rxb7 Rxb7 35. Bxb7 Bxa2 $10) 33. Rxb7 Bxa2 34. Rc1 {With rooks on the board, black's remaining pawns are still serious targets} Rxb7 35. Bxb7 Rd7 36. a6 Rc7 37. Kd4 Ke7 38. Rxc6 Rxc6 39. Bxc6 Kd6 40. Bd5 Bb1 41. Bb3 Kc6 42. e5 fxe5+ 43. Kxe5 Kb5 44. f4 Kxa6 45. g4 Kb6 46. Kd6 a5 47. Be6 $4 (47. Ba4 { the blockade was essential} h5 48. gxh5 gxh5 49. h4 $18) 47... h5 $4 (47... a4 $3 48. f5 gxf5 49. gxf5 a3 50. f6 a2 51. Bxa2 Bxa2 52. Ke7 {is presumably what black discarded, however this position is drawn:} Kc5 53. h4 h5 54. f7 { [%cal Ga2f7]} Bxf7 55. Kxf7 Kd5 56. Kg6 Ke6 57. Kxh5 Kf7 {just in the nick of time}) 48. f5 Bxf5 49. Bxf5 a4 50. g5 {1-0 Black resigns.} 1-0 [/pgn]

Vanapalli is joined by Pennsylvania’s Justin Brereton (an adult!), rated 2042 and coming off an upset over 2343-rated Scott Ramer from Ohio. Only three u2200 players trail at 6/8. Six “A” players lead the u2000 pack at 5.5/8, and are joined by two “B” players, 1672-rated Lucas Bernui and 1631-rated Michael Kang, both from New Jersey. Bernui’s score is all the more impressive considering his first round pairing came against Lenderman. The madness of outdated ratings becomes even more apparent further down the standings, as the 80 players on an even score range from 2200 down to 708. 

Will Lenderman be able to make history today? We'll find out at 3pm Eastern. Follow all the action at the US Chess Twitch channel, featuring coverage by IM Kostya Kavutsky and WGM Katerina Nemcova.


 

Quick Links:

US Open main page

US Open and Invitational pairings and results

 

Twitch stream

Twitter hashtag #usopenchess

 

Live Lichess Links:

9-day / post-merge

Comments

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Archives

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.