Kaidanov Wins 2021 U.S. Senior Championship

GM Gregory Kaidanov is the 2021 U.S. Senior Champion, taking the title after an exciting tiebreak victory against GM Larry Christiansen.


GM Gregory Kaidanov
Image Caption
GM Gregory Kaidanov (courtesy SLCC / Crystal Fuller)


Kaidanov defeated Christiansen in the second of a rapid two-game match to become the 2021 champion. The finish was dramatic indeed: 

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FM Robert Shylakhtenko has all the details in his bonus Game of the Day analysis.

[pgn][Event "US Senior playoffs"] [Site "?"] [Date "2021.07.26"] [Round "10.2"] [White "Christiansen, Larry"] [Black "Kaidanov, Gregory"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [Annotator "Shlyakhtenko,Robert"] [PlyCount "66"] [EventDate "2021.07.17"] {[%evp 0,65,16,16,31,10,20,44,73,27,71,0,12,14,0,-27,7,5,61,27,27,-44,-50,-111, -93,-85,-32,-60,-42,-42,-30,-41,-8,-8,-31,-32,-31,-77,-70,-126,-162,-215,-244, -244,-257,-280,-269,-289,-289,-289,-272,-306,-326,-362,-346,-362,-320,-387, -325,-387,-426,-451,-493,-540,-550,-550,-468,-588]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bf4 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. Nbd2 Qb6 6. dxc5 Qxb2 7. Rb1 Qc3 8. Bb5 g6 $5 {A move proposed for black by Sam Shankland on Chessable.} 9. Be5 {This does not put much pressure on black.} (9. e4 $5 {is a very critical move, seen most recently in the World Cup (Pechac - Fier from Round 4).}) (9. O-O {is the main line.}) 9... Qxc5 10. Bxf6 $6 {This exchange makes things much easier for black. Without the dark-squared bishop it's very difficult to create an attack.} ({Better was } 10. c4 dxc4 {, and now} 11. Bd4 $5 {makes use of the bishop. White has compensation after both} Qd5 ({and} 11... Qf5 12. O-O Bg7 13. Ne5) 12. Bxc4 Qd8 13. Qb3) 10... exf6 11. c4 Bf5 (11... Be7 $5 {was safer, and it's hard for white to do anything before black castles.}) 12. Rc1 dxc4 ({Again} 12... Be7 $5 {was more accurate, not opening the position as much.}) 13. Bxc4 $6 { Essentially wasting a tempo.} ({White had to play very energetically:} 13. Nd4 $1 Bd7 14. Qf3 $1 Be7 15. Rxc4 {, winning back the pawn with an equal position. }) 13... Qe7 (13... Qa5 {was even stronger, pinning the knight and preventing Bb5 ideas. After} 14. e4 {black can simply retreat.} Bd7 $17) 14. Bb5 Bd7 15. Rc4 $5 {A good try, which forces black to play precisely.} ({Objectively stronger was} 15. O-O Bg7 16. Nc4 O-O 17. Na5 Nxa5 18. Qxd7 Qxd7 19. Bxd7 { , but black has excellent chances to convert, especially in a rapid game.}) 15... a6 ({Possibly,} 15... Qd8 {with the idea of Be7 was stronger.}) 16. Re4 Be6 17. Qa4 ({The computer suggests a very unusual idea:} 17. Bxc6+ bxc6 18. Qa1 $1 Bg7 19. Ng5 $1 {, using two pins at the same time. After} O-O 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Qc1 {white is fighting.}) 17... Qd7 18. Nd4 {It seems that white is gaining dangerous counterplay. However, Kaidanov finds a brilliant refutation.} f5 $1 19. Nxc6 Rc8 $3 {The incredible point. Kaidanov simply removes the rook from the pin on the a-file and asks white what he will do with the three hanging pieces. There is no answer to this question: all of a sudden, white is just lost.} 20. Rxe6+ fxe6 21. Qb3 axb5 22. Ne5 Qd5 $1 {Forcing the trade of queens. The rest of the game is a smooth conversion.} 23. Qxd5 exd5 24. Ke2 Bd6 25. Nef3 Rc2 26. Nd4 Rxa2 27. Rb1 b4 28. Nb5 Kd7 29. Kd3 Rc8 30. Nxd6 Rc3+ 31. Kd4 Rxd2+ 32. Ke5 b3 33. Nxb7 b2 {and white resigned.} 0-1 [/pgn]

For his victory, Kaidanov earns $12,000.