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
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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.


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