Leaders Gonna Lead in Round Six of 2023 U.S. Championships

Round six of the U.S. Championships saw a mix of crushing attacks and subtle endgames, with the leader(s) in all three sections remaining unchanged.





In the Junior championship, the leader pack of GM Abhimanyu Mishra, IM Arthur Guo, and GM Andrew Hong all drew their games, as did the sole chaser GM Brandon Jacobson.

GM Jacobson’s draw against co-leader Guo was an important stabilization after his loss on Wednesday to GM Balaji Daggupati, who also stabilized today against co-leader Hong. Both of those draws were solid affairs, but Mishra’s draw against IM Kirk Ghazarian was a 103-move torturous defense in which Ghazarian made an important misjudgment in a pawn-up endgame:



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Will Wang (L) win again tomorrow? There will be fire on the leaderboard if he can! (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Meanwhile IM Justin Wang brought himself back to an even score in the standings with a crushing 22-move win against IM Josiah Stearman, who appeared to have mixed up his move order in the trendy 4…Nf6 Caro-Kann:



An important pairing in Round seven is between co-leaders Guo and Hong. Will they play it safe? I predict so.

Meanwhile, Mishra will face Wang. Can Wang follow his sixth-round win with another one against one of the co-leaders? I’d be surprised.

And Stearman will face Jacobson, when a win for Jacobson could see him join the leader pack if none of the leaders win. I admit that this is my hope and prediction, as Brandon has been one of my rooting interests since I first met him almost a decade ago at the Marshall Chess Club in NYC.

In any case, who will ultimately take first place in this section is still wide open, more so than the Girls’ and much more so than the Senior …





In the Girls’ championship, FM Alice Lee remained sole leader with a win against Kelsey Liu, while co-chaser FM Zoey Tang became sole chaser after the other co-chaser IM Carissa Yip was beaten by FM Ruiyang Yan in a flawless game:




These were the first losses of the tournament for both FM Rochelle Wu and Yip. 


Wu Yip
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Rochelle Wu (L) and Carissa Yip pose for the camera after a tough day at the office (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Yip faces a must-win situation with White against leader Lee; this is her final opportunity to keep any chances for a comeback first-place finish. I predict a decisive result one way or the other!

Meanwhile Tang has a more favorable pairing, and she could even leapfrog into first place if Yip manages to defeat Lee.


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Anything can happen. But not if Alice Lee has anything to say about it. (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Overall, Alice remains in good shape, but still anything could happen!





In the Senior section, GM Melikset Khachiyan continued his dominating performance with a third straight win against tail-ender IM Douglas Root:




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Maxim Dlugy (L) before his London experiment backfired against Vladimir Akopian (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Meanwhile, sole chaser GM Maxim Dlugy lost in his pet London System to GM Vladimir Akopian, who sacrificed a piece for a horde of slow-motion pawns:



This puts GM Khachiyan at an overwhelming 5½/6, a full two points ahead of a large pack of co-chasers (Akopian, GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Gregory Kaidanov, and Dlugy).

This is such a commanding lead that Khachiyan can even “draw out” in his remaining three games and still be guaranteed clear first place in the final standings.

Kaidanov is the only chaser still to face Khachiyan, and he will have his chance in today’s round. Will he heroically try to stop the runaway train, or write off first place as already GM Khachiyan’s property? I predict a draw.

By all appearances, this will be Khachiyan’s year!


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If Melikset Khachiyan manages to draw his remaining games, he is guaranteed clear first in the Senior championship! (courtesy Lennart Ootes/SLCC)


Tune back in for my recap of round seven tomorrow to see what does and doesn’t change in the standings of the three sections, and more interesting games in any event!

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