Lenderman Wins Playoff, Will Appear in 2021 National Championship

Grandmaster Aleksandr Lenderman has a seat saved for him in the 2021 US Chess Championship in St. Louis. 

The Brooklyn GM earned the coveted spot by winning the first-ever US Championship Online Qualifier, a month-long series of progressing events designed to offer a path to the national championship. As one of the U.S. federation’s highest-rated players, Lenderman was a pre-selected participant to join the online qualifier’s final 8-player round-robin tournament that began Dec. 11. 

Lenderman came up clutch through two back-to-back, must-win games, the first over GM Timur Gareyev in the seventh and final round on Friday which allowed him to catch the pace of tournament leader IM Christopher Yoo at the finish line. Lenderman and Yoo tied for first place and split the top cash prizes, but played a final Armageddon game on Saturday to determine the seat in next year’s national championship. 

 

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In that game, Yoo won a pre-game bidding process of 7 minutes and 30 seconds on his clock to command the black pieces with draw odds. That gave Lenderman a full 10 minutes with the white pieces, and his second must-win situation in a row. 

He employed a Trompowsky attack that saw quick development and left Yoo’s pawn structure in early tatters. Yoo appeared to have a mouse slip at 25. .. Rf8, leaving his rook open for the exchange, though the position was already looking dire and the youngster seemed to take the hiccup in stride. Lenderman’s endgame technique with his king and rook was national-championship level worthy. 

[pgn][Event "Live Chess"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2020.12.19"] [Round "?"] [White "AlexanderL"] [Black "ChristopherYoo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2793"] [BlackElo "2803"] [TimeControl "600"] [EndTime "14:16:41 PST"] [Termination "AlexanderL won by resignation"] 1. d4 {[%timestamp 1]} 1... Nf6 {[%timestamp 1513]} 2. Bg5 {[%timestamp 14]} 2... e6 {[%timestamp 208]} 3. e4 {[%timestamp 21]} 3... h6 {[%timestamp 21]} 4. Bxf6 {[%timestamp 9]} 4... Qxf6 {[%timestamp 12]} 5. c3 {[%timestamp 16]} 5... d6 {[%timestamp 54]} 6. Bc4 {[%timestamp 159]} 6... g6 {[%timestamp 34]} 7. Ne2 {[%timestamp 76]} 7... Bg7 {[%timestamp 16]} 8. O-O {[%timestamp 12]} 8... O-O {[%timestamp 41]} 9. f4 {[%timestamp 51]} 9... Qd8 {[%timestamp 443]} 10. Nd2 {[%timestamp 226]} 10... d5 {[%timestamp 52]} 11. Bb3 {[%timestamp 11]} 11... dxe4 {[%timestamp 60]} 12. Nxe4 {[%timestamp 1]} 12... b6 {[%timestamp 149]} 13. N2g3 {[%timestamp 577]} 13... Nd7 {[%timestamp 226]} 14. d5 {[%timestamp 143]} 14... Nc5 {[%timestamp 369]} 15. Nxc5 {[%timestamp 38]} 15... bxc5 {[%timestamp 12]} 16. dxe6 {[%timestamp 49]} 16... Bxe6 {[%timestamp 13]} 17. Bxe6 {[%timestamp 42]} 17... fxe6 {[%timestamp 12]} 18. Qg4 {[%timestamp 265]} 18... Qf6 {[%timestamp 80]} 19. Rad1 {[%timestamp 329]} 19... Rab8 {[%timestamp 93]} 20. Qe2 {[%timestamp 372]} 20... Rfd8 {[%timestamp 167]} 21. Ne4 {[%timestamp 228]} 21... Qf5 {[%timestamp 104]} 22. g4 {[%timestamp 33]} 22... Qf8 {[%timestamp 157]} 23. Rxd8 {[%timestamp 384]} 23... Qxd8 {[%timestamp 60]} 24. Nxc5 {[%timestamp 131]} 24... Qd5 {[%timestamp 13]} 25. Nxe6 {[%timestamp 203]} 25... Rf8 {[%timestamp 153]} 26. Nxf8 {[%timestamp 30]} 26... Bxf8 {[%timestamp 13]} 27. Qg2 {[%timestamp 85]} 27... Qxa2 {[%timestamp 51]} 28. Kh1 {[%timestamp 68]} 28... Qc4 {[%timestamp 120]} 29. f5 {[%timestamp 54]} 29... g5 {[%timestamp 13]} 30. Rd1 {[%timestamp 111]} 30... Kg7 {[%timestamp 71]} 31. Rd4 {[%timestamp 211]} 31... Qb5 {[%timestamp 87]} 32. Rd5 {[%timestamp 308]} 32... Qc4 {[%timestamp 104]} 33. Rd7+ {[%timestamp 11]} 33... Kf6 {[%timestamp 44]} 34. Rd4 {[%timestamp 174]} 34... Qb5 {[%timestamp 42]} 35. c4 {[%timestamp 41]} 35... Qe5 {[%timestamp 47]} 36. Qe4 {[%timestamp 28]} 36... Bd6 {[%timestamp 306]} 37. Qxe5+ {[%timestamp 9]} 37... Bxe5 {[%timestamp 4]} 38. Re4 {[%timestamp 77]} 38... h5 {[%timestamp 143]} 39. h3 {[%timestamp 129]} 39... hxg4 {[%timestamp 16]} 40. hxg4 {[%timestamp 1]} 40... Bxb2 {[%timestamp 15]} 41. Re6+ {[%timestamp 1]} 41... Kf7 {[%timestamp 12]} 42. Ra6 {[%timestamp 3]} 42... Bd4 {[%timestamp 23]} 43. Rc6 {[%timestamp 9]} 43... Be5 {[%timestamp 157]} 44. Kg2 {[%timestamp 35]} 44... Bf4 {[%timestamp 135]} 45. Kf3 {[%timestamp 17]} 45... Be5 {[%timestamp 39]} 46. Ke4 {[%timestamp 26]} 46... Bg3 {[%timestamp 11]} 47. Kd5 {[%timestamp 81]} 47... Ke7 {[%timestamp 42]} 48. Ra6 {[%timestamp 25]} 48... Bf2 {[%timestamp 25]} 49. c5 {[%timestamp 10]} 49... Kd7 {[%timestamp 57]} 50. Rxa7 {[%timestamp 12]} 50... Be3 {[%timestamp 14]} 51. c6+ {[%timestamp 37]} 51... Kd8 {[%timestamp 37]} 52. Ra8+ {[%timestamp 13]} 52... Ke7 {[%timestamp 8]} 53. Rc8 {[%timestamp 21]} 53... Bf4 {[%timestamp 11]} 54. Rg8 {[%timestamp 16]} 54... Kf7 {[%timestamp 26]} 55. Rd8 {[%timestamp 12]} 55... Ke7 {[%timestamp 13]} 56. Rd7+ {[%timestamp 13]} 56... Kf6 {[%timestamp 5]} 57. Rh7 {[%timestamp 9]} 57... Bg3 {[%timestamp 14]} 58. Rh6+ {[%timestamp 6]} 58... Kf7 {[%timestamp 9]} 59. Rg6 {[%timestamp 9]} 59... Bf4 {[%timestamp 1]} 60. Kc4 {[%timestamp 7]} 60... Ke7 {[%timestamp 9]} 61. Kb5 {[%timestamp 6]} 61... Kf7 {[%timestamp 1]} 62. Ka6 {[%timestamp 5]} 62... Ke7 {[%timestamp 5]} 63. Kb7 {[%timestamp 4]} 63... Kf7 {[%timestamp 1]} 64. Re6 {[%timestamp 9]} 64... Bg3 {[%timestamp 13]} 65. Kc8 {[%timestamp 7]} 65... Bf4 {[%timestamp 10]} 66. Kd7 {[%timestamp 4]} 66... Bg3 {[%timestamp 4]} 67. Re8 {[%timestamp 13]} 67... Bf4 {[%timestamp 8]} 68. Rc8 {[%timestamp 6]} 68... Kf6 {[%timestamp 5]} 69. Rxc7 {[%timestamp 7]} 69... Bxc7 {[%timestamp 8]} 70. Kxc7 {[%timestamp 9]} 70... Ke5 {[%timestamp 1]} 71. Kd7 {[%timestamp 8]} 71... Kf4 {[%timestamp 1]} 72. f6 {[%timestamp 6]} 72... Kxg4 {[%timestamp 1]} 73. f7 {[%timestamp 1]} 73... Kh3 {[%timestamp 24]} 74. f8=Q {[%timestamp 5]} 74... g4 {[%timestamp 1]} 75. Qh6+ {[%timestamp 15]} 75... Kg2 {[%timestamp 20]} 76. c7 {[%timestamp 6]} 76... g3 {[%timestamp 12]} 77. c8=Q {[%timestamp 9]} 1-0[/pgn]

 

Lenderman passed Chess.com’s fair-play review of the Armageddon game and has been formally invited to the 2021 US Chess Championship in St. Louis. 

The first-ever online qualifier began in November as an open Swiss event for the nation’s U1600 players and has progressed each weekend through a series of increasingly stronger events. Yoo entered in the 2400+ Swiss qualifier and then advanced through a 23-player final Swiss, then a final knockout bracket, and ultimately the final round-robin tournament.  

The reigning US Chess Cadet Champion, who played Armageddon on his 14th birthday, was the only non-GM in the 8-player field. 

Comments

Lenderman has been playing a lot of online chess including events hosted by Washington Chess Federation. He had written a number of articles for NORTHWEST CHESS in 2020.

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