A Return to the Board with 2020 U.S. Class Championships in Virginia

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From left, Anand Dommalapati, IM Hans Niemann and NTD Rudy Abate at the 2020 U.S. Class Championships in October.
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From left, Anand Dommalapati, IM Hans Niemann and NTD Rudy Abate at the 2020 U.S. Class Championships in October.

The 2020 U.S. Class Championships, held Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott hotel in Virginia, attracted 130 players in seven classes. IM Hans Niemann and FM Eugene Yanayt split the top prizes of the Master section by scoring 4/5, with Niemann taking tiebreak.     

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, several safety protocols were implemented onsite and enforced. Restrictions set by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam limited the Marriott’s ballroom to 250 participants, a maximum that was further dropped to 170 participants based on table spacing to maintain proper social distancing between boards. However, 130 registered players kept the event well within these limitations, and 24 boards in the Master, Expert, and Class A sections were broadcasted live to help keep spectators out of the playing hall.  

Some of the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines implemented to ensure a clean and safe environment for all players:  

  • Face masks were made mandatory in the meeting rooms, hallways, and all public areas of the hotel.  
  • Organizers had face masks, face shields, and hand gloves available on request for players.    
  • Random temperature checks were performed every round.  
  • Pairings and wallcharts were posted online on SwissSys/My Events cloud server.   
  • Boards were spaced at least six feet apart and aisles between tables were at least nine feet apart.   
  • Organizer supplied all boards, sets, and clocks for the event to minimize personal belongings and ease cleaning.  
  • Each player was supplied with hand sanitizer at the beginning of the event.    
  • All boards had two sets of alcohol wipes for players to clean and reset the pieces after each round.    
  • Tournament staff disinfected all sets in between rounds.    
  • Hotel staff cleaned the tables and ballroom prior to the start of the afternoon rounds.    
  • Registration was halted the night before the event, and the onsite entry fee was set high in the effort to discourage last-minute entries.    
  • All players were asked to fill and sign a COVID-19 waiver of risk and responsibility. At each board, players were reminded of basic COVID-19 symptoms and to let the tournament staff know if they were not feeling well.    
  • Only registered players were allowed in the tournament playing hall.     
  • The immediate hallway outside the ballroom was kept clear of people for the entire duration of the event. This allowed for the ballroom doors to be kept open, providing better air circulation and keeping the noise level at a minimum.    
  • Entry and exit to the ballroom were clearly marked and specific to each class, helping to enforce social distancing and minimize crowding.  

2020 U.S. Class Champions  

Master: IM Hans Niemann, FM Eugene Yanayt; 4/5   

Expert: Guy Cardwell, 5/5   

Class A: Andrew Bledsoe, 4.5/5  

Class B: Samuel He, 5/5   

Class C: Anantha Kumar, Siddharth Kurup; 4/5  

Class D: Cole Frankenhoff; 5/5  

Class E/Unr: Ethan Schaffer, Daksh Dudipala; 5/6   

The 2020 U.S. Class Championships could not have been successful during the challenging times of pandemic without the tireless efforts of its tournament staff during the entire weekend. Chief TD of the event was NTD and international arbiter Rudy Abate, assisted by senior TD Rob Getty. The pairings chief was US Chess President and NTD Mike Hoffpauir, assisted by senior TD and national arbiter GP Sinha. The tournament hall floor was handled by senior TDs Andy Rea and Cheryl Havens.  

Final standings with prizes may be viewed with the official results, along with US Chess crosstables

- Anand Dommalapati

 

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The 2020 U.S. Class Championships, held in Virginia over Halloween weekend, was the first OTB tournament for many players since COVID-19.
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The 2020 U.S. Class Championships, held in Virginia over Halloween weekend, was the first OTB tournament for many players since COVID-19.

WGM Jennifer Yu Scores 3/5 in First OTB Event Since March 

Like most chess players, all my 2020 chess plans moved online due to the pandemic — though at first, the change didn’t seem so drastic. Online events thrived under quarantine, and it was nice was being able to play in the comfort of my own home while wearing PJs and snacking on Munchies cheese mix.   

But as time went on, I began to itch more and more for over-the-board chess. I found it harder to concentrate while playing on the screen, and I felt the experience just wasn’t the same when there’s no actual person sitting in front of you. Eventually, longer time controls, three-dimensional pieces, and no mouse slips began to feel like a fever dream.      

When I heard about the U.S. Class Championships, held at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott in Virginia at the end of October, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. My last OTB tournament was in early March and the event was in my area, so I did not need to travel. Additionally, it seems like these OTB events under COVID-19 restrictions are becoming the “new normal,” so I might as well get used to it. The strong turnout with several titled players was a nice bonus.       

Having played in several Capital Area Chess events before, I had complete confidence that the tournament would be well-organized, with all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its players. I was not disappointed and felt that the event was very safe. Everyone in the tournament hall was required to wear a mask, bottled water was provided, and the chess sets were sanitized after each game. Boards were spaced out, pairings were online, and no spectators allowed helped ensure social distancing. All players respected the COVID-19 guidelines, and everything went smoothly.    

I didn’t know what to expect about playing in a mask, but the difference turned out to be insignificant. The mask did not bother me, and the only times I thought about it was to readjust. After years of leaning on my hand, however, I was more worried about touching my face. But I broke the habit early — by sitting on my hands!       

Even though it had only been seven months since my last in-person tournament, the thought of walking into a tournament hall and sitting in front of a board seemed completely abstract. At first it was strange to see so many actual people since I had been home for most of the last few months, minus the occasional run to the grocery store. However I got desensitized to that quickly.      

I took a while to process the three-dimensional pieces in my first game. Hitting the clock after making the move, and then writing it down, felt completely out of place. I was paired down, but the game was far from a clean win: my opponent outplayed me in the opening and early middlegame before I was able to turn it around.   

I was pleasantly surprised to already be paired up in round two. I played an interesting game against IM Hans Niemann the eventual winner of the tournament where I held a comfortable advantage from the middlegame and decided to sacrifice a pawn for compensation. He outplayed me in the middlegame but blundered, allowing me to enter a better endgame that we eventually drew.      

[pgn][Event "US Class"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.10.31"] [Round "2"] [White "Niemann, Hans"] [Black "Yu, Jennifer"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A09"] [Annotator "WGM Jennifer Yu"] [PlyCount "120"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] {[%evp 0,120,38,18,21,-16,14,2,31,2,-11,-29,-43,-45,-45,-51,-38,-29,-29,-37, -38,-38,-40,-40,-39,-41,-26,-58,-16,-37,-14,-29,-14,-66,-13,-42,2,2,8,9,8,8,31, -17,0,0,33,39,23,11,17,-60,58,57,65,74,70,71,71,66,70,61,138,157,169,70,45,56, 58,0,157,-111,-97,-97,-97,-127,-113,-118,-115,-112,-116,-124,-131,-128,-119, -132,-116,-112,-134,-141,-150,-146,-120,-120,-111,-134,-129,-167,-136,-143, -164,-157,-138,-157,-115,-118,-116,-116,-128,-104,-106,-168,-76,-84,-84,-99, -86,-85,-91,-61,-62,-60,-59]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. b4 c5 4. bxc5 (4. e3 dxe3 5. fxe3 cxb4 6. d4 Nf6 7. Bd3 {White's center is good compensation for the pawn and I think both sides are fine}) 4... Nc6 5. g3 e5 6. d3 Bxc5 7. Bg2 Nf6 8. O-O O-O 9. Bg5 ({I prefer} 9. Ba3 {since I thought I got a nice position with the bishop pair in the game} Bxa3 10. Nxa3 Qe7 11. Nc2 Rd8 12. Nd2 Bf5 { 1/2-1/2 (26) Svidler,P (2723)-Giri,A (2764) chess24.com INT 2020}) 9... h6 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Nbd2 Qe7 12. Ne1 {At this point I liked my position a lot and thought I had a small edge because of my space advantage and bishop pair. But I wasn't sure exactly how to continue. My instinct was to advance my f-pawn in the hopes of gaining space and eventually making a pawn break.} f5 (12... Bg4 { provoking h3 and then simply retreating is also a good idea} 13. h3 Bd7 14. Ne4 Bb6) 13. Nc2 Bd7 {I preferred the bishop on d7 instead of e6 because there's a possibility of maneuvering it to c6 at some point and it doesn't block the e-file} (13... Be6) 14. Rb1 Rab8 (14... b6 15. Nb3 Bd6 16. e3 dxe3 17. Nxe3 Rad8 18. Nd5) 15. Nb3 Bd6 ({I considered} 15... b5 {since I didn't want to spend a move to retreat the bishop and lose my hold on the g1-a7 diagonal. In the end I decided that after} 16. Nxc5 Qxc5 17. cxb5 Rxb5 18. Rxb5 Qxb5 19. Na3 Qc5 20. Qc1 {I've lost my hold over the position and prefer white here. Therefore releasing the tension with b5 would be a bad positional decision.}) 16. Qd2 (16. e3 {I thought this would be the natural follow-up to his previous move since it makes sense to break down my center now that my bishop is kicked from c5. Here I was planning} Qf6 {and I can maintain my center and prepare to push f4.} ({I wasn't sure about} 16... dxe3 17. Nxe3 Rbd8 18. Nd5 {letting the knight into the outpost but it turns out that after} Qf7 {even though the knight seems strong, it doesn't do much other than be a slight nuisance. I can just maneuvre my pieces around, eventually kicking the knight away with Ne7 or doing a timely f4 push})) 16... Kh8 $6 ({Surprisingly} 16... b6 {is the best move because it prevents Na5.} 17. e3 dxe3 18. Nxe3 f4 19. Nd5 Qg5 $15) 17. e3 (17. Na5 $1 {equalizes. In general, the side that has less space prefers exchanges. After the knights and bishops are traded off, I don't have enough to maintain the tension} Be8 18. Nxc6 Bxc6 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. Rxb8 Rxb8 21. e3) 17... f4 $5 {I decided to go with f4 over dxe3 and sacrifice my d4 pawn. I didn't want to let his knight to get to d5 and thought I had good compensation after the pawn sacrifice since both of my bishops would be active. However he played very accurately after this and outplayed me.} (17... dxe3 {is simpler because after} 18. fxe3 (18. Nxe3 f4 19. Nd5 Qg5 {there's no obvious way for White to proceed and I always have pressure on the kingside}) 18... f4 (18... Rbd8)) 18. exf4 exf4 19. Nbxd4 Nxd4 ({The computer likes} 19... Ne5 20. Rxb7 Rxb7 21. Bxb7 Bc5 {and it says I have enough compensation for the two pawns by giving the position 0.00. I briefly considered this during the game, but I didn't see an obvious way to proceed and wasn't comfortable with giving away another pawn with no clear direction.}) 20. Nxd4 Bc5 21. Nf3 (21. Nc2 f3 22. Rfe1 $1 (22. Bh1 $2 Qe2) 22... Qd6 23. Bf1 Bf5 24. Ne3 {preparing Nd5, white is fine}) 21... fxg3 (21... Bc6 $2 22. Nh4 $1 Qd6 23. Bxc6 Qxc6 24. d4 $16) 22. hxg3 {When I sacrificed the d4 pawn, I planned Bc6 here and thought my position would be pleasant after the light square bishops traded. However at this position, I started to consider Bg4. I liked that I would be able to keep the bishop pair, but it comes with drawbacks as well as seen in the game.} Bg4 (22... Bc6 23. Rbe1 (23. Nh4 Qd6 24. d4 (24. Kh2 $6 Bxg2 25. Nxg2 Rf3 $15) 24... Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Bxd4 26. Rb5 Qc6+ 27. Rd5 Bb6 $14) 23... Qd6 24. Ne5 Bd4 { I'm happy whenever my bishop gets to d4}) 23. Rbe1 Qd6 24. Ne5 {once again I was at crossroads about where to put my bishop} Bh5 ({I never liked going after the exchange with} 24... Bb4 25. Qe3 Bxe1 26. Rxe1 $16 {since the exchange seems pretty insignificant with White's monster knight and center pawns.}) (24... Bf5 {was my first instinct but I wanted to keep an eye on f7 with Bh5. However, keeping the bishop on this diagonal protects the d7-square, which was a problem in the game. After} 25. Bd5 Rbd8 26. d4 (26. Nf7+ $4 Rxf7 27. Bxf7 Qxg3+ $17) 26... Bb4 27. Qb2 Bxe1 28. Rxe1 b6 {this is a much better version of 24...Bb4}) 25. d4 $1 Bxd4 (25... Rbd8 26. d5 Bb4) (25... Bb4 26. Qe3 Bxe1) 26. c5 $1 {I had seen this when I played Bh5 and thought that I could always play Qd8 here if I didn't like Qxc5.} Qxc5 $2 (26... Qd8 {however, I didn't realize White has} 27. c6 {and I wasn't sure how to proceed with Nd7 coming. For some reason I didn't realize that} Qd6 $1 28. Nd7 bxc6 ({even better is} 28... Bf3 29. Bxf3 Rxf3 30. Kh2 Rxg3 31. fxg3 Bg1+ 32. Kxg1 Qxd2 33. Nxb8 bxc6 $11 {this is an interesting material imbalance but I should be able to hold this because of White's open king}) 29. Nxb8 Rxb8 {is a significantly better version of the game. If I'm going to lose an exchange either way, I might as well have a c-pawn to support the d4 bishop}) 27. Nd7 Qd6 28. Nxb8 Rxb8 29. Re4 Rd8 30. Rfe1 {I thought that my strong d4-bishop would provide some compensation for the exchange but it turns out to be a great target for White as well. I felt stuck here and didn't know how to proceed since his last two moves absolutely killed my positions.} Qb6 31. Re6 Qc7 32. Kh2 Bb6 33. Qb2 Bd4 34. Qb5 $2 {Although White still retains an advantage after this move since his position is just so dominant, I gave it a question mark since it was planning Re8+ which turned out to have a flaw in the game.} Bxf2 35. Re8+ $2 ( 35. Qe5 $1 {keeps White's advantage in the endgame} Qxe5 36. R1xe5 Bf7 37. Re7 Bd4 38. Re2 Bh5 39. g4 Bg6 (39... Bxg4 $2 40. Re8+ Rxe8 41. Rxe8+ Kh7 42. Re4) 40. Rxb7 {the rooks are too strong. Maybe I could hold on by trying to create a fortress, but White can push forever.}) 35... Bxe8 36. Rxe8+ Kh7 {I think this was the move he missed. Suddenly, White is under a lot of pressure and he has to be careful to not lose.} (36... Rxe8 {is obviously losing after} 37. Qxe8+ Kh7 38. Be4+ g6 39. Qxg6+) 37. Qe5 ({Inserting} 37. Be4+ {before the queen trade is better because after} g6 38. Qe5 Qxe5 39. Rxe5 Kg7 40. Re6 { White equalizes quickly}) 37... Qxe5 38. Rxe5 b6 {At this point, neither one of us had any time left and since there was no second time control, we were both playing on the five second delay.} 39. Be4+ Kg8 40. Bg6 Bc5 41. Kh3 Bf8 42. Kg4 Rd6 43. Be4 g6 44. Re8 Kg7 45. Rc8 Rd4 46. Kf3 Rd7 47. Rc6 Bd6 48. g4 Rf7+ (48... Kf6) 49. Ke2 Rd7 50. Rc8 Bc5 51. Rc6 Rd6 52. Rc7+ Kf6 53. Rxa7 Ke5 54. Bd3 Kf4 55. Rg7 $2 (55. Ra4+ Kg3 56. Re4 $11) 55... Kxg4 $2 (55... g5 $1 56. Bf5 h5 57. Rf7 h4 $17) 56. Bxg6 $11 Kf4 57. Bd3 h5 58. Rf7+ Kg5 59. Be4 Re6 60. Kf3 Rf6+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "US Class"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.10.31"] [Round "2"] [White "Niemann, Hans"] [Black "Yu, Jennifer"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A09"] [Annotator "chicken nugget"] [PlyCount "120"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] {[%evp 0,120,38,18,21,-16,14,2,31,2,-11,-29,-43,-45,-45,-51,-38,-29,-29,-37, -38,-38,-40,-40,-39,-41,-26,-58,-16,-37,-14,-29,-14,-66,-13,-42,2,2,8,9,8,8,31, -17,0,0,33,39,23,11,17,-60,58,57,65,74,70,71,71,66,70,61,138,157,169,70,45,56, 58,0,157,-111,-97,-97,-97,-127,-113,-118,-115,-112,-116,-124,-131,-128,-119, -132,-116,-112,-134,-141,-150,-146,-120,-120,-111,-134,-129,-167,-136,-143, -164,-157,-138,-157,-115,-118,-116,-116,-128,-104,-106,-168,-76,-84,-84,-99, -86,-85,-91,-61,-62,-60,-59]} 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. b4 c5 4. bxc5 (4. e3 dxe3 5. fxe3 cxb4 6. d4 Nf6 7. Bd3 {White's center is good compensation for the pawn and I think both sides are fine}) 4... Nc6 5. g3 e5 6. d3 Bxc5 7. Bg2 Nf6 8. O-O O-O 9. Bg5 ({I prefer} 9. Ba3 {since I thought I got a nice position with the bishop pair in the game} Bxa3 10. Nxa3 Qe7 11. Nc2 Rd8 12. Nd2 Bf5 { 1/2-1/2 (26) Svidler,P (2723)-Giri,A (2764) chess24.com INT 2020}) 9... h6 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Nbd2 Qe7 12. Ne1 {At this point I liked my position a lot and thought I had a small edge because of my space advantage and bishop pair. But I wasn't sure exactly how to continue. My instinct was to advance my f-pawn in the hopes of gaining space and eventually making a pawn break.} f5 (12... Bg4 { provoking h3 and then simply retreating is also a good idea} 13. h3 Bd7 14. Ne4 Bb6) 13. Nc2 Bd7 {I preferred the bishop on d7 instead of e6 because there's a possibility of maneuvering it to c6 at some point and it doesn't block the e-file} (13... Be6) 14. Rb1 Rab8 (14... b6 15. Nb3 Bd6 16. e3 dxe3 17. Nxe3 Rad8 18. Nd5) 15. Nb3 Bd6 ({I considered} 15... b5 {since I didn't want to spend a move to retreat the bishop and lose my hold on the g1-a7 diagonal. In the end I decided that after} 16. Nxc5 Qxc5 17. cxb5 Rxb5 18. Rxb5 Qxb5 19. Na3 Qc5 20. Qc1 {I've lost my hold over the position and prefer white here. Therefore releasing the tension with b5 would be a bad positional decision.}) 16. Qd2 (16. e3 {I thought this would be the natural follow-up to his previous move since it makes sense to break down my center now that my bishop is kicked from c5. Here I was planning} Qf6 {and I can maintain my center and prepare to push f4.} ({I wasn't sure about} 16... dxe3 17. Nxe3 Rbd8 18. Nd5 {letting the knight into the outpost but it turns out that after} Qf7 {even though the knight seems strong, it doesn't do much other than be a slight nuisance. I can just maneuver my pieces around, eventually kicking the knight away with Ne7 or doing a timely f4 push})) 16... Kh8 $6 ({Suprisingly} 16... b6 {is the best move because it prevents Na5.} 17. e3 dxe3 18. Nxe3 f4 19. Nd5 Qg5 $15) 17. e3 (17. Na5 $1 {equalizes. In general, the side that has less space prefers exchanges. After the knights and bishops are traded of, I don't have enough to maintain the tension} Be8 18. Nxc6 Bxc6 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. Rxb8 Rxb8 21. e3) 17... f4 $5 {I decided to go with f4 over dxe3 and sacrifice my d4 pawn. I didn't want to let his knight to get to d5 and thought I had good compensation after the pawn sacrifice since both of my bishops would be active. However he played very accurately after this and outplayed me.} (17... dxe3 {is simpler because after} 18. fxe3 (18. Nxe3 f4 19. Nd5 Qg5 {there's no obvious way for white to proceed and I always have pressure on the kingside}) 18... f4 (18... Rbd8)) 18. exf4 exf4 19. Nbxd4 Nxd4 ({The computer likes} 19... Ne5 20. Rxb7 Rxb7 21. Bxb7 Bc5 {and it says I have enough compensation for the 2 pawns by giving the position 0.00. I briefly considered this during the game, but I didn't see an obvious way to proceed and wasn't comfortable with giving away another pawn with no clear direction.}) 20. Nxd4 Bc5 21. Nf3 (21. Nc2 f3 22. Rfe1 $1 (22. Bh1 $2 Qe2) 22... Qd6 23. Bf1 Bf5 24. Ne3 {preparing Nd5, white is fine}) 21... fxg3 (21... Bc6 $2 22. Nh4 $1 Qd6 23. Bxc6 Qxc6 24. d4 $16) 22. hxg3 {When I sacrificed the d4 pawn, I planned Bc6 here and thought my position would be pleasant after the light squared bishops traded. However at this position, I started to consider Bg4. I liked that I would be able to keep the bishop pair, but it comes with drawbacks as well as seen in the game.} Bg4 (22... Bc6 23. Rbe1 (23. Nh4 Qd6 24. d4 (24. Kh2 $6 Bxg2 25. Nxg2 Rf3 $15) 24... Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Bxd4 26. Rb5 Qc6+ 27. Rd5 Bb6 $14) 23... Qd6 24. Ne5 Bd4 { I'm happy whenever my bishop gets to d4}) 23. Rbe1 Qd6 24. Ne5 {once again I was at crossroads about where to put my bishop} Bh5 ({I never liked going after the exchange with} 24... Bb4 25. Qe3 Bxe1 26. Rxe1 $16 {since the exchange seems pretty insignificant with white's monster knight and center pawns.}) (24... Bf5 {was my first instinct but I wanted to keep an eye on f7 with Bh5. However, keeping the bishop on this diagonal protects the d7-square, which was a problem in the game. After} 25. Bd5 Rbd8 26. d4 (26. Nf7+ $4 Rxf7 27. Bxf7 Qxg3+ $17) 26... Bb4 27. Qb2 Bxe1 28. Rxe1 b6 {this is a much better version of 24...Bb4}) 25. d4 $1 Bxd4 (25... Rbd8 26. d5 Bb4) (25... Bb4 26. Qe3 Bxe1) 26. c5 $1 {I had seen this when I played Bh5 and thought that I could always play Qd8 here if I didn't like Qxc5.} Qxc5 $2 (26... Qd8 {however, I didn't realize White has} 27. c6 {and I wasn't sure how to proceed with Nd7 coming. For some reason I didn't realize that} Qd6 $1 28. Nd7 bxc6 ({even better is} 28... Bf3 29. Bxf3 Rxf3 30. Kh2 Rxg3 31. fxg3 Bg1+ 32. Kxg1 Qxd2 33. Nxb8 bxc6 $11 {this is an interesting material imbalance but I should be able to hold this because of white's open king}) 29. Nxb8 Rxb8 {is a significantly better version of the game. If I'm gonna lose an exchange either way, I might as well have a c-pawn to support the d4 bishop}) 27. Nd7 Qd6 28. Nxb8 Rxb8 29. Re4 Rd8 30. Rfe1 {I thought that my strong d4-bishop would provide some compensation for the exchange but it turns out to be a great target for white as well. I felt stuck here and didn't know how to proceed since his last 2 moves absolutely killed my positions.} Qb6 31. Re6 Qc7 32. Kh2 Bb6 33. Qb2 Bd4 34. Qb5 $2 {Although white still retains an advantage after this move since his position is just so dominant, I gave it a question mark since it was planning Re8+ which turned out to have a flaw in the game.} Bxf2 35. Re8+ $2 ( 35. Qe5 $1 {keeps white advantage in the endgame} Qxe5 36. R1xe5 Bf7 37. Re7 Bd4 38. Re2 Bh5 39. g4 Bg6 (39... Bxg4 $2 40. Re8+ Rxe8 41. Rxe8+ Kh7 42. Re4) 40. Rxb7 {the rooks are too strong. Maybe I could hold on by trying to create a fortress, but white can push forever.}) 35... Bxe8 36. Rxe8+ Kh7 {I think this was the move he missed. Suddenly, white is under a lot of pressure and he has to be careful to not lose.} (36... Rxe8 {is obviously losing after} 37. Qxe8+ Kh7 38. Be4+ g6 39. Qxg6+) 37. Qe5 ({Inserting} 37. Be4+ {before the queen trade is better because after} g6 38. Qe5 Qxe5 39. Rxe5 Kg7 40. Re6 { white equalizes quickly}) 37... Qxe5 38. Rxe5 b6 {At this point, neither one of us had any time left and since there was no second time control, we were both playing on the five second delay.} 39. Be4+ Kg8 40. Bg6 Bc5 41. Kh3 Bf8 42. Kg4 Rd6 43. Be4 g6 44. Re8 Kg7 45. Rc8 Rd4 46. Kf3 Rd7 47. Rc6 Bd6 48. g4 Rf7+ (48... Kf6) 49. Ke2 Rd7 50. Rc8 Bc5 51. Rc6 Rd6 52. Rc7+ Kf6 53. Rxa7 Ke5 54. Bd3 Kf4 55. Rg7 $2 (55. Ra4+ Kg3 56. Re4 $11) 55... Kxg4 $2 (55... g5 $1 56. Bf5 h5 57. Rf7 h4 $17) 56. Bxg6 $11 Kf4 57. Bd3 h5 58. Rf7+ Kg5 59. Be4 Re6 60. Kf3 Rf6+ 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
     

The two-day and three-day sections merged for the third round. FM Joshua Posthuma was a perfect 2/2 and maintained his lead with a draw against top-seed GM Andrey Stukopin. Niemann won against FM Vincent Tsay, and I also won this game against IM Justin Sarkar, to join Posthuma and Niemann in front at 2.5/3.   

 

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WGM Jennifer Yu met IM Justin Sarkar in the third round of the 2020 U.S. Master Class Championship in October.
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WGM Jennifer Yu met IM Justin Sarkar in the third round of the 2020 U.S. Master Class Championship in October.

[pgn][Event "US Class"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.11.01"] [Round "3"] [White "Sarkar, Justin"] [Black "Yu, Jennifer"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C26"] [Annotator "WGM Jennifer Yu"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] {[%evp 0,78,26,28,18,24,24,-60,5,-4,-20,-7,1,5,4,13,11,18,-7,-9,-1,-12,5,-12, 10,20,26,19,31,32,39,34,41,31,51,24,16,16,16,-25,-25,-57,-57,-57,-57,-63,-49, -46,-64,-64,-64,-64,-64,-64,-43,-78,-83,-94,-94,-94,-40,-40,-39,-41,-47,-77, -63,-63,-59,-77,-67,-67,-67,-67,0,-625,-625,-625,-633,-29987,-2178]} 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bd6 7. Ne2 O-O 8. O-O c6 9. d3 Nd7 10. c4 Nc5 11. Be3 Ne6 (11... Bg4 {to get the bishop out before Ne6 is also an idea.} 12. h3 Bh5) ({I didn't want to play} 11... Be6 {because after } 12. f4 {I thought it would be annoying if the knight takes back on f4 and hits my bishop}) 12. Qd2 Qc7 (12... Re8 13. Rab1 Bc7 $11) 13. c3 (13. a4 { since there's not much I can do on the kingside, pushing on the queenside to provoke weaknesses may be an interesting idea for White} Bd7 14. a5) 13... f5 { the idea behind my knight maneuver from d7-c5-e6 was to provoke f4 and trade off the knights so I can place my bishop on e6 without it getting bothered. It probably would've been easier to just develop my bishop to g4 earlier, but there's no major drawback for spending a lot of time maneuvering my knight either.} 14. f4 exf4 15. Nxf4 Nxf4 16. Bxf4 Be6 17. Qe3 Rfe8 18. Bxd6 Qxd6 19. c5 Qd7 20. Qf3 ({In the game, I got an initiative because of the weakened light squares that 21.d4 creates. However, there's no good alternative after 20.Qf3 so I think it would've been better to put the queen on d2 instead. Although this initially looks passive, I don't have an immediate way to take advantage of White's temporarily weak central pawns} 20. Qd2 Bc4 21. Rfd1 Bd5 22. Bh3 $11) 20... g6 21. d4 (21. Rfd1 Bd5 22. Qf2 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 Re6 $15 24. d4 Rae8 25. Re1 Qd5+ 26. Kg1 Kf7 {I think the position is easier to play for Black because of the control over the e-file and active queen.}) 21... Bc4 22. Rfb1 ({The problem with} 22. Rfe1 {is} Rxe1+ 23. Rxe1 Bxa2) 22... Re7 (22... Re4 {is the move that I wanted to play since I have more options after doubling the rooks like forming an Alekhine's gun. I decided to not play it because I wasn't sure if White could gain a timely tempo on my rook by moving the queen out of the way. However, there's no good square to move the queen to so it really isn't an issue. For example} 23. Rb4 Qf7 24. Qd1 Re3) 23. Rb4 Bd5 24. Qf2 Bxg2 25. Qxg2 Rae8 26. Rb2 Qe6 (26... Re3 {I wasn't exactly sure what to do after} 27. Rab1 {but it turns out there's the amazing move} a5 $1 (27... Rxc3 $2 28. Qd2 $1 Rce3 29. Rxb7 Qd5 30. Rb8 $11) {and if something like} 28. a4 (28. Rxb7 $2 Re1+ $1 29. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 30. Kf2 Qxb7 31. Kxe1 Qb1+ 32. Ke2 Qxa2+ 33. Kf1 Qxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Kf7 {preventing d5 and easily wins with the passed a-pawn.}) (28. Qc2 f4 29. Rxb7 Qg4) 28... Rxc3 29. Qd2 {This was the issue for 27...Rxc3 but here} (29. Rxb7 $2 Qxd4+ 30. Qf2 Rce3 $17) 29... Ree3 30. Rxb7 Qd5 $1 {and since White played a4, Rb3 is possible when the b7 rook moves away from the b-file to bring the other rook into my position}) 27. Rc2 (27. Qc2 { I think this creates more resistance since the b-rook keeps an eye on the b-pawn and the queen does not let my queen into White's position on d3 like in the game.}) 27... Qe3+ 28. Qf2 Qd3 29. Qd2 Qf3 $2 (29... Qc4 {this was my plan when I played Qe6 because I thought I was completely dominant here with my control over the e-file. However, for some reason I thought I could play for checkmate if I swung my queen over to the kingside. As it turns out, that was complete nonsense since he defends easily and my queen becomes misplaced.} 30. Qf4 Re3) 30. Rf1 $1 {Although he was low on time, Sarkar defended well in the next few moves.} Qh5 31. Qd1 Qg5 32. Qd3 Re3 33. Qc4+ Kh8 (33... Kf8 {I also considered this move becomes Qf7 is always something to worry about after the Kh8. Additionally d5 is more strong when the king is on h8. However, I wasn't sure if my king would become exposed here, but it turns out Kf8 would've been a stronger move.}) 34. Rb2 {here I had a massive time advantage so I wanted to be aggressive and open his king further to put pressure on him.} Re1 $6 (34... R8e7 {maintains the tension but it's also more risky for me} 35. d5 R7e4 36. Qb3 Re2 37. c4 (37. Qxb7 $2 Re7 $1) 37... Qf6 $15) 35. Rxe1 $1 Rxe1+ 36. Kg2 Qc1 (36... Qe3 {was what I planned but I realized I had nothing after} 37. Kh3 $1 $11 {and I may have to play a perpetual soon since Qf7 is coming} (37. Rf2 $2 Qe4+ 38. Kh3 Kg7 {threatening g5 since Qf7 is no longer possible} 39. Rf4 Qc2 40. Qb3 Qxb3 41. axb3 Kf6 {with a nice endgame})) 37. Rf2 $4 (37. Rxb7 $4 Qd2+ 38. Kh3 Re2 $1 {wins because} 39. Rxh7+ Kxh7 40. Qf7+ Kh6 41. Qf8+ Kh5 42. Qh8+ Qh6 {and there are no more checks}) (37. Re2 $1 Rg1+ 38. Kf3 $11) (37. Qf7 $1 Rg1+ 38. Kf3 Qxc3+ 39. Kf4 Rf1+ 40. Kg5 Qe3+ 41. Kf6 Qxd4+ 42. Kg5 $11 { I have nothing better than perpetual}) 37... Rg1+ 38. Kf3 g5 $1 39. Rf1 (39. Re2 Qf1+ 40. Ke3 f4+ 41. Kd2 (41. Ke4 f3 $17) 41... Qd1#) 39... Rxf1+ 0-1 [/pgn]
    

I was on the top board in the fourth round, paired against Stukopin. We simplified from the opening into an endgame where I was worse, and he won convincingly I never stood a chance.  Niemann won this game against Posthuma to take the sole lead with 3.5/4.    

[pgn][Event "2020 US Class (Master)"] [Site "Dulles, VA, United States"] [Date "2020.11.01"] [Round "4.1"] [White "NIEMANN, Hans"] [Black "POSTHUMA, Joshua"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2465"] [BlackElo "2339"] [Annotator "WGM Jennifer Yu"] [PlyCount "173"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] 1. e4 {[%emt 0:02:13]} c6 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 2. d4 {[%emt 0:00:21]} d5 {[%emt 0: 00:07]} 3. e5 {[%emt 0:03:52]} c5 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 4. dxc5 {[%emt 0:01:09]} Nc6 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 5. Nf3 {[%emt 0:09:00]} Bg4 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 6. c3 {[%emt 0: 02:25]} e6 {[%emt 0:00:35]} 7. Be3 {[%emt 0:05:31]} a6 {[%emt 0:01:03]} 8. Qb3 {[%emt 0:08:21]} Bxf3 {[%emt 0:07:42]} 9. gxf3 {[%emt 0:02:20]} Rb8 {[%emt 0: 03:41]} 10. Nd2 {[%emt 0:12:35]} Nxe5 {[%emt 0:18:46]} 11. O-O-O {[%emt 0:04: 28]} Qc7 {[%emt 0:11:45]} 12. Qa4+ {[%emt 0:20:37]} Qc6 {[%emt 0:01:37]} 13. Qf4 {[%emt 0:01:58]} Nd7 {[%emt 0:01:44]} 14. Nb3 {[%emt 0:02:11]} e5 $2 { [%emt 0:08:13] the drawback from this natural looking move is that Black is too underdeveloped at the moment and won't be able to support the center. It also opens up the h3-c8 diagonal for the white bishop.} (14... Ngf6 15. Kb1 g6 16. h4 Bg7) 15. Qg3 {[%emt 0:04:13]} Ngf6 {[%emt 0:03:00]} (15... g6 16. f4 e4 17. c4 $1) 16. Bh3 {[%emt 0:06:03]} g6 {[%emt 0:09:28]} 17. f4 {[%emt 0:11:01]} (17. Na5 $1 {kicking the queen from the defense of the d-pawn works because} Qa4 (17... Qc7 18. Bxd7+ Nxd7 19. Rxd5 $16) 18. Bxd7+ Nxd7 19. Rxd5 f6 (19... Qxa5 $2 20. Rxe5+ Be7 21. Rxe7+ Kxe7 22. Qd6+ Kd8 23. Rd1 $18) 20. Rhd1) 17... Ne4 {[%emt 0:17:12]} 18. Bxd7+ {[%emt 0:01:42]} Qxd7 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 19. Qg2 { [%emt 0:05:14]} Bh6 {[%emt 0:01:02]} 20. f3 {[%emt 0:00:23]} exf4 {[%emt 0:02: 49]} 21. Bd4 {[%emt 0:03:33]} (21. Bd2 {is better and maintains White's initiative since Black won't be allowed to escape by castling like in the game by} Nxd2 22. Rhe1+ Kf8 (22... Ne4 23. Rxe4+) 23. Qxd2 {and White will win d5 soon}) 21... O-O $1 {[%emt 0:00:17] it almost looks like Black shouldn't be allowed to castle but Posthuma does it just in time.} 22. Qf1 {[%emt 0:00:05]} Ng5 {[%emt 0:01:09]} 23. h4 {[%emt 0:00:34]} Ne6 {[%emt 0:00:17]} 24. Be5 { [%emt 0:00:05]} Rbc8 {[%emt 0:01:32]} 25. Bd6 {[%emt 0:00:06]} Rfd8 {[%emt 0: 02:21]} 26. Rxd5 {[%emt 0:00:37]} Qc6 {[%emt 0:00:54]} 27. Qd3 {[%emt 0:00:11]} Nc7 {[%emt 0:06:04]} 28. Rd4 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Nb5 {[%emt 0:00:23]} 29. Na5 { [%emt 0:00:10]} Qd7 {[%emt 0:00:41]} 30. Rd5 {[%emt 0:00:14]} Nc7 {[%emt 0:03: 08]} 31. Re5 $2 {after this, Posthuma immediately seizes the initiative and wins the c5 pawn} (31. h5 $1 {was the only way to keep the balance} Nxd5 32. Qxd5 Bg7 33. hxg6 hxg6 34. Rg1 b6 (34... Qb5 35. Rxg6 Qf1+ 36. Kc2 Qe2+ 37. Kc1 Qe3+ 38. Kc2 $11) 35. Nb7 Rxc5 36. Nxc5 Qxd6 37. Qxd6 Rxd6 38. Nxa6 $11) 31... Bg7 $1 {[%emt 0:01:21]} 32. Re4 Ne6 {[%emt 0:00:21]} 33. Nb3 {[%emt 0:03:45]} Rxc5 {[%emt 0:04:31]} 34. Rxe6 {[%emt 0:01:24]} Rc6 {[%emt 0:00:38]} 35. Re4 { [%emt 0:00:24]} Rxd6 {[%emt 0:00:16]} 36. Qe2 {[%emt 0:00:02] Up a solid pawn and controlling the d-file, Posthuma has a huge advantage.} h5 {[%emt 0:01:33]} 37. Re7 {[%emt 0:00:24]} Qc6 {[%emt 0:01:35]} 38. Qe4 {[%emt 0:00:10]} Qxe4 { [%emt 0:00:59]} 39. Rxe4 {[%emt 0:00:01]} Rd3 {[%emt 0:01:17]} 40. Rf1 { Although this looks like a simple conversion for black, the non-existent second time control complicates the game} Re3 {[%emt 0:00:55]} 41. Kc2 { [%emt 0:00:01]} Be5 {[%emt 0:02:16]} 42. Nc5 {[%emt 0:00:24]} b6 {[%emt 0:00: 26]} 43. Nxa6 {[%emt 0:00:14]} f5 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 44. Rc4 {[%emt 0:00:37]} Re2+ {[%emt 0:00:19]} 45. Kb3 {[%emt 0:00:11]} Rdd2 {[%emt 0:00:12]} 46. Rb1 { [%emt 0:00:24]} Rf2 {[%emt 0:00:18]} 47. Rc6 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Rd6 {[%emt 0:00: 14]} 48. Rc8+ {[%emt 0:00:07]} Kf7 {[%emt 0:00:03]} 49. Re1 {[%emt 0:00:11]} Re6 {[%emt 0:00:18]} 50. Nb4 {[%emt 0:00:57]} Rxf3 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 51. Nc6 { [%emt 0:00:09]} Re3 {[%emt 0:00:49]} 52. Rd1 {[%emt 0:00:01]} Re8 {[%emt 0:00: 54]} (52... Bf6 {would've been easier to defend} 53. Rd7+ Be7) 53. Nd8+ { [%emt 0:00:38]} Kg8 {[%emt 0:00:09]} 54. Rc6 {[%emt 0:00:21]} Rg3 $2 {[%emt 0: 00:20]} (54... f3 $1 {is the only way for black to keep the advantage} 55. Rxg6+ (55. Rd7 Bg7 $1 56. Rxg6 R8e7 57. Rd2 Re2 58. Rd3 Rg2) 55... Kh7 56. Rg5 Bf6 $1) 55. Ne6 {[%emt 0:00:27]} Bf6 {[%emt 0:00:29]} 56. Nxf4 {[%emt 0:00:07]} Bxh4 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 57. Nxg6 {[%emt 0:00:04]} Bd8 $2 {[%emt 0:00:06]} (57... Bg5 58. Rh1 Kf7 59. Rxh5 Re6 $11) 58. Rh1 {[%emt 0:00:10]} (58. Nf4 $1 { threatening Nxh5 and Rc8}) 58... Re2 {[%emt 0:00:15]} 59. Rxh5 {[%emt 0:00:05]} (59. Nf4 $1 Rf2 60. Rd1 Rxf4 61. Rxd8+ Kh7 62. Rxb6) 59... Rgg2 {[%emt 0:00:03] } 60. Rxf5 {[%emt 0:01:34]} Rxb2+ {[%emt 0:00:03]} 61. Kc4 Rg4+ {[%emt 0:00:08] } 62. Rf4 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Rxf4+ {[%emt 0:00:05]} 63. Nxf4 Rxa2 {[%emt 0:00:13] } 64. Rc8 Ra4+ {[%emt 0:00:03]} 65. Kb5 Rxf4 {[%emt 0:00:03]} 66. Rxd8+ { [%emt 0:00:01]} Kf7 {[%emt 0:00:02]} 67. Kxb6 {[%emt 0:00:04]} Rc4 {[%emt 0:00: 06]} 68. Rd3 {[%emt 0:00:41]} Rc8 $2 {[%emt 0:00:07]} ({The king has to come into the fight as soon as possible. It got cut off on the e-file in the game} 68... Ke6 69. Kb5 Rc8 70. c4 Rb8+ 71. Kc5 Rc8+) 69. Re3 $1 {[%emt 0:00:07]} Kf6 {[%emt 0:00:03]} 70. Kb5 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Rb8+ {[%emt 0:00:06]} 71. Kc6 { [%emt 0:00:05]} Rc8+ {[%emt 0:00:01]} 72. Kd6 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Kf5 {[%emt 0:00: 11]} 73. Re5+ {[%emt 0:00:01]} Kf6 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 74. Rc5 {[%emt 0:00:04]} Rd8+ {[%emt 0:00:03]} 75. Kc7 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Rd3 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 76. c4 { [%emt 0:00:02]} Ke6 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 77. Rh5 {[%emt 0:00:23]} Rd7+ {[%emt 0:00: 06]} 78. Kb6 {[%emt 0:00:18]} Rd1 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 79. c5 {[%emt 0:00:07]} Kd7 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 80. c6+ {[%emt 0:00:12]} Ke7 {[%emt 0:00:12]} 81. Rh7+ { [%emt 0:00:03]} Ke8 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 82. Rh8+ {[%emt 0:00:02]} Ke7 83. c7 { [%emt 0:00:01]} Rb1+ {[%emt 0:00:02]} 84. Ka5 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Ra1+ {[%emt 0: 00:05]} 85. Kb4 Rb1+ {[%emt 0:00:01]} 86. Ka3 Rc1 87. c8=Q {[%emt 0:00:02]} 1-0 [/pgn]
    

In the final round, Niemann and Stukopin drew this complicated game. The half point guaranteed Niemann a share of first place with 4/5.   

[pgn][Event "2020 US Class (Master)"] [Site "Dulles, VA, United States"] [Date "2020.11.01"] [Round "5.1"] [White "STUKOPIN, Andrey"] [Black "NIEMANN, Hans"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C56"] [WhiteElo "2566"] [BlackElo "2465"] [Annotator "WGM Jennifer Yu"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] {[%evp 0,48,26,28,24,24,18,14,17,7,-38,-18,-7,-7,-7,-18,-18,13,20,20,18,18,12, 18,-5,16,-4,24,9,-97,-110,-74,0,36,36,-77,-77,-83,-48,-20,-34,-34,-38,-12,0,0, 0,0,0,0,0]} 1. e4 {[%emt 0:00:01]} e5 {[%emt 0:00:47]} 2. Nf3 {[%emt 0:00:22]} Nc6 {[%emt 0:00:13]} 3. Bc4 {[%emt 0:00:09]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:00:12]} 4. d4 { [%emt 0:00:15]} exd4 {[%emt 0:00:43]} 5. O-O {[%emt 0:00:05]} Nxe4 {[%emt 0:13: 20]} 6. Re1 {[%emt 0:00:34]} d5 {[%emt 0:00:13]} 7. Bxd5 {[%emt 0:00:16]} Qxd5 {[%emt 0:00:10]} 8. Nc3 {[%emt 0:00:06]} Qa5 {[%emt 0:07:36]} 9. Nxe4 {[%emt 0: 00:36]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:19]} 10. Neg5 {[%emt 0:00:36]} O-O-O {[%emt 0:00:28]} 11. Nxe6 {[%emt 0:00:12]} fxe6 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 12. Rxe6 {[%emt 0:00:22]} Qf5 { [%emt 0:01:12]} 13. Qe2 {[%emt 0:06:10]} h6 {[%emt 0:08:16]} 14. Bd2 {[%emt 0: 13:03]} Qxc2 {[%emt 0:13:56]} 15. Rc1 {[%emt 0:00:08]} Qa4 {[%emt 0:03:16]} ({ nearly all the games in the database continued} 15... Qxb2 16. Rexc6 bxc6 17. Qe6+ Kb8 18. Qe4 d3 19. Ne5 Ka8 20. Nxc6 Qb7 21. Qe3 $11 {although Black has a material advantage, the position is equal because of Black's exposed king. Na5 is coming to kick the black queen away from the defense}) 16. Rexc6 $1 { [%emt 0:53:26]} bxc6 {[%emt 0:00:09]} 17. Qe6+ $2 {[%emt 0:00:40]} (17. Ne5 { first was more accurate because} Qb5 18. Qg4+ Kb7 19. Nxc6 {in the game, White's queens placement on e6 ironically makes it more difficult to take on c6 because of Rd6}) 17... Kb7 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 18. Ne5 {[%emt 0:01:24]} c5 $6 { [%emt 0:00:11] Now that the a8-h1 diagonal is open, black needs to worry about a lot of checks} ({The surprising} 18... Qb5 $1 {is the way to go because it prophlaxis against White's idea of Qg4 by tying White's queen to the defense of the knight. On g4 the queen can swing over to the a8-h1 diagonal and Nxc6 is possible because Rd6 will no longer be a threat. Additionally the queen on g4 defends the d1 square so it's possible for white to move the rook away from the backrank in several lines (Rc4 will become a possible move).} 19. Nxc6 (19. Nf7 Bd6 20. Nxh8 Rxh8 21. Qe4 Rd8 {Black is able to keep the extra pawn and Qd5 is coming}) (19. a4 Qxa4 20. Qg4 Rd5 21. Nxc6 Rc5 {Since the a-pawn is gone, Black threatens the back rank in several lines where the rook trades off. }) 19... Rd6 20. Na5+ (20. Qc8+ Kxc8 21. Nxa7+ Kd7 22. Nxb5 Rb6 $17) 20... Qxa5 21. Qxd6 Bxd6 22. Bxa5 c5 $17 {Black's passed central pawns give him the advantage in this endgame}) 19. Nf7 {[%emt 0:08:55]} (19. Qf5 $11 Bd6 20. Qe4+ Ka6 (20... Kb8 21. Nc6+ Kc8 22. Qf5+ Kb7 23. Na5+ Ka8 24. Qe4+ c6 25. Nxc6 Rhe8 26. Qf3 Rf8 27. Qe4 $11) 21. Qd3+ Kb7 (21... Qb5 $4 22. Nc4 $1 Rb8 23. a4 Qb3 24. Qf1 d3 25. Rc3 $16) 22. Qe4+ $11) 19... Bd6 {[%emt 0:00:06]} 20. Nxh8 { [%emt 0:03:24]} Rxh8 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 21. b4 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Re8 {[%emt 0:07: 56]} (21... cxb4 {looks risky}) 22. Qd5+ {[%emt 0:00:04]} Qc6 {[%emt 0:00:26]} 23. Qc4 {[%emt 0:00:04]} Qa6 {[%emt 0:00:32]} 24. Qd5+ {[%emt 0:05:02]} Qc6 { [%emt 0:00:06]} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
   

After starting with two draws, FM Eugene Yanayt won his final three games to become co-champion with Niemann, including this victory over Isaac Chiu in the fifth round.  

[pgn][Event "2020 US Class (Master)"] [Site "Dulles, VA, United States"] [Date "2020.11.01"] [Round "5.2"] [White "YANAYT, Eugene"] [Black "CHIU, Isaac"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2173"] [BlackElo "2191"] [Annotator "WGM Jennifer Yu"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] 1. d4 {[%emt 0:06:57]} d5 {[%emt 0:01:20]} 2. c4 {[%emt 0:00:07]} dxc4 { [%emt 0:00:17]} 3. Nf3 {[%emt 0:00:37]} c6 {[%emt 0:00:21]} 4. e3 {[%emt 0:06: 12]} Be6 {[%emt 0:00:19]} 5. a4 {[%emt 0:02:16]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:00:24]} 6. Na3 { [%emt 0:05:20]} Bd5 {[%emt 0:11:35]} 7. Nxc4 {[%emt 0:05:51]} e6 {[%emt 0:01: 10]} 8. Be2 {[%emt 0:04:48]} c5 {[%emt 0:02:23]} 9. O-O {[%emt 0:03:11]} Be7 { [%emt 0:04:22]} (9... Nc6 10. b3 Be7 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Nfe5 {1/2-1/2 (37) Potapov,A (2456)-Golod,V (2575) Tashkent 2009}) 10. b3 {[%emt 0:03:41]} cxd4 {[%emt 0:07:49]} 11. Nxd4 {[%emt 0:09:16]} O-O {[%emt 0:00:57]} 12. Bb2 { [%emt 0:04:28]} Nc6 {[%emt 0:04:31]} 13. Rc1 {[%emt 0:01:13]} Rc8 {[%emt 0:03: 49]} 14. Kh1 {[%emt 0:01:40]} Ne4 {[%emt 0:21:21]} 15. f3 {[%emt 0:07:05]} Nxd4 {[%emt 0:22:11]} 16. Bxd4 {[%emt 0:04:24]} ({White also gets a pleasant position after} 16. Qxd4 Nf6 (16... Bf6 17. Ne5 Nd6 18. Qd3) 17. e4 Bxc4 18. Bxc4) 16... Nd6 {[%emt 0:04:08]} 17. e4 {[%emt 0:15:07]} (17. Bxa7 {White doesn't get to keep the pawn because of} Nxc4 18. Bxc4 (18. bxc4 Bc6 {Qa5 is coming and the a4 pawn will fall}) 18... Bxc4 19. bxc4 Qxd1 20. Rfxd1 Ra8 21. Bb6 Rxa4 $11) 17... Bxc4 {[%emt 0:00:57]} 18. bxc4 {[%emt 0:00:13]} Qa5 $2 { [%emt 0:08:14] missing White's idea} (18... b6 {preventing c5 and kicking the knight back is the way to go.}) 19. c5 $1 {[%emt 0:07:55]} Ne8 {[%emt 0:00:59]} 20. Qb3 $1 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Bxc5 {[%emt 0:07:15]} 21. Bb5 $1 {[%emt 0:01:10] The key move! Yanayt takes advantage of the pin on the c-file and the awkward e8-knight that is disrupting the harmony of Black's pieces.} Qb6 {[%emt 0:00: 23]} (21... b6 $2 22. Bc3 $1 {and the queen drops}) (21... Bxd4 22. Rxc8 Nd6 23. Rxf8+ Kxf8 {may have provided more resistance but the knight and pawn is not enough for White's rook.}) 22. Rxc5 {[%emt 0:03:04]} Rxc5 {[%emt 0:00:13]} 23. Qb4 {[%emt 0:00:28]} Rxb5 {[%emt 0:00:16]} 24. axb5 {[%emt 0:00:06]} Qd8 { [%emt 0:01:16]} 25. Bc5 $1 {[%emt 0:00:27]} Nc7 {[%emt 0:00:28]} 26. Bxf8 { [%emt 0:00:46]} Qxf8 {[%emt 0:00:02] Yanayt converts his material advantage flawlessly to win the game and become a co-champion.} 27. Qc4 {[%emt 0:00:53]} Na8 {[%emt 0:02:03]} 28. Rd1 {[%emt 0:03:05]} h6 {[%emt 0:00:35]} 29. Qd4 { [%emt 0:00:48]} a6 {[%emt 0:01:22]} 30. bxa6 {[%emt 0:00:43]} bxa6 {[%emt 0:00: 02]} 31. Qd8 {[%emt 0:00:08]} Nb6 {[%emt 0:00:47]} 32. Qxb6 {[%emt 0:00:12]} Qa3 {[%emt 0:00:07]} 33. Qb8+ {[%emt 0:01:01]} Kh7 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 34. Qe5 { [%emt 0:00:19]} Qb3 {[%emt 0:00:24]} 35. Ra1 {[%emt 0:00:07]} Qe3 {[%emt 0:00: 20]} 36. h3 {[%emt 0:00:41]} Qe2 {[%emt 0:00:17]} 37. Qa5 {[%emt 0:00:30]} 1-0 [/pgn]

In the Expert section, Guy Cardwell swept the section with an amazing 5/5. Larry Larkins and Alperen Kanli took clear second and third with 4/5 and 3.5/5, respectively. Congratulations to the winners of all the sections. I was extremely happy I had the opportunity to play the event and cannot wait for the next one. 

 

Image
All masks were appropriate at the 2020 U.S. Class Championships held over the Halloween weekend.
Image Caption
All masks were appropriate at the 2020 U.S. Class Championships held over the Halloween weekend.

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