Seven's a Crowd As Tense U.S. Open Enters Last Round

The U.S. Open is one of America’s most prestigious events, and tomorrow we’ll have our winner! With seven players tied for first, this tournament — which hasn’t seen any player take the sole lead at any point — will still be wide open going into the final round.


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A draw on board one let five other players catch up with Tang and Liang (photo Daniel Day)


Who will be the 2023 U.S. Open Champion? Will rising IM Jason Liang pull through, or will the honor go to one of the seasoned grandmasters? Most likely, there will be a playoff; these types of events rarely seem to end in an outright victory as everyone goes all-in.

We got here when GM Andrew Tang couldn’t find any trace of an advantage against IM Jason Liang in their hotly contested matchup atop the tournament. As the pieces quickly flew off the board, both players realized they didn’t have much of anything and decided to make a draw and rest up for the finale. This draw gave a host of chasers a chance to join the leaders on 7/8.


GM Aleksey Sorokin made the most of that chance, staunchly outplaying Nicholas Ladan on the white side of a Catalan. Some central pressure put the onus on Ladan, and after he went astray, Sorokin never looked back. A smooth conversion followed, and now the second seed is back atop the standings.




Aleksey Sorokin caught up with the leaders after a dominating positional victory (photo Daniel Day)

GM Varuzhan Akobian was able to join the party as well with an equally precise win against IM Ronald Burnett, who had held the top-seeded GM Semen Khanin to a draw with the black pieces in the previous round. Coming loaded with an unusual line against the English, Akobian took the game into uncharted waters as early as move six, and quickly gained an insurmountable advantage, ending the game in just 26 moves.


Tang, Sorokin, Akobian, and Liang will be joined by three more grandmasters who won important games of their own. GMs Viktor Matviishen and David Brodsky dispatched IMs George Li and Bryce Tiglon, respectively, while GM Rahul Srivatshav took down Matias Shundi. Avi Kaplan was able to continue his excellent tournament with a well-played draw, preventing Joshua Posthuma from joining the leaders in the process.


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Upset alert! Nathaniel Moor with a game he'll remember for a long time (photo Daniel Day)

But one of the most shocking games happened just below in the standings. Nathaniel Philip Moor had the white pieces against top seed, GM Semen Khanin. Just coming off a draw, and trailing behind with 5½/8, Khanin was looking to regain his form with a black victory. Things looked to be going according to plan, with Moor’s opening experiments allowing Khanin to emerge pawn-up out of the opening . But one blunder was all it took to change the tide of the game and leave Moor with a victory he’ll remember for the rest of his life.



As if the title of U.S. Open champion was not motivation enough, remember that the top American player in the standings also qualifies for the U.S. Championship. Of the seven players currently tied for first, Sorokin (RUS), Matviishen (UKR), and Srivatshav (IND) are ineligible for this distinction, leaving Akobian, Tang, Liang, and Brodsky vying for the qualifying spot.

Due to the impending “chess shortage” after tomorrow’s round, 164 players joined the U.S. Open Blitz tournament Saturday night for fourteen (!!) games of game-in-five-minutes (with no delay or increment) blitz.

Congratulations to IM George Li for taking clear first with an impressive 13/14 score. IM Ben Li took clear second with 11½/14, and Avi Kaplan tied with Jackson Wahl for third with 11/14.

Hersh Singh and Eshaan Hebbar took top honors for the Under 2200 prize, each finishing with 10½/14. Evan Fan, rated only 1791, was clear first for players rated under 2000, finishing with 9½/14. Max Wilson won the Under 1800 prize, Tyler Ching the Under 1600 prize, Hongyi Tan the Under 1400 prize, and Kavya Ramesh the Under 1200 prize.

Speaking of “under” prizes, stay tuned to see how the dice land after round nine! A number of players rated under 2200 sit on an impressive 6/8 score, and a strong contingent rated under 2000 (including a couple rated under 1800) are currently on 5½/8, promising for some very impressive “under” prizes in the main event.


Action resumes today a bit earlier, with live commentary on Twitch beginning at 3 p.m. EDT.

Quick Links:

Main event page

Round-by-round coverage

Pairings page

Live games on

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