Two Rounds for all the Marbles!

Everything is to play for with just two rounds remaining at the 2021 U.S. Championship and Women’s Championship.

GM Fabiano Caruana defeated GM Dariusz Sweircz to climb into shared second place in the Open Championship with 5/9. GMs Leinier Dominguez and Ray Robson, who drew in round nine, join him there.

They trail the first-place triumvirate of GMs Wesley So, Sam Sevian, and Alex Lenderman by a half-point, with the three leaders at +2 (5½/9). With two rounds to play, and with key round ten matchups (Sevian - So, Lenderman – Caruana) on tap Sunday, this is still anyone’s ballgame.

IM Carissa Yip has a full-point lead over GM Irina Krush heading into today’s games. Yip defeated WIM Ashritha Eswaran to maintain her place at the top. Krush took down WGM Katerina Nemcova, who entered the day in clear second place a half-point behind Yip and ahead of Krush. Can Krush, who perhaps has favorable pairings in the remaining rounds, catch Yip and win her eighth U.S. Women’s Championship?

You’ll have to tune in to all the action to find out!

Let’s take a look at some of the games from round nine.

Open Section

 

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2021 US Championship Standings after Round 9

 

A quick glance at the day’s results — “just” two decisive results, the rest draws — does not begin to tell the tale of the fighting chess witnessed in round nine.

Caruana took an early edge in his game with Swiercz and never relinquished his advantage. Typically frank in the post-game interview, he talked about his opening preparation with Cristian, Maurice, and Yaz, and showed off a bit of the tactical sizzle that gave him the full point.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Caruana,F"] [Black "Swiercz,D"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2800"] [BlackElo "2647"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] [ECO "A29"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nd5 Bc5 7. b4 Nxb4 8. Nxb4 Bxb4 9. Nxe5 Re8 10. Nd3 Ba5 11. O-O c6 12. e3 d6 13. Nf4 Bf5 14. Bb2 Be4 15. Bh3 Rb8 16. d3 Bg6 17. Bg2 Bc7 18. a4 a6 19. e4 d5 20. cxd5 cxd5 21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. Nxd5 Qd8 23. h4 f6 24. Rc1 Bd6 25. Ne3 b5 26. axb5 axb5 27. Qg4 Bf8 28. Rfd1 b4 29. d4 b3 30. h5 Bf7 31. d5 Kh8 32. Rb1 Bc5 33. Nf5 Rg8 34. Qf3 Rb4 35. h6 g6 36. Ng7 b2 37. e5 Bd4 38. e6 Be8 39. Rxd4 Rxd4 40. Rxb2 Ba4 41. Rb7 f5 42. Nxf5 Rd1+ 43. Kh2 Qf6 44. Nd6 1-0 [/pgn]

It may surprise some readers that our Game of the Day is the draw between GMs Wesley So and Daniel Naroditsky, but as WGM Jennifer Yu points out in her insightful annotations, this was an epic battle!

 

 

After the game So was visibly disappointed his play, telling the broadcast team that he thought he missed a number of chances to win the game.

GM Leinier Dominguez was also a bit down in the post-game interview after his draw with GM Ray Robson. The engines point out a “final blow” with 30. Bf7+, but with White having to pitch his rook on f1 to make the variation work, and with the clock ticking away, it’s hard to blame him for missing the variation.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Dominguez Perez, L."] [Black "Robson, R."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2760"] [BlackElo "2669"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "80"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. a4 a6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 d6 10. Nbd2 Ba7 11. h4 g4 12. Nh2 Kg7 13. Qe2 Qd7 14. Nhf1 Nh5 15. Ne3 Bxe3 16. Qxe3 Ne7 17. f4 f5 18. O-O Ng6 19. exf5 Ngxf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. Qd4+ Kh7 22. f6 Qf5 23. Rae1 Qxf6 24. Qxf6 Rxf6 25. Re7+ Kg6 26. Ne4 Rf8 27. Rxc7 b5 28. Bd5 Rb8 29. Nxd6 Ng3 30. Re1 $6 (30. Bf7+ $1 Rxf7 31. Rxf7 Nxf1 32. Kxf1 bxa4 33. Rxf4 $18) 30... bxa4 $6 (30... Kh5 $1 $13) 31. Bf7+ Kf6 32. Ne8+ $2 ( 32. Bc4 Rxb2 33. Nxc8 Ne2+ 34. Kh2 f3 35. gxf3 gxf3 36. d4 $18) 32... Rxe8 33. Bxe8 Be6 34. Bd7 (34. Rh7 $5) 34... Bxd7 35. Rxd7 Rxb2 36. Rd6+ Kf5 37. Rd5+ Kf6 38. Rd6+ Kf5 39. Rd5+ Kf6 40. Rd6+ Kf5 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

The draw between GM Alex Lenderman and GM Sam Shankland was deceptive, in that what appeared to be a simplified position was actually filled with poison. After some back and forth that is not truly captured by the engine evaluations, a repetition just after the time control brought the game to a peaceful conclusion.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Lenderman,A"] [Black "Shankland,S"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2607"] [BlackElo "2714"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] [ECO "E60"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Nf3 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. O-O Nb6 9. e3 e5 10. d5 e4 11. dxc6 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 exf3 13. Bxf3 bxc6 14. Bxc6 Rb8 15. Nd5 Bg4 16. f3 Be6 17. e4 Nc4 18. Nxc7 Bh3 19. Bb5 Na3 20. Ba4 Bxb2 21. Bxb2 Rxb2 22. Bb3 Rg2+ 23. Kh1 Rf2 24. Rd3 Nc4 25. Bxc4 Rc8 26. Bxf7+ Kxf7 27. Rc3 Rb8 28. Nd5 Rbb2 29. Rc7+ Ke8 30. Nf4 Bd7 31. Rd1 Ba4 32. Rc8+ Ke7 33. Rc7+ Ke8 34. Rdc1 Bd7 35. h4 Rxf3 36. e5 Bf5 37. Rxa7 Rxg3 38. Ra8+ Kd7 39. Ra7+ Ke8 40. Ra8+ Kd7 41. Ra7+ Ke8 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

GM Jeffery Xiong’s win over GM Lazaro Bruzon featured a dénouement that will appear in future tactics books.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Bruzon Batista, L.."] [Black "Xiong, Jeffery"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C07"] [WhiteElo "2645"] [BlackElo "2700"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4r1k1/5p2/3r4/Pp2q1p1/3p4/5PP1/1R4K1/1R1Q4 b - - 0 47"] [PlyCount "11"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] {[#]} 47... Rh6 $1 48. Rxb5 Qh8 $3 49. Rxg5+ Kf8 50. g4 Rh2+ 51. Kg3 Rh3+ 52. Kg2 Qh4 0-1 [/pgn]

Last but not least, it was a draw between players at the top and bottom of the table, with co-leader Sevian perhaps fortunate to split the point with GM John Burke.

 

Women’s Championship

 

Image
2021 US Women's Ch Standings after Round 9

 

With her fourth straight win, IM Carissa Yip is the clear frontrunner in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Championship.

She dominated WIM Ashritha Eswaran in a topical variation of the Caro-Kann, smashing the center open with 22. d5! and never looking back. Her technique was particularly impressive (26. Bd4!, 29. Qf4!, 30. Qc7!) as she ground her opponent down.

 

 

GM Irina Krush showed her vast experience and skill in her victory over WGM Katerina Nemcova. Starting the day in second place, Nemcova was in a fighting mood from the outset, obtaining a double-edged position in the opening, but burning a lot of time in the process. Krush smoothly grabbed control, and converted a positional advantage into a material one when she pinned and eventually won Nemcova’s knight.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA w 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Krush,I"] [Black "Nemcova,Kat"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2429"] [BlackElo "2331"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] [ECO "A10"] 1. c4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 O-O 6. Nf3 d6 7. d4 Ne4 8. Nbd2 c5 9. Qc2 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Qb6 11. e3 e5 12. Nb5 a6 13. Nxe4 axb5 14. Nc3 bxc4 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Qxc4 Be6 17. O-O Nc6 18. Rfd1 Rf7 19. b4 e4 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. a4 Ne5 22. Qd4 Bxd5 23. Qxd5 Rd7 24. Bf1 Qg5 25. Be2 h5 26. h4 Qe7 27. Kg2 Rc8 28. Rd2 Qf7 29. Qd4 Qf6 30. Rad1 d5 31. a5 Rcd8 32. b5 Nf7 33. Qc5 Qd6 34. Qxd6 Rxd6 35. a6 bxa6 36. bxa6 Ne5 37. a7 Nc6 38. Rxd5 Rxd5 39. Rxd5 Ra8 40. Rc5 Nxa7 41. Ra5 Kh6 42. Ra6 Kg7 43. Bc4 Rc8 44. Rxa7+ Kf6 45. Ra6+ Kg7 46. Bb5 Rb8 47. Ba4 Kf7 48. Rd6 Kg7 49. Kf1 Kf7 50. Ke2 Rb4 51. Bc2 Rb2 52. Kd2 Kg7 53. Kc3 Ra2 54. Rb6 Ra1 55. Rb1 Ra2 56. Rb2 Ra3+ 57. Bb3 Ra1 58. Ra2 Rb1 59. Bc4 Rd1 60. Ra6 Rd8 61. Bb5 Kf7 62. Ra7+ Ke6 63. Rg7 Kf6 64. Rd7 Ra8 65. Kd4 Ke6 66. Kc5 Ra5 67. Rd6+ Kf7 68. Ra6 1-0 [/pgn]

One of the first decisive results of the day was the “slash and burn” win by WGM Tatev Abrahamyan over WGM Anna Sharevich. Abrahamyan got a prototypical attacking position in the Sicilian and forced her opponent to shed material on move 21. After that it was smooth sailing.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA w 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Abrahamyan,T"] [Black "Sharevich,A"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2344"] [BlackElo "2276"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] [ECO "B45"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 d6 6. g4 Bd7 7. Be3 Be7 8. Qe2 Nxd4 9. Bxd4 e5 10. Be3 Bc6 11. O-O-O Nf6 12. Bg2 Qa5 13. g5 Nd7 14. h4 b5 15. Kb1 Nb6 16. f4 Nc4 17. Bc1 Qb4 18. Nd5 Bxd5 19. Rxd5 Rc8 20. c3 Qa5 21. b3 Qxc3 22. bxc4 bxc4 23. Qb2 Qxb2+ 24. Kxb2 exf4 25. Bxf4 Rc6 26. Rhd1 c3+ 27. Kc2 Ra6 28. Ra1 O-O 29. Bf1 Rb6 30. Rb5 f6 31. Bc4+ Kh8 32. Rxb6 axb6 33. Kxc3 g6 34. Rd1 fxg5 35. Bxg5 Bf6+ 36. Bxf6+ Rxf6 37. Rf1 Kg7 38. Kd4 1-0 [/pgn]

WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova continued her impressive debut in this U.S. Women’s Championship with a solid win over former champion IM Nazi Paikidze. “Begim” enjoyed a dream position with the White pieces in the King’s Indian, and after some back and forth, got a pawn up endgame with two knights against Paikidze’s knight and bishop. Her patient conversion is instructive and well worth playing through.

[pgn][Event "ch-USA w 2021"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.16"] [Round "9"] [White "Tokhirjonova,Gulrukhbegim"] [Black "Paikidze,N"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2322"] [BlackElo "2374"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] [ECO "E68"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 d6 5. g3 O-O 6. Bg2 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4 exd4 9. Nxd4 Re8 10. Re1 c6 11. h3 Qc7 12. Be3 Nc5 13. Qc2 a5 14. Rad1 a4 15. f4 h5 16. Bf2 Nh7 17. Nf3 b6 18. Bd4 Be6 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. e5 Bf5 21. Qf2 dxe5 22. Rxe5 Be6 23. Ree1 Rad8 24. Ne5 Bc8 25. Rxd8 Rxd8 26. Nxc6 Nd3 27. Qd2 Nxe1 28. Qxd8 Qxd8 29. Nxd8 Nxg2 30. Kxg2 Kf8 31. Kh2 Bd7 32. Nb7 Be6 33. Nxa4 Bxc4 34. b3 Ba6 35. Nd6 Ke7 36. Ne4 b5 37. Nac3 Bb7 38. Nc5 Bc6 39. Kg1 Nf6 40. b4 Ne8 41. Nb3 Nc7 42. Nd4 Bd7 43. h4 Kd6 44. Kf2 Be8 45. a3 Bd7 46. Ke2 Ke7 47. Kd3 Kd6 48. Ke4 f5+ 49. Kd3 Be8 50. Nf3 Ne6 51. Ne5 Nc7 52. Ke3 Ne6 53. Nd3 Bc6 54. Nb2 Nc7 55. Kd4 Ne6+ 56. Kd3 Nc7 57. a4 bxa4 58. Nbxa4 Bg2 59. Nc5 Bf3 60. Kd4 Bc6 61. Kc4 Na8 62. b5 Nb6+ 63. Kd4 Be8 64. Nd3 Nd7 65. Ne5 Nc5 66. Nc4+ 1-0 [/pgn]

In the two remaining games, IM Anna Zatonskih defeated WGM Sabina Foisor, while WIM Megan Lee and WGM Thalia Cervantes battle to a draw.

 

ROUND 10 PAIRINGS

Open Section

Shankland – Naroditsky
Sevian – So
Robson – Burke
Xiong – Dominguez
Swiercz – Bruzon
Lenderman – Caruna

Women’s Section

Sharevich – Foisor
Eswaran – Zatonskih
Paikidze – Yip
Nemcova – Tokhirjonova
Cervantes – Krush
Abrahamyan – Lee


The 2021 US Chess Championships are being played October 5-19 in the Saint Louis Chess Club, with rounds beginning daily at 1:00 p.m. central. Each round will be broadcast live alongside GM commentary by Maurice Ashley, Cristian Chirila and four-time US Chess Champion GM Yasser Seirawan, viewable on the Saint Louis Chess Club YouTube channel or the official event website.      

Check CLO daily for round recaps and master analysis of the 2021 US Chess Championships.  


Quick Links:

2021 U.S. Championships Main Page

2021 U.S. Championships Live Games

2021 U.S. Championships Live Commentary

2021 U.S. Championship Pairings and Results

2021 U.S. Women's Championship Pairings and Results

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