Wars of Attrition

By John Hartmann |  March 24, 2019  |   News

There was plenty of intrigue on and off the boards in the fourth round of the 2019 U.S. Championships. Plenty. The games were long. The moves were sharp. The drama... well, that takes some explaining. Four players are tied for first in the Open section at 2.5/4 at the end of the day’s play: Xiong, So, Nakamura, and Dominguez.  Jennifer Yu is alone in first place in the Women's section with 4/4 and is the only player with a chance to win the $64,000 Fischer Prize.


The marquee matchup of the round was the meeting between GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Lenier Dominguez, who was part of Team Caruana during preparations for last year’s World Championship match. Caruana improved on an sideline idea in the Catalan, and he was soon ahead on the board and the clock. 37. …Ra3 was a serious mistake by Dominguez, but after Caruana returned the favor with 47.Kh2, everything was up for grabs.

[pgn] [Event "U.S. Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.03.23"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Dominguez Perez, Leinier"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2828"] [BlackElo "2739"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "170"] [EventDate "2019.03.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qa4 a6 8. Qxc4 b5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bd2 Be4 11. Qc1 c6 12. a4 Nbd7 13. Nc3 Bg6 14. Nh4 Bh5 15. h3 {A new idea according to Dominguez.} Nd5 16. axb5 axb5 17. Rxa8 Qxa8 18. e4 Nb4 {"Passive but holdable." (Dominguez)} 19. Bg5 Qd8 20. Bxe7 Qxe7 21. Qe3 Rd8 22. Rc1 Nf8 23. Bf3 Bxf3 24. Nxf3 Nd7 25. Kg2 h6 26. h4 Nb6 27. b3 Nd7 28. Rd1 Ra8 29. Qe2 Nf6 30. Ne5 Nd7 31. Ng4 Nf6 32. Ne3 Ra3 33. e5 Nd7 34. Ne4 Nb6 35. Qh5 Rxb3 36. Ng4 N4d5 37. Ra1 {"I thought I was fine, but ...Ra3 was just a blunder. ... I missed Nxh6 and Nf6, but I shouuld play something like ...Na4 or ...Rb4 like Fabi was suggesting." (Dominguez)} Ra3 $2 (37... Na4) (37... Rb4 {was critical per Caruana. He analyzed} 38. Ra6 $5 (38. Nxh6+ {is a draw in hand} gxh6 39. Qxh6 Qf8 40. Qg5+ Kh8 41. Qh5+ {and what he would have played, per the post-game interview.}) 38... Rxd4 39. Nef6+ $1 gxf6 40. Rxb6 { threatening Rb8#} Nxb6 41. exf6 (41. Nxf6+ Kg7) 41... Qd7 42. Nxh6+ Kf8 43. Nf5 {threatening Qh8#} Qd5+ {(forced)} 44. Kh2 Rg4 $1 (44... Ke8 45. Ng7+ Kd8 46. Qxf7 {looked promising to Caruana, although engines love Black here.}) 45. Qxg4 exf5 $19) 38. Nxh6+ gxh6 39. Nf6+ Nxf6 40. exf6 Rxg3+ {An important resource.} 41. fxg3 Qxf6 42. Qg4+ {"Very precise." (Dominguez)} Kh8 43. Ra6 Qd8 44. Ra7 Qf8 45. Qf3 Kg8 46. Qxc6 Qd8 47. Kh2 $2 {"A horrible move. ... my advantage is already gone." (Caruana)} (47. Qf3 Qf8 48. Qb7 {and White has all kinds of threats.}) (47. Qxb5 Qd5+ 48. Qxd5 Nxd5 {"I would find it strange if Black has a fortress like this." (Caruana)}) 47... Qf6 $1 48. Qe4 Qf2+ 49. Kh3 Qf1+ 50. Qg2 Qf5+ 51. g4 Qd3+ 52. Qg3 Qxd4 $2 53. g5 h5 (53... hxg5 {was Dominguez's intent, but he realized that he would get mated after} 54. Qxg5+ Kf8 55. Qe7+ Kg8 56. Qxf7+ Kh8 57. Qh7#) 54. g6 Nd7 55. Ra8+ Kg7 56. gxf7+ Kxf7 57. Qg8+ Ke7 58. Re8+ Kd6 59. Rxe6+ Kc5 60. Qg5+ Kb4 61. Qxh5 Nc5 $1 62. Re7 Nd3 63. Qf3 Kc3 64. h5 {"I thought my h-pawn would be better than his b-pawn, but his knight is such a strong piece and my king is open." (Caruana)} b4 65. h6 b3 66. h7 b2 67. Rb7 Kd2 68. Qg2+ Kc1 69. Rc7+ Kb1 70. Qh1+ Nc1 (70... Ka2 71. Qa8+ Kb1 72. h8=Q Nf2+ $1 {is a beautiful stalemate idea:} 73. Kg3 (73. Kg2 Qg4+ 74. Kxf2 Qg1+ 75. Kxg1 $11) 73... Qg4+ 74. Kxf2 Qd4+ 75. Qxd4 $11) 71. Qa8 Qe3+ 72. Kg4 Qe6+ 73. Kf3 Qe2+ 74. Kg3 Qe5+ 75. Kh3 Qh5+ (75... Qxc7 76. h8=Q {is probably a draw according to both players. After a queen exchange, Black's pawn and knight are enough to match the remaining queen.}) 76. Kg2 Qe2+ 77. Kh1 Qh5+ 78. Kg1 Qd1+ 79. Kh2 Qh5+ 80. Kg3 Qe5+ 81. Kg4 Qe6+ 82. Kh5 Qf5+ 83. Kh4 Qf4+ 84. Kh5 Qf5+ 85. Kh4 Qf4+ {An outstanding battle.} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
At 85 moves the Caruana-Dominguez game was hardly the longest of the day. Three games went longer, one of which was in the Open section. And that game is a tale in itself. The matchup between GM Sam Sevian and GM Timur Gareyev took a bit of a turn when Gareyev failed to turn up for the opening bell.
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Rumors (soon confirmed) began to spread at the Club that the free-spirited Gareyev had entered the Mid-America Open being played in Clayton, MO, and would try to play in both events at the same time. It should go without saying that such a “simul” would be without precedent in the history of the U.S. Championship. Gareyev won his morning game in Clayton and, having scheduled a bye for the afternoon, hustled to the Central West End to make his Championship game. Event regulations dictate that a player is forfeited if they are late by more than 30 minutes, and Gareyev arrived with five minutes to spare.

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Gareyev’s game with Sevian effectively began at about 1:25pm CST. He was scheduled to play the third round of the Mid-America Open, which started at 5pm CST. How would this affect Gareyev’s strategy? How was he going to pull it all off? There’s a proverb about counting chickens before they’re hatched, and it proved true in this case. All of the speculation on the part of fans and commentators came to naught when the Sevian-Gareyev game went 117 moves. While successfully defending the weaker side of a rook and bishop vs. rook ending, Gareyev forfeited his Mid-America Open game due to non-appearance. That he even got to the ending against Sevian was something of a miracle, and it required what Yasser Seirawan called “the cheapo of the year.”

[pgn] [Event "U.S. Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.03.23"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Gareyev, Timur"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2642"] [BlackElo "2557"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r6/2p1k1p1/2pb2Pp/p1p1pP1P/1rP1K3/4B3/PPRR4/8 b - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "174"] [EventDate "2019.03.20"] 30... Ra4 $2 31. a3 $1 {Effectively trapping the rook.} Rb3 32. Rd3 $2 { It looks like there is no danger here for White. Black's last move didn't threaten anything serious, and there's no hint of tactical danger. How deceiving appearances can be!} ({White can avoid all the problems by moving his rook, and} 32. Rg2 {is a useful move anyway, trying to prepare the breakthrough on the kingside.}) 32... Rxb2 $3 {The cheapo of the year, per Yasser Seirawan! After the game Gareyev told CLO that this shot was not pre-planned, but rather a desperate discovery after thinking that he was completely busted.} 33. f6+ ({The main idea is} 33. Rxb2 Rxc4+ 34. Kf3 e4+ { and Black is winning.}) (33. Bg5+ {is another option, when play might follow} hxg5 34. Rxb2 Rxc4+ 35. Ke3 Rh4 {and White is probably better, it's still a game.}) 33... Kxf6 34. Rxd6+ cxd6 35. Rxb2 d5+ 36. Kf3 Rxa3 {We're left with a position where Black has four pawns for the piece. It's completely unclear and all three results are possible.} 37. Ke2 (37. cxd5 cxd5 {looks a little scary, with the three central pawns ready to roll.}) 37... d4 38. Bd2 e4 39. Rb7 $6 ({ The direct} 39. Rb6 {is an improvement.}) 39... e3 $6 (39... Ra2 $1 {with the threat of ...e4-e3 looks tough for White to handle.}) 40. Be1 Ra2+ 41. Kf3 Rh2 42. Rf7+ Kg5 43. Rxg7 Kxh5 44. Rg8 Rh1 45. Bxa5 Rg1 46. g7 Kg6 47. Rc8 Kxg7 48. Rc7+ Kg8 49. Rxc6 h5 50. Rxc5 h4 51. Rh5 Rc1 52. c5 h3 53. Bc7 Rf1+ 54. Ke2 Rf2+ 55. Kd3 Rd2+ 56. Ke4 e2 57. Bg3 h2 58. c6 Rc2 59. Kxd4 Rxc6 60. Rxh2 Re6 61. Rh1 Ra6 62. Re1 Ra4+ 63. Kc5 Ra2 64. Kc4 Ra4+ 65. Kb3 Rg4 66. Bf2 Rg2 67. Rxe2 {Rook and bishop vs rook is generally drawn, but Black will suffer along the way.} Kf7 68. Kc4 Rh2 69. Kd5 Rg2 70. Ke4 Rg4+ 71. Kf5 Rb4 72. Bc5 Rb7 73. Rh2 Rd7 74. Ke5 Rd1 75. Bd6 Rf1 76. Ra2 Rf6 77. Ra7+ Kg6 78. Be7 Rf2 79. Ra6+ Kh5 80. Bc5 Rg2 81. Kf4 Rg6 82. Ra1 Rf6+ 83. Ke4 Rg6 84. Be3 Kg4 85. Bf4 Re6+ 86. Be5 Rg6 87. Rf1 Rg5 88. Bf6 Rg6 89. Rf4+ Kg3 90. Ke3 Kh3 91. Rf5 Rg3+ 92. Kf4 Rg4+ 93. Ke5 Rg2 94. Rh5+ Kg4 95. Rh4+ Kg3 96. Re4 Kf3 97. Rf4+ Ke3 98. Ra4 Kd3 99. Kd5 Ke2 100. Ra3 Rg4 101. Be5 Kf2 102. Bd4+ Kg2 103. Ke5 Rg3 104. Ra2+ Kf3 105. Kf5 Rh3 106. Rf2+ Kg3 107. Rf4 Rh2 108. Ke4 Rh3 109. Rf3+ Kg2 110. Rf8 Rh4+ 111. Ke3 Rh3+ 112. Ke2 Rh4 113. Rg8+ Kh3 114. Be5 Rg4 115. Rf8 Rg2+ 116. Kf3 Rg3+ 117. Bxg3 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
After the game Gareyev was asked by both STLCC’s Cristian Chirila and  Chess Life’s Al Lawrence about the attempted “simul” and his plans for Sunday.

Gareyev told Chirila and Lawrence, after a bit of prodding, that he would not be continuing in the Mid-America Open, and as this story goes to press, he is not paired for the fourth round of Clayton tournament. In other Open section news, GM Ray Robson scored the only victory of the round against GM Jeffery Xiong when Xiong’s “semi-bluffs” failed to bear fruit. GM Chirila has excellent notes to the game available in his round report at uschesschamps.com. So-Shankland and Lenderman-Akobian were both drawn without much intrigue. WOMEN’ SECTION WIM Jennifer Yu remains perfect after four rounds, defeating WIM Emily Nguyen in a tactical melee to stay in first place with 4/4. Nguyen’s 10. …d5? opened the center too early and allowed Yu to inflict serious weaknesses on her king’s defenses.

[pgn] [Event "U.S. Women's Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.03.23"] [White "Yu, Jennifer"] [Black "Nguyen, Emily"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C50"] [WhiteElo "2273"] [BlackElo "2143"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2019.03.20"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Bg5 Be6 (7... h6 {is standard here.}) 8. Nbd2 a5 9. a4 Re8 10. Re1 d5 $2 {Mistimed.} 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. exd5 Bxd5 13. Bxd5 Qxd5 14. Ne4 $18 {Black's defenses are shattered and White's pieces pour in. As is typical for e4-e5 positions, the f5 square is critical, and White owns it.} Be7 15. Nh4 Qe6 16. Qh5 Bf8 17. Nf5 Ne7 18. Nxe7+ Bxe7 19. Ng3 $1 Kh8 20. Re4 f5 21. Nxf5 Qg6 22. Qxg6 {Switching gears, and heading towards a vastly superior ending.} hxg6 23. Nxe7 Rxe7 24. d4 $1 Rd8 25. f4 f6 26. fxe5 fxe5 27. Rae1 c5 28. Rxe5 Rxe5 29. dxe5 Kg7 30. e6 Kf6 31. e7 Re8 32. Kf2 {A very instructive win for Jennifer Yu.} 1-0 [/pgn]
IM Anna Zatonskih is in clear second with 3.5/4 after the fourth round, overcoming WIM Carissa Yip’s determined defence with an intricate technical win. IM Kostya Kavutskiy breaks it all down in his exclusive notes for CLO.
[pgn] [Event "U.S. Women's Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2019.03.23"] [White "Zatonskih, Anna"] [Black "Yip, Carissa"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D77"] [WhiteElo "2430"] [BlackElo "2279"] [Annotator "Kostya"] [PlyCount "173"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. c4 d5 6. O-O dxc4 {This is a more combative option compared to 6...c6. Black willingly gives up the d-pawn but will hope to get counterplay against White's center.} 7. Na3 {Common and logical - White would like to recapture with the knight on c4.} Nc6 ({More frequently seen at elite levels is} 7... c3 8. bxc3 c5 {with Grunfeld-style play.}) 8. Nxc4 Be6 9. b3 Bd5 {Black's pieces look nicely centralized, but there is some strategic danger as White has some nice positional trumps too (extra center pawn, half open c-file).} 10. Bb2 a5 11. Ne3 Be4 12. a3 Qc8 13. Nc4 {After playing Ne3 just two moves earlier, Anna moves back to c4, asking the opponent if she would like to repeat the position with Bd5.} h6 $2 { This stops all ideas of Ng5, but Black's bishop on e4 is more vulnerable than on d5.} ({Thus, Black should have probably retreated with} 13... Bd5 {followed by Rd8.}) ({or the immediate} 13... Rd8 {where} 14. Ncd2 Bd5 15. Re1 Ne4 16. Nh4 $6 {doesn't work for White in view of} Nxd2 {where Black is more than fine. }) 14. Re1 {Setting up the threat of Ncd2 and e4.} ({It seems the immediate} 14. Ncd2 $1 Bd5 15. Re1 {was more accurate, avoiding the option 15...Bxf3 which could have taken place in the game. It's important to note that} Ne4 { can be met with} 16. Nh4 $1 $16 {with idea 16...Nxd2 17. Bxd5+-. However, as we saw in the previous line, if Black's rook was already on d8, this wouldn't work, as Black's bishop would be defended on d5. Chess is a concrete game!}) 14... Rd8 15. Ncd2 Qe6 $6 {Carissa's play is consistent, but the light-squared bishop is too valuable to give away without any concession from White.} ({ It was already time for drastic measures:} 15... Bxf3 16. Nxf3 {and now Stockfish finds the very nice} Nxd4 $1 17. Bxd4 Ne8 $1 {where White has no way of stopping e5, winning back the piece.} 18. e3 e5 $13 {White will probably keep an advantage here thanks to the strong bishop on g2, but this position would offer a better chance to hold for Black.}) 16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Qc2 { The game takes a Catalan-like character now, where White's bishop on g2 exerts tremendous pressure along the long diagonal.} a4 {If Black doesn't do something, White could improve the position with e2-e3, Rac1, Red1, and eventually Nd2, opening up the bishop to great effect.} 18. bxa4 Na5 $6 { This simply doesn't challenge White enough.} (18... Nxd4 $1 {was another nice shot found by Stockfish, though after} 19. Nxd4 Bxd4 20. Bxe4 Bxb2 21. Rab1 $16 {White would get a very comfortable opposite colored bishops middlegame.}) 19. e3 Qc6 20. Rac1 Nd6 21. Bc3 {This wasn't the most ambitious way to capitalize on White's advantage, but Anna is able to keep a long-lasting edge deep into the endgame.} (21. Nd2 Qxc2 22. Rxc2 c6 23. Rb1 $18) ({or} 21. Qxc6 Nxc6 22. Ne5 $1 $18 {would have put Black under more pressure immediately.}) 21... Nac4 22. Bb4 Qxa4 23. Bxd6 Nxd6 24. Qxa4 Rxa4 25. Rxc7 Bf8 26. Ne5 Rxa3 27. Rb1 { It looks like the position has simplified and a lot of material has come off the board, but Black's problems are far from over. The b-pawn is a lost cause and White's pieces are all much better than their counterparts.} b5 28. Bf1 Rb8 29. Nd7 Rba8 30. Bxb5 Ra1 31. Rcc1 R1a2 32. Bc6 Rc8 33. Bd5 Rxc1+ 34. Rxc1 Rb2 35. Ra1 $1 {Finding a way to access Black's back rank.} Bg7 36. Ra8+ Kh7 37. Ra7 {Taking aim at the e7-pawn.} g5 (37... h5 {was probably a better setup, restricting White's play on the light-squares.}) 38. Ne5 Rb5 (38... Bxe5 $2 { just loses after} 39. dxe5 Nf5 40. Be4 $18) (38... e6 39. Bf3 Bxe5 40. dxe5 Nc4 {is also likely losing after} 41. Rxf7+ Kg8 42. Re7 Nxe5 43. Bh5 $18) 39. Bc4 ( 39. Bxf7 $2 Bxe5) 39... Rb1+ 40. Kg2 Nxc4 {Forced, otherwise Bd3+.} 41. Nxc4 Bf6 42. Nd2 {A second phase of this endgame now starts, with rook + knight vs. rook + bishop. Conventional wisdom says that the rook and bishop are the better combo, but the knight is stronger when all the pawns are located on one side of the board!} Rb6 43. Ne4 Kg6 44. g4 $1 {Securing some potential outposts for White's knight.} e6 45. Rd7 Bg7 ({Black could have avoided playing f6 with} 45... Ra6 46. Nd6 Be7 $1 {where White has nothing better than to go back with} 47. Ne4 $16 {and keep trying to create new weaknesses.}) 46. Nd6 f6 47. Nc8 $1 {With a concrete plan of reaching f5.} Rb8 48. Ne7+ Kh7 49. d5 (49. e4 $18 {was likely stronger, not just trading off the d-pawn but creating a passed pawn in the process.}) 49... exd5 50. Nf5 Rg8 51. Rxd5 Bf8 52. Rd8 {White's position looks absolutely dominant, but it's still not that easy to break through. Anna takes her time and tries to improve her position to the maximum before taking concrete measures.} Rh8 53. Ng3 Ba3 54. Rd7+ Kg6 55. Nh5 Bf8 56. Rb7 Rg8 57. e4 Bd6 58. h3 Be5 59. Kf3 Bd6 60. Kg2 Be5 61. h4 $1 Bd6 (61... gxh4 62. Kh3 Kg5 {would transpose to the game.}) 62. Kh3 Be5 63. Rd7 Bb8 64. Rb7 Be5 65. Ng3 $1 {Forcing a concession in view of the threat h4-h5+} gxh4 (65... Bxg3 66. h5# {is the big point.}) (65... Rg7 66. h5+ Kh7 67. Rxg7+ Kxg7 68. Nf5+ Kh7 69. Kg2 $18 {is lost for Black, White will bring the king to f7 and then take the f6-pawn.}) 66. Nh5 {The knight is better here (versus on f5) because it can support the push f2-f4.} Kg5 67. Rb5 $2 {Not seeing a way to break through with the rook on the 7th, Anna tries another way, but this one has a concrete flaw, as it allows Black to trade off the rooks into a drawn ending.} ({I think} 67. Rd7 $1 {was the cleanest way. Of course, I have the benefit of Stockfish's help, but the point is Black is in zugzwang, as the bishop has to leave the e5-square and allow Rd5+ followed by f4.} Bb8 (67... Bc3 68. f4+ Kg6 69. Kxh4 $18) 68. Rd5+ Kg6 69. f4 $18 {and White has made huge progress. Next is Kxh4, Rd7, and f5+.}) 67... Kg6 ({The immediate} 67... Rb8 $1 {would force the game continuation, not giving White a chance to revert to the winning plan.}) 68. f4 ({It was better to return with} 68. Rb7 $18 {, but it's clear that White's mind was already set.}) 68... Rb8 $1 {This doesn't save the game for Black, but it is by far the best chance, making things difficult for White.} 69. Rxb8 $2 {The wrong choice, as objectively the resulting endgame is drawn.} (69. Rc5 $1 {(or Rd5) was best, keeping the rooks on. After} Rb3+ 70. Kxh4 Bd4 71. f5+ Kf7 72. Rc7+ Kg8 {White has to find} 73. Ng7 $1 $18 {to make this line work, giving the king a crucial escape route.}) 69... Bxb8 70. Kxh4 Bc7 71. Kg3 Bb8 72. Kf3 Bc7 73. Ke3 {Amazingly, White's position is no longer winning, though it's not clear what the players thought of this position.} Bb8 $4 {Missing the crux of the position. This was the last chance to keep White's king at bay.} ({Instead after} 73... Kf7 74. Kd4 Ke6 $16 {White would not have an immediate win, though would of course keep maneuvering with the king and knight, hoping to make headway. A key line is that if White tries} 75. Kc5 Bd6+ 76. Kc6 Bb8 77. Kb7 {Black draws immediately with} Bxf4 $1 (77... Bd6 {also holds.}) 78. Nxf4+ Ke5 $11 {and the king will pick-up White's remaining pawns.} ) (73... Bd6 74. Kd4 Bb4 75. Kd5 Kf7 {was another way to keep White's king from entering Black's position.} 76. Kc6 Ke7 {and the game continues on.}) 74. Kd4 $18 {Now White's king is able to enter Black's camp and reach the key square d7.} Bc7 75. Kd5 Bb6 ({No help now is} 75... Kf7 76. Kc6 Bb8 77. Kd7 { where Black is in zugzwang. Either the king moves and lets White's king into e6, or Black's bishop steps off the diagonal and lets White move the knight:} Ba7 78. Nxf6 $1 Kxf6 79. e5+ Kg6 80. e6 {This wasn't the only win, just the most direct.} Bc5 81. e7 Bxe7 82. Kxe7 $18) 76. Ke6 Bd4 {Since the bishop had to reroute to defend the f6-pawn, White's knight is now free to move.} 77. Ng3 Bb2 78. Nf5 h5 {Passive defense won't help, so Carissa tries a last chance to complicate matters.} (78... Ba1 79. Ne7+ Kg7 80. f5 $1 {followed by Nd5-f4-h5+ would break Black's fortress and win for White.}) 79. Ne7+ Kh6 80. Ng8+ { The start of an elegant win.} ({Also winning was} 80. e5 fxe5 81. g5+ Kh7 82. f5 $18) 80... Kg7 81. Nxf6 $1 Bxf6 (81... h4 82. Nh5+ $18 {and White's knight will be able to stop the h-pawn from g3.}) 82. gxh5 {Correctly evaluated as winning--the three pawns are too much for Black's bishop and king to handle.} Bc3 83. e5 Bb4 84. f5 Kh6 85. Kf7 Kg5 (85... Kxh5 86. e6 Kg5 87. f6 $18) 86. e6 Kxf5 87. h6 {Quite a plethora of instructive moments in this one! Anna's technique was far from perfect, but she kept applying pressure for as long as possible and was eventually rewarded in the end.} 1-0 [/pgn]
WGM Sabina Foisor won a titanic battle against GM Irina Krush, slogging through a tricky queen and pawn ending to win in 146 grueling moves. (Note to self: study more endgames.)

[pgn] [Event "59th ch-USA w 2019"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2019.03.23"] [White "Foisor, Sabina-Francesca"] [Black "Krush, Irina"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B62"] [WhiteElo "2276"] [BlackElo "2451"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "291"] [EventDate "2019.03.20"] 1. e4 {Surprise! Foisor hasn't played this since 2006 according to the database.} c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd3 a6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. O-O-O Be7 10. h4 O-O 11. Qg3 e5 12. Bc4 Be6 13. Qd3 Qb6 14. Bxe6 fxe6 15. Qh3 Kf7 16. f4 Rab8 17. b3 Rfd8 18. Rhf1 Qc5 19. f5 exf5 20. Rxf5 a5 21. Bxf6 gxf6 $6 (21... Bxf6 22. g4 Kg8 23. g5 Be7 {and the attack looks huge.}) 22. Rh5 (22. Rdf1 a4 23. Rh5) 22... Rh8 23. Rd3 (23. g4 {followed by g5 looks crushing.}) 23... a4 $1 $132 24. Nxa4 Qa3+ 25. Kd2 Qxa2 26. Qf5 h6 27. g4 Rbd8 28. g5 $1 hxg5 29. Rh7+ Rxh7 30. Qxh7+ Ke6 31. hxg5 d5 32. Qf5+ Kf7 33. exd5 Rxd5 34. Rxd5 cxd5 35. g6+ Kg7 36. Qh5 Bb4+ 37. Kd3 f5 $1 38. Qh7+ Kf6 39. g7 (39. Qh4+ Kxg6 40. Qxb4 e4+ 41. Kd2 Qa1 42. Nc3 {should be more than enough to win.}) 39... Qa1 40. g8=N+ (40. g8=Q $4 {loses to} Qf1+ 41. Ke3 f4#) 40... Kg5 41. Qh6+ Kg4 42. Nf6+ Kg3 43. Qg5+ Kh2 44. Qh4+ Kg2 45. Qxb4 e4+ 46. Nxe4 ( 46. Ke2 Qxf6 47. Qb6 {gives the knight back but leaves White with the more active queen, etc.}) 46... dxe4+ 47. Kd2 Qe5 48. Qc5 Qxc5 49. Nxc5 Kf2 50. Kc3 e3 51. b4 e2 52. Nd3+ Ke3 53. b5 f4 54. b6 f3 55. b7 f2 56. b8=Q e1=Q+ (56... f1=Q 57. Qe5+ Kf3 58. Qf4+ Kg2 59. Qg4+ Kh2 60. Qh4+ Kg1 61. Qg3+ Qg2 62. Qxg2+ Kxg2 63. Kd2 $18) 57. Nxe1 fxe1=Q+ 58. Kb2 {Tablebases say that this position is won for White. With little time on the clock, and having already played for five plus hours, it's a difficult practical task.} Qa5 59. Qg3+ Ke2 60. Qd3+ Kf2 61. Qd4+ Kg2 62. c3 Kh1 63. c4 Qb4+ 64. Kc2 Qa4+ 65. Kd2 Qb4+ 66. Qc3 Qd6+ 67. Kc2 Qg6+ 68. Qd3 Qg2+ 69. Kc3 Qg7+ 70. Qd4 Qg3+ 71. Kb4 Qb8+ 72. Ka5 Qa8+ 73. Kb5 Qe8+ 74. Kb4 Qb8+ 75. Kc3 Qg3+ 76. Kc2 Qg2+ 77. Kc1 Qg5+ 78. Qd2 Qe7 79. Qd5+ Kg1 80. c5 Qe3+ 81. Kd1 Qc3 82. Qg5+ Kh1 83. Qh5+ Kg1 84. Qg4+ Kh2 85. Qf4+ Kh3 86. Qf5+ Kg3 87. Qc2 Qd4+ 88. Kc1 Qf4+ 89. Kb2 Qc7 90. c6 Kh4 91. Qc4+ Kg3 92. Kb3 Kh2 93. Qc2+ Kh1 94. Qd1+ Kh2 95. Qd7 Qb6+ 96. Kc4 Qa6+ 97. Kc5 Qa5+ 98. Kd6 Qa3+ 99. Kc7 Qa7+ 100. Kd8 Qb8+ 101. Ke7 Qe5+ 102. Qe6 Qc7+ 103. Ke8 Kh1 104. Kf8 Qd8+ 105. Kf7 Qc7+ 106. Kg6 Qg3+ 107. Kh7 Qd3+ 108. Qg6 Qc4 109. Qh6+ Kg1 110. Qd6 Kh1 111. c7 Qc2+ 112. Kg7 Qc3+ 113. Kf7 Qc4+ 114. Ke7 Qe4+ 115. Qe6 Qh7+ 116. Kd6 Qh2+ 117. Kc6 Qc2+ 118. Kb7 Qb2+ 119. Qb6 Qg7 120. Ka8 Qf8+ 121. Ka7 Qa3+ 122. Kb8 Qg3 123. Qb1+ Kh2 124. Qb2+ Kh1 125. Kb7 Qf3+ 126. Ka7 Qe3+ 127. Ka6 Qd3+ 128. Qb5 Qa3+ 129. Kb6 Qe3+ 130. Kb7 Qe7 131. Qd5+ Kh2 132. Qd4 Qf7 133. Qd3 Qe7 134. Qd2+ Kh1 135. Qh6+ Kg1 136. Qf4 Qd7 137. Qg5+ Kh1 138. Qh6+ Kg1 139. Kb8 Qb5+ 140. Ka7 Qa5+ 141. Kb7 Qd5+ 142. Qc6 Qf7 143. Ka8 Qa2+ 144. Kb8 Qb3+ 145. Qb7 Qg3 146. Ka8 1-0 [/pgn]
Other results: WIM Maggie Feng and WIM Annie Wang drew in 88 moves, Akshita Gorti fell to Ashritha Eswaran’s Benoni, and WGM Tatev Abrahamyan continued her upswing in form with a nice win over WGM Anna Sharevich.



Find full pairings for the tournament and follow along on uschesschamps.com with commentary from GMs Maurice Ashley, Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade starting at 12:50 CT/1:50 ET.