World-Beaters Escape with Draws in US Championship Opening Round

Image
GM Fabiano Caruana at the 2021 US Chess Championship
Image Caption
World No. 2 GM Fabiano Caruana faced stiff pressure from GM Lazaro Bruzon in the opening round of the 2021 US Chess Championship. // photo Crystal Fuller, Saint Louis Chess Club

 

Three of the world’s best players began competing for the 2021 US Chess Championship in the Saint Louis Chess Club on Wednesday – and not a single one was given a warm welcome.  

Defending US Chess Champion and World No. 6 GM Wesley So, along with No. 14 Leinier Dominguez, were both put under tremendous pressure to save draws in Wednesday’s opening round, as was World No. 2 GM Fabiano Caruana, who found himself objectively worse as White just 16 moves into a Berlin against newcomer GM Lazaro Bruzon. 

 

Tweet URL

 

GM Ray Robson has taken an early lead in the 2021 national championship after breaking through the Alekhine Defense of GM Daniel Naroditsky in the first round, while 2020 U.S. Junior Champion GM John Burke also finds himself setting the leader’s pace. In his US Chess Championship debut, Burke introduced a novelty with 11. … Ne7 as Black in a Ruy Lopez, then came out on top of a seesaw battle with GM Dariusz Swiercz on Wednesday. 

 

 

Burke’s win becomes CLO’s Round 1 Game of the Day, here under the microscope of US Chess’ reigning Cadet Champion IM Christopher Yoo. 

 

 

The 2021 U.S. Women’s Championship got off to a more decisive start with four wins on Wednesday, including victory for defending champion GM Irina Krush. The 8-time winner won as Black in a Taimanov Sicilian against WIM Megan Lee in the opening round, sacrificing a pawn with 23. … c4 to trigger a queenside storm and a nice tactical finish. 

 

Image
GM Irina Krush at the 2021 U.S. Women's Chess Championship
Image Caption
Defending U.S. Women's Chess Champion GM Irina Krush kicked off the 2021 women's national championship with a first-round win. // photo Crystal Fuller, Saint Louis Chess Club

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Women's Chess Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.06"] [Round "1"] [White "Lee, Megan"] [Black "Krush, I."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2211"] [BlackElo "2429"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] {[%evp 11,57,63,57,55,79,78,76,85,79,0,8,-148,74,78,86,16,66,13,63,47,46,-15, -33,-29,11,-50,0,0,0,0,-8,0,0,-18,-10,-110,-101,-115,-120,-106,-112,-552,-445, -874,-876,-861,-852,-1766]} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qf3 {B48: Sicilian: Taimanov: 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be3 a6 without Be2.} Nf6 8. O-O-O $1 h5 9. Nxc6 {White is better.} dxc6 10. Qg3 (10. h3 $16) 10... e5 $11 {Hoping for ...h4.} 11. Bd4 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11. f4 h4 12. Qf2 Ng4 13. Qf3 Nxe3 14. Qxe3 exf4 15. Qd4 Be6 16. Bc4 Bxc4 17. Qxc4 {1-0 (45) Gurvich, V (2549)-Djukic,N (2790) Chess.com INT 2020}) 11... Nd7 $2 {[#]} (11... Ng4 $17 {...h4 is the strong threat.} 12. Be3 Be6) 12. h4 $1 $16 b5 {[%cal Bb7b5,Bb5b4] [%mdl 32]} 13. a3 g6 {[#]} (13... Rh6 $11) 14. Be3 (14. Be2 $1 $14) 14... Be7 ( 14... Nc5 $11) 15. Be2 Nf6 $1 16. Bg5 ({White should play} 16. f4 $14) 16... a5 $1 $11 17. Qe3 {Threatens to win with Bxf6.} b4 18. Nb1 (18. Na4 $11) 18... Ng4 (18... Be6 $1 $15 {deserves consideration.}) 19. Bxg4 Bxg4 20. Bxe7 $1 Qxe7 ({ But not} 20... Bxd1 $2 21. Bf6 $18) 21. Rd3 Be6 22. g3 c5 {Threatening ...c4.} 23. Qg5 (23. Rhd1 $11) 23... c4 24. Qxe5 f6 $36 {[%mdl 2048] Black is on the roll.} 25. Qb5+ Kf7 26. Rf3 {[%mdl 8192] White does not recover from this.} ( 26. Rd4 $17) 26... c3 {Black is clearly winning.} 27. axb4 (27. Nxc3 $142 Rhb8 28. Qe5 bxc3 29. Qxc3) 27... cxb2+ $19 28. Kxb2 Rhb8 {[%mdl 64] Skewer} 29. Qg5 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.68/Black=0.36} 0-1 [/pgn]

Also scoring in the first round was WIM Ashritha Eswaran, U.S. Women’s Championship newcomer WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, and WGM Katerina Nemcova, who toppled four-time champion and 2021 third-seed IM Anna Zatonskih after strapping her queen with a pin in a London. 

WGM Katerina Nemcova and IM Anna Zatonskih play in the first round of the 2021 U.S. Women's Chess Championship at the Saint Louis Chess Club. // photos Lennart Ootes

[pgn][Event "2021 U.S. Women's Chess Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2021.10.06"] [Round "1"] [White "Nemcova, Kat"] [Black "Zatonskih, A."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "2331"] [BlackElo "2422"] [Annotator "Tactical Analysis 4.1 (5s)"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "2021.10.05"] {[%evp 11,61,1,0,3,40,30,45,43,49,52,81,0,0,-51,31,27,84,95,81,82,89,74,81,75, 86,86,164,65,145,40,47,1,0,0,45,10,20,0,0,-29,-19,-64,0,0,96,71,676,669,1399, 1327,29994,29995]} 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 e6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Ne5 O-O 6. Nd2 c5 7. c3 {D02: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 sidelines, including 2...Nf6 3 g3 and 2...Nf6 3 Bf4.} b6 8. h4 Qc7 9. h5 {White is slightly better.} Nc6 10. Nxc6 Qxc6 11. Bxd6 $146 ({Better is} 11. h6 $1 $16 {[%cal Rh6g7]} g6 12. Bb5 $1 Qxb5 13. Bxd6) ({ Predecessor:} 11. h6 g6 12. Qf3 Bxf4 13. Qxf4 Nd7 14. Nf3 f6 15. Qg3 c4 16. Be2 Bb7 17. O-O {1-0 (47) Naiditsch,A (2687)-Halkias,S (2585) Doha 2016}) 11... Qxd6 $11 12. f4 (12. h6 $11) 12... a5 (12... cxd4 $15 13. cxd4 h6) 13. Qf3 Ba6 (13... Rb8 $11 {remains equal.}) 14. Bxa6 $16 Rxa6 15. h6 {And now hxg7 would win.} g6 {[#]} 16. e4 $1 {[%cal Re4e5] aiming for e5.} Qe7 17. e5 {Threatens to win with Qe2.} Nd7 18. O-O Ra7 {[#]} (18... b5 $16 {was worth a try.}) 19. Rad1 ({White should try} 19. c4 $1 $18) 19... f6 (19... cxd4 $14 20. c4 f6) 20. exf6 (20. Qe3 $16) 20... Nxf6 $14 21. Rde1 (21. Qh3 $14 {feels stronger.}) 21... cxd4 $11 22. cxd4 Qd6 (22... Qb4 $1 $11 23. Qc3 Re8) 23. Re5 {[%cal Be1e5,Be5g5,Bg5f5][%mdl 32]} Re7 24. Rfe1 Nd7 25. Rg5 Rxf4 26. Qg3 (26. Qe3 $11 ) 26... Ref7 (26... Nf6 $1 $15) 27. Nf3 {[%cal Bd2f3,Bf3e5,Be5d3][%mdl 32]} Nf8 (27... Qc6 $11) 28. Ne5 R7f6 {[%mdl 8192]} (28... Qb4 $16 29. Nxf7 Qxd4+ 30. Qe3 Qxe3+ 31. Rxe3 Kxf7) 29. Nd3 $18 R6f5 30. Rxf5 {[%mdl 64] Pin} Rf1+ 31. Rexf1 {Weighted Error Value: White=0.26/Black=0.87} 1-0 [/pgn]

 

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

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Archives

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.