Youth on the March

While chess can be played and enjoyed at any age, it’s clear that there’s a youth movement in American chess under way. Hikaru Nakamura said as much after round one: with all of the tools available to today’s juniors and 24 hour access to online chess, young players can improve at an incredible pace. That youth movement was on display in the second round of the 2019 U.S. Championships. Among the four decisive games, two each in the Open and Women’s sections, three of the wins were notched by teenagers. OPEN RESULTS GM Sam Sevian and GM Wesley So are the early leaders in the Open section after victories in round two. So defeated GM Timur Gareyev, managing to somehow conjure the victory from what looked to be a dead-drawn position on move 26.


[Event "63rd ch-USA 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.03.21"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Gareyev, Timur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E00"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2557"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5rk1/2R2ppp/4p3/n3P3/8/6P1/5P1P/1N4K1 b - - 0 26"]
[PlyCount "120"]
[EventDate "2019.03.20"]

{This position looks as drawn as drawn can get on the Grandmaster level. Yet
So presses and prods and eventually...} 26... Nb3 27. Nc3 Nd4 28. Kg2 f6 29.
exf6 Rxf6 30. Rd7 Nf5 31. Ne4 Rf8 32. Nc5 Re8 33. g4 Nh4+ 34. Kg3 Ng6 35. f4
Nf8 36. Rc7 h6 37. h4 Ra8 38. h5 Ra3+ 39. Kf2 Rh3 40. Re7 Rc3 41. Ne4 Rd3 42.
g5 Rd7 43. Re8 Kf7 44. Ra8 Ke7 45. Ke3 Rd1 46. g6 Rd5 47. Nf6 $5 {A rather
shocking move, but against best play, it's just equal.} Kxf6 (47... gxf6 $2 48.
g7) 48. Rxf8+ Ke7 49. Rf7+ Kd6 $2 {Why is this a mistake?} (49... Ke8 {is
clearly equal:} 50. Rxg7 Rxh5 $11) 50. Rxg7 Rxh5 51. Rd7+ $1 {Black can't stop
the promotion. A neat tactic by So.} Kxd7 52. g7 Rh3+ 53. Kf2 Rh4 54. Kg3 Rh1
55. Kg2 Rh4 56. g8=Q Rxf4 57. Qg7+ Kd6 58. Qxh6 Rf5 59. Qg7 Kd5 60. Kg3 Kd6 61.
Kg4 Kd5 62. Qc7 Kd4 63. Qd6+ Rd5 64. Qxe6 Re5 65. Qc6 Rc5 66. Qb6 Kd5 67. Kf5
Kd4+ 68. Ke6 Kc4 69. Kd6 Rd5+ 70. Kc6 Re5 71. Qa6+ Kd4 72. Qa2 Rf5 73. Qb2+ Ke4
74. Kd6 Rg5 75. Qc2+ Kf4 76. Ke6 Re5+ 77. Kf6 Re3 78. Qf5+ Kg3 79. Kg5 Kg2 80.
Kh4 Kg1 81. Qf4 Re2 82. Kh3 Ra2 83. Qg4+ Kf1 84. Qc4+ Re2 85. Kg3 Ke1 86. Qc1#

Some players would take a loss like this very hard, but not Timur Gareyev. The world-travelling GM, who also likes to jump out of airplanes!, was in excellent spirits after the round, showing once more why he’s one of the crowd favorites in any tournament he plays. The 18 year old Sevian won in a long game against another teen, GM Awonder Liang. Liang was able to hold a difficult position against GM Alex Lenderman in round one, but here he wasn’t as fortunate.
Sevian-Liang (photo Kellar)

[Event "63rd ch-USA 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.03.21"]
[White "Sevian, Samuel"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B18"]
[WhiteElo "2642"]
[BlackElo "2590"]
[PlyCount "153"]
[EventDate "2019.03.20"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 e6 8. Ne5
Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Nd7 11. Bf4 Ngf6 12. O-O-O Be7 13. Qf3 Qa5 14. Kb1 Qd5
15. Qe2 b5 16. f3 b4 17. Rhe1 O-O 18. Ne4 Rac8 19. g4 Qb5 20. Nxd7 Nxd7 21. Qg2
Kh8 22. Qd2 Rfd8 23. Bd6 Bf8 24. Qf4 Kg8 25. g5 h5 26. Bc7 Re8 27. Be5 Red8 28.
Bc7 Re8 29. Ng3 Nb6 30. Bxb6 axb6 31. Nxh5 Red8 32. Re5 Rd5 33. Rg1 Rxe5 34.
dxe5 Qe2 35. Qg4 g6 36. Nf6+ Kh8 37. Qe4 Qxe4 38. Nxe4 Rd8 39. Kc1 Ra8 40. Kb1
Rd8 41. Re1 Kg7 42. b3 Be7 43. Kc1 Rh8 44. Rh1 b5 45. Kb2 Rd8 46. Kc1 Rd5 47.
f4 Rd4 48. Re1 c5 49. Kb2 c4 50. bxc4 bxc4 51. Re3 Bf8 52. c3 Rd1 53. Nd6 Rd2+
54. Kb1 b3 55. axb3 cxb3 56. Re4 Rc2 57. Rc4 Rd2 58. Ne8+ Kg8 59. Rc8 f5 60.
Nd6 Kg7 61. Rc7+ Kg8 62. Rd7 Rf2 63. c4 Rxf4 64. c5 Rf1+ 65. Kb2 f4 66. c6 f3
67. c7 f2 68. c8=Q Rb1+ 69. Kxb1 f1=Q+ 70. Kb2 Qe2+ 71. Kxb3 Qd1+ 72. Qc2 Qd5+
73. Kb4 Qd4+ 74. Kb5 Qxe5+ 75. Ka6 Qa1+ 76. Kb7 Bg7 77. Ne4 1-0

WOMEN’S RESULTS WIM Carissa Yip and WGM Jennifer Yu remain perfect through two rounds and lead the Women’s section going into Friday’s games. Yip defeated WIM Akshita Gorti in a slugfest where Gorti may have resigned a bit early,  missing a key defensive idea that would have left her position entirely playable
Carissa Yip (photo Ootes)

[Event "59th ch-USA w 2019"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2019.03.21"]
[White "Gorti, Akshita"]
[Black "Yip, Carissa"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2272"]
[BlackElo "2279"]
[Annotator "Hartmann,John"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "2019.03.20"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. c4 O-O 5. Be2 d6 (5... d5 {makes less sense
without the knight on c3:} 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. e4 Nb6 {and White is flexible in
how she wants to develop her pieces.}) 6. Nc3 c6 7. O-O a6 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Rd1
Qc7 10. b4 c5 (10... b5 {is a logical alternative.}) 11. bxc5 dxc5 12. d5 Ne5
13. Nxe5 Qxe5 14. f4 Qf5 15. Bd3 Qh5 16. Bd2 (16. Rb1 $5 b5 17. cxb5 axb5 18.
Rxb5 Bg4 19. Rf1 Nxd5 20. Nxd5 Qxd5 $14) (16. h3 $5 b5 17. Rb1 Ne8) 16... e5 $5
{Sharpening things up considerably.} 17. dxe6 Bxe6 18. Rab1 Rad8 19. Ne4 $2 ({
The engine gives} 19. h3 {but Black can try} Bg4 {anyway!} 20. Re1 (20. hxg4 $2
Nxg4 $19) 20... Be6 21. Ne4 b5 {and now Stockfish spits out the dreaded 0.00s!
Practically speaking this is quite unclear.}) 19... Nxe4 20. Bxe4 Qe2 $1 {
Black has all kinds of threats.} 21. Bxb7 Bf5 22. e4 Bh3 $2 {A mistake by Yip,
but it goes unpunished.} (22... Bd4+ {is much stronger. After} 23. Kh1 {
Black has the beautiful} Bh3 {and after} 24. e5 {(to defend g2)} (24. gxh3 $2
Qf3#) 24... Bf5 {Black wins material due to the skewer.}) 23. e5 Bf5 {White
resigned - prematurely!} ({After} 23... Bf5 {White has to find the key move}
24. Qc1 $1 {to stay alive. If} Bxb1 25. Bf3 $1 Qd3 26. Ba5 $1 {White gets the
material back with interest. Tough to see, especially if one has already
mentally resigned oneself to the loss.}) 0-1

Yu was victorious against WIM Ashritha Eswaran, and IM Kostya Kavutskiy has analyzed their game exclusively for CLO.


[Event "U.S. Women's Championship"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2019.03.21"]
[White "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Black "Eswaran, Ashritha"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A61"]
[WhiteElo "2273"]
[BlackElo "2234"]
[Annotator "Kostya"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2019.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bf4 {This
setup became extremely popular several years ago, mainly thanks to the efforts
of Levon Aronian, Wesley So, and Boris Gelfand, among others! To this day it
remains one of White's most serious tries to get an edge against the Benoni.}
a6 ({In case of} 7... Bg7 {Black needs to be ready for the sharp theory after}
8. Qa4+ {, hence many players start with a6 to take this option away from
White.}) 8. a4 Bg7 9. h3 O-O 10. e3 Nh5 {A risky but certainly possible plan
for Black in this middlegame.} (10... Qe7 11. Be2 Nbd7 12. O-O Ne8 {is another
typical plan for Black, with idea Nc7, Rb8, and pushing b7-b5.}) 11. Bh2 f5 12.
Bd3 {Jennifer played this move after a few minutes thought, so I'm not sure if
it was prepared or just improvised over the board.} (12. Be2 {is the main move,
eyeing the knight on h5. Play typically continues} f4 13. O-O {where White has
scored well in the past.}) 12... Qe7 13. O-O Nd7 14. Re1 Ne5 15. Be2 {Perhaps
this is a sign that maybe the bishop should never have gone to d3 in the first
place, but White is able to keep some pressure in the position.} (15. Nxe5 Bxe5
16. Bxe5 Qxe5 {is quite OK for Black, who's happy to have exchanged some minor
pieces.}) 15... Nf7 ({Stockfish suggests} 15... Nxf3+ 16. Bxf3 Nf6 {where
White keeps a slight edge after} 17. e4 ({or} 17. a5 $14) 17... fxe4 18. Bxe4
$14) 16. a5 $1 {A key plan for White in this kind of position, securing the
b6-square and planning Na4-b6.} Bd7 17. Nd2 {Another thematic idea,
transferring this knight to the perfect blockading square c4.} Nf6 18. Nc4 Ne4
19. Na4 $5 {Avoiding the trade, a sound strategy when playing with a space
advantage.} ({That said, Stockfish offers} 19. Nxe4 fxe4 20. Nb6 Rae8 21. Nxd7
Qxd7 22. Bg4 Qe7 23. Ra4 $1 $16 {with nice play on the light-squares.}) 19...
Qh4 20. Rf1 Rae8 (20... Bb5 $1 {would have prevented Nab6 for the time being as
} 21. Nab6 {runs into} Bxb2 $1 22. Nxb2 Nc3 $17) 21. Nab6 Bb5 22. Qe1 Qe7 {
Objectively Black is OK here, but with less space on a board with a full set
of pieces, it can be difficult to come up with productive moves on every turn.}
23. Ra3 $1 {Meanwhile, White prepares b4, putting serious pressure against
Black's queenside.} Nf6 24. b4 Qc7 (24... cxb4 25. Qxb4 $14 {and the d6-pawn
remains a chronic weakness.}) 25. Rb3 ({Also possible was} 25. Rc3 cxb4 26. Rc1
$1 $16 {planning to pickup the b4-pawn and create huge play on the c-file.})
25... g5 {Understandable, Black needs to create counterplay, but risky
nonetheless.} 26. Qb1 $1 Ne4 27. Rc1 {White's position looks tremendous,
though with incredibly dynamic play, Black could create enough chaos to hold
the balance.} Ne5 $6 {Technically this move loses the game, but it's hard to
criticize as Black's position was already hanging on by just a thread.} ({
The only way to muddy the waters was to follow through with the plan and play}
27... g4 $3 28. hxg4 {and Stockfish proudly shows the key follow-up:} Qe7 $1 {
Transferring the queen to h4, renewing the threat against f2 and looking for
Ne5 next, trying to fling pieces at White's king. This seems inhuman, but
given how quickly the queenside collapsed, perhaps it was already time for
desperate measures.}) 28. bxc5 {White simply breaks through.} Nxc4 29. Bxc4 {
Nxc4 was probably more accurate, but it does not end up affecting the game.}
Be5 30. Bxe5 Rxe5 31. cxd6 Qxd6 32. Bxb5 axb5 33. Rxb5 {Now two pawns up,
White has further threats of Nc4 and Rxb7. Black is not in time to create any
chances on the kingside anymore.} Qh6 34. Nd7 Qh4 35. Qb2 Re7 36. Nxf8 Kxf8 37.
Rxb7 g4 ({In case of} 37... Rxb7 {White would surely throw in} 38. Rc8+ $1 $18
{before taking on b7 with check and delivering mate a few moves later.}) 38.
Rc8+ Kf7 39. Rcc7 Rxc7 40. Rxc7+ {A fairly instructive game on how to crack
the Benoni!} 1-0

STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 2 Open Women’s Find full pairings for the tournament and follow along on with commentary from GMs Maurice Ashley, Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade starting at 12:50 CT/1:50 ET.