Explosive day 3 brings changes at the top of the leaderboard

By Cristian Chirila

 The U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship is where players come to play, and they are showcasing that ultra-competitive spirit each and every day. With the amount of attention one is exposed to during these events, it is normal that the players will do everything in their powers to play the best chess they are capable of. 

Let’s take a look at the action games of the round!

Nakamura vs Sevian 1-0 

Nakamura has been struggling in the US Champs in recent editions, but surely this year he is looking to make a statement and once again challenge his peers in the quest for the national title. 

Today’s game proved that he is in great shape, as he defeated his younger opponent with ease. At no point did Nakamura seem to be losing control, and Sevian had to acknowledge defeat soon after the first time control. 

Robson vs Dominguez 0-1 

An impeccable game by Dominguez, who showcases his trademark technical game as he slowly outplays Robson in an Anti Berlin.

Black methodically picked at his opponent’s pawn structure, and ultimately achieved a good knight vs bad bishop endgame. Robson had a difficult time finding any ounce of counter play, and had to accept material loss before the first time control. Dominguez nursed his advantage with care, and forced Robson’s resignation at move 51. This is the first victory at the U.S. Championship for Dominguez, who triumphantly announces his official arrival on the American chess scene. 

Shankland vs Xiong 0-1 

We have an early, and very strong candidate for game of the championship right here! Let’s take a deeper look at this wild affair between the defending champion and one of the most promising talents in the world.




[Event "US Chess Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.03.22"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Shankland, Samuel L"]
[Black "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C45"]
[WhiteElo "2731"]
[BlackElo "2663"]
[Annotator "Cristian Chirila"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[SourceVersionDate "2019.03.22"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qf6 5. Nb3 {This seems to be the trend
nowadays.} (5. Be3 Bc5 6. c3 Nge7 7. Bc4 O-O 8. O-O b6 9. Nc2 Ne5 10. Be2 Bb7
11. f4 N5g6 12. e5 Qe6 13. b4 Bxe3+ 14. Nxe3 $13 {0-1 (34) Kasparov,G (2812)
-Caruana,F (2795) Saint Louis 2016}) 5... Qg6 6. f3 Nf6 (6... Bd6 7. g4 h5 8.
g5 f6 9. Nc3 fxg5 10. Rg1 g4 11. f4 Nge7 12. Be3 Bb4 $5 $17 (12... O-O $6 13.
Qd2 a5 14. e5 Nxe5 15. fxe5 Bxe5 16. O-O-O $18 {1-0 (27) Nepomniachtchi,I
(2763)-Cheparinov,I (2709) St Petersburg 2018})) 7. Bf4 Bb4+ 8. Kf2 {Shankland
was clearly prepared for this, as he played this without any time spenditure}
O-O 9. a3 $2 {But at this point it seems he confused or simply forgot his
preparation, as this move is already a clear inaccuracy.} (9. Bd3 {Is looking
very good for White} Nh5 10. Bxc7 d6 {the big difference is that Black's B is
now strained on b4 rather than on the safe e7 square} 11. a3 Nf4 12. Bf1 Ne6
13. axb4 Nxc7 14. h4 f5 15. h5 Qh6 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. Qd2 $16) 9... Be7 {
now black has the advantage} 10. Bd3 Nh5 11. Bxc7 d6 12. e5 (12. Nc3 f5 13. Rg1
Kh8 14. exf5 Bxf5 15. Bxf5 Qxf5 $17) 12... Bh4+ 13. Kf1 Qh6 14. exd6 Re8 15.
Nc3 Ne5 (15... Nf6 $1 {This is a very difficult move to make, as a player on
the attack you generally hate making backwards moves. The main idea behind it
is that it simply locks the white N on c3, as any move with it would allow
Nd5-e3 which would be deadly.} 16. Qd2 Bg5 17. Qf2 Be3 $19) 16. Nc5 (16. Ne4
Nf4 17. Nbc5 b6 18. d7 Bxd7 19. Nxd7 Nexd3 20. cxd3 Nd5 $17) 16... Nxf3 $3 17.
N3e4 Bg4 $2 {A very tempting, yet flawed move. Better was} (17... f5 $1 18.
Bc4+ (18. gxf3 fxe4 19. d7 Bxd7 20. Nxd7 exd3 $19) 18... Kh8 19. d7 Bxd7 20.
Nxd7 Rxe4 $19) 18. d7 Re5 19. Bxe5 Nxe5 20. Qd2 Qc6 21. h3 $2 (21. Qe3 Nxd7 22.
Nxd7 Bxd7 23. Qf3 g6 24. g3 f5 $13) 21... Bxd7 $17 22. Nxd7 Nxd7 23. Qc3 Qh6
24. g4 $2 f5 $2 {immediately returning the favor} (24... Qf4+ 25. Kg2 Ndf6 26.
Nxf6+ (26. Rhf1 Nxe4 27. Rxf4 Nxf4+ 28. Kf3 Nxc3 $19) 26... gxf6 $19 {White's
K will soon be laid to rest}) 25. gxf5 Re8 26. Qc4+ $4 {Absolutely no reason
to help Black safeguard his K} (26. Rh2 {Would have turned the tables, as
White is getting close to finishing his defensive mechanism} Kh8 27. Qd2 Qc6
28. Rg2 Ndf6 29. Nf2 Qf3 30. Re1 $13 {The position is still balanced, but I
would rather be White. If Black doesn't find the right way to continue the
offensive, he will soon be left with a clear material deficit.}) 26... Kh8 $19
27. Rg1 Qe3 28. Rg2 Nf4 29. Rh2 Nxh3 30. Kg2 Nf4+ 31. Kh1 Qf3+ 32. Kg1 Qg4+ 33.
Kh1 Qf3+ 34. Kg1 {Black is repeating moves to gain time on the clock, knowing
very well that the position is winning.} Bd8 $1 35. Rf1 Bb6+ 36. Nf2 Qg3+ 37.
Kh1 Qf3+ 38. Kg1 Nh3+ (38... Nf6 $19 {Was even more decisive}) 39. Rxh3 Qxh3
40. Qf4 Nf6 41. Bb5 Re4 0-1



U.S. Women’s Championship

Eswaran vs Foisor 1-0

Quite the wild affair between these two ladies, with the advantage changing hands on a regular basis throughout the game. It was Eswaran that got the upper hand in the opening, but Foisor quickly re-established the order after taking control of the “e” file. Eswaran’s bishop pair looked grim, but through smart maneuvering she managed to open the position and take control of the game. It was all downhill after that for Foisor, who was unable to contain the powerful action of Eswaran’s pieces.

Krush vs Yu 0-1

This was surely the game of the day, and GM Boros once again provides his thoughts and thorough analysis.


[Event "U.S Womens Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2019.03.23"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Krush, Irina"]
[Black "Yu, Jennifer"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B13"]
[Annotator "GM Denes Boros"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[SourceDate "2019.03.23"]

1. c4 c6 2. e4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 $1 {Botvinnik's
favorite weapon, the Panov-Attack!} Be6 {An interesting reply by Jennifer Yu,
following the footsteps of Peter Leko.} 7. a3 Qd7 8. Be2 $1 (8. Bxf6 gxf6 {was
the stem game Topalov-Leko, played in Vienna back in 1996!}) 8... Rd8 9. Bxf6
exf6 10. c5 g6 11. Nf3 h5 {a bit too optimistic, it was time to stop White
from expanding with} (11... a6 $1 {with a complex battle.}) 12. b4 Bh6 (12...
a6) 13. b5 Ne7 {White is clearly better here, but Irina commits an inaccuracy
in this position,} 14. h4 (14. O-O {would have been better, as Black struggles
to find counterplay on the Kingside.}) 14... Kf8 $1 {A deep idea by Jennifer,
that reminds me of the legendary Sax-Portisch game from 1989, and as we shall
see it will have the exact same effect!} 15. a4 Kg7 16. a5 Nc8 17. b6 (17. O-O
{would have been more flexible.}) 17... a6 $1 18. Na2 Ne7 19. Nb4 Qc8 20. Ra3
Rde8 $1 {Very consistent play by Black, with her pieces well coordinated,
Black achieved full equality.} 21. Rc3 Bd7 22. O-O Bc6 23. Ne1 Nf5 24. Nxc6
Qxc6 25. Nc2 Nxh4 26. Nb4 Qe6 27. Bd3 Bf4 $1 {All of a sudden, all of the
Jennifer's pieces are aimed at White's King!} 28. c6 Bd6 29. Rc5 $1 {A nice
practical try by Irina. She is hoping to find counterchances on the Queenside
before Jennifer's attack becomes too real on the Kingside.} Bxc5 30. dxc5 bxc6
$1 {Not afraid of ghosts!} 31. Nxa6 Qe5 32. Nc7 Re7 33. Qa4 (33. a6 {was a
must, although Black's attack is quite real.}) 33... Qg5 34. g3 Nf3+ 35. Kg2
Ne1+ 36. Rxe1 Rxe1 37. Qf4 Qg4 $1 {A very nice move, which wouldn't work this
well without the h8 rook!} 38. f3 (38. Qxg4 hxg4 39. a6 Reh1 {would lead to
checkmate.}) 38... Qd7 39. a6 Qe7 40. Qd2 Ra1 {and White resigned. A nice
win by Jennifer Yu over Irina Krush, and now she is in the sole lead with 3/3!
} 0-1


Sharevich vs Gorti 0-1

This was quite the shocker. Sharevich played a beautiful game and looked to get an important win against Gorti, who has been having quite a difficult event up to this point. But just like thunder strikes when you least expect it, Gorti had her resilience pay off when Sharevich blundered the game away with the careless 64. h3?? This allowed the powerful 64…Rxg4! that ended the game on the spot. Sharevich was forced to resign as there was simply no way of preventing further material loss.

Yip vs Abrahamyan 0-1

Carissa Yip’s opening choice (2.f4?!) surely came as a surprise for Abrahamyan, who handled the opening phase timidly. As soon as the ladies started maneuvering in the middle game though, Abrahamyan’s experience and understanding of the structures made all the difference.

It was all Abrahamyan after move 10, as she started combining strategic ideas with tactical shots that were simply too much to handle for Yip. Abrahamyan scores her first victory and gets back to 50%, while Yip drops one point behind the leader, Yu.

Zatonskih vs Feng 1-0

The 4-time champion is continuing her solid form as she beats Maggie Feng in a technical game. The side with the advantage was never in doubt from start to finish, as Anna dominated her young opponent in all facets of the game and converted with ease an exchange up endgame.