2020 U.S. Women's Championship - Day 4 Recap


GM Irina Krush left no chance for her rivals as she won both of her games today to clinch 1st place with 8.5/11 in the 2020 U.S. Women’s Championship, her eighth national title victory. Chasing Irina until the very last moment was the recently crowned U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion, WGM Carissa Yip, who also won both of her final games to finish in clear 2nd place. But the biggest surprise of the event was 12th-seed IM Dorsa Derakhshani, who scored 7.5/11 points on her route to earning third place.

“After these four days of play, with all the stress, all the preparation, I mean for it to finally end in the way you want it to end, what you’ve been working for, I mean that just feels amazing”, said Irina in the post-round interview. “I feel the support of my friends, my family, my students, my coach, all these people that are supporting me and watching the games and hoping I do well, I want to make them happy.”

Check out all the games from the fourth and final day of action here, and you can watch a video replay of the event’s live coverage featuring WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Maurice Ashley here.

The 2020 U.S. Women’s Championship runner-up, WGM Carissa Yip

Round 10

With just two rounds to go at the beginning of the final day all eyes were on the games of Krush, Yip, and Derakhshani, the only players still in contention for first place. Both Yip and Derakhshani looked to be worse in their games, while Krush was in some potential danger against WGM Sabina Foisor, who sacrificed a piece to open up her opponent’s king:

2018 U.S. Women’s Champion WGM Sabina Foisor was ready to play spoiler for Irina’s chances

Despite the pressure, Krush kept her cool and slowly walked her king out of danger, ending up with an extra piece and a winning position. Needing to keep pace, Carissa declined a perpetual coming from a bad position against IM Anna Zatonskih and instead played on for a win, down an exchange. After a nervy time-scramble Zatonskih faltered, and Yip was able to win and remain just a half-point behind.

WGM Carissa Yip was rewarded for her resilience with a clutch win over IM Anna Zatonskih

Almost following suit was Derakhshani, who had a winning endgame against WIM Thalia Cervantes but was ultimately held to a draw, falling a full point behind the tournament leader.

Round 11

The final round saw Krush facing WIM Emily Nguyen, with the chance to clinch the title outright with a victory. Meanwhile, WGM Carissa Yip faced WIM Thalia Cervantes, and would need to win in order to have any hopes of a playoff. Both Krush and Yip started off strong, with Irina quickly obtaining a stable positional edge while Carissa seized the initiative right from the opening:

WGM Carissa Yip held no punches in the final round, going all-out for a win against WIM Thalia Cervantes.

Yip was the first to win, breaking through in a sharp Open Sicilian and grabbing the temporary lead while Krush was still playing. But Irina nursed her advantage and continued to display good form, limiting her opponent’s counterplay before eventually ending the game with a precise mating attack. As soon as the game was over, Krush let out an excited cheer and immediately jumped out of her chair in celebration.

The 8-time U.S. Women’s Champion was elated after four days of intense competition.

Derekhshani also won her final game, defeating WGM Tatev Abrahamyan in a hectic game to finish in clear third place.

The surprise of the event, 12th seeded IM Dorsa Derakhshani scored a remarkable 7.5/11

Up next is the 2020 U.S. Chess Championship, which begins Monday October 26, with WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Maurice Ashley calling all the action live starting at 12:50 PM CDT on USChessChamps.com, YouTube, and Twitch.

The 2020 U.S. Championships features a series of five national title events, all taking place online from Oct 8-29, starting with the 2020 U.S. Girls Junior Championship. For full details, pairings, and results of the events, make sure to check out USChessChamps.com.