2021 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships Day 4 Recap

GM Ray Robson grabbed the clear lead with 3.0/4 in the U.S. Championship, after defeating a struggling GM Jeffery Xiong in today’s round. Meanwhile, GM Leinier Dominguez took advantage of a late-endgame slip by GM Sam Shankland to jump into a large tie for second place with 2.5/4. In the U.S. Women’s Championship, IM Carissa Yip caught up to WGM Katerina Nemcova (both on 3.0/4) after a shocking blunder from top seed GM Irina Krush. Just a half-point behind are WGM Thalia Cervantes and WIM Ashritha Eswaran, both on 2.5/4 heading into the first rest day.

Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The time control for the event is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an additional 30 second increment per move starting from move one.

U.S. Championship - Standings after Round 4

U.S. Women’s Championship - Standings after Round 4

2021 U.S. Championship

The key match-up of the day between GM Wesley So and GM Fabiano Caruana almost turned sour for the World No. 2, as Caruana burned all of his bridges going for a kingside attack, which could have been refuted by precise play. Not seeing a clear win and approaching time-trouble, Wesley decided to play it safe, and allowed Caruana to escape with a perpetual.

18...e5? was quite a serious mistake from Caruana, as after 19.dxe5 Re6 White had a few ways of dealing with Black’s attack. Instead, So allowed a perpetual after 20.exd6 Qg5+ 21.Kh1 Qh5= | ½-½, 26 moves

Wesley celebrates his 28th birthday today, and really didn’t want to “lose on his birthday”. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The draw allowed Robson to snag the lead, inflicting a third straight defeat on Xiong in what was a fairly clean victory. Dominguez also managed to win, after a late-endgame blunder by Shankland left Dominguez with a healthy extra pawn in a knight endgame. 

21.d6! left White with a nearly decisive strategic advantage. | 1-0, 28 moves

Robson previously placed 2nd in the 2015 U.S. Championship, and will be looking to win his first national title. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2021 U.S. Women’s Championship

Tournament leader WGM Katerina Nemcova was caught in some sharp preparation by IM Nazi Pakidze, but managed to defend well and even reach a more pleasant rook endgame. As Paikidze started to drift Nemcova began to gain serious winning chances, but missed her opportunity to win in the time-trouble leading up to the first time control.

The draw between Nemcova and Paikidze allowed IM Carissa Yip to catch up, thanks to a startling blunder of a full piece by GM Irina Krush:

After 21...Nb4?? the game ended instantly with 22.Rxc8+ Rxc8 23.Rd4+- | 1-0, 23 moves

Carissa was all smiles as she took down the top seed in her event. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The only other win came at the hands of WGM Sabina Foisor, who played an excellent middlegame to defeat WGM Tatev Abrahamyan.

The commentators loved Foisor’s 28.Qb1!, securing a decisive advantage in view of 28...Bd5 29.c4!, followed by 30.d5. | 1-0, 51 moves

After a difficult start the 2017 U.S. Women’s Champion scored her first win today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Round 5 of the 2021 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships will take place Monday, October 11 starting at 12:50 PM CT. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Maurice Ashley and Cristian Chirila on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.