2021 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships - Day 5 Recap

GM Alex Lenderman continued to surge today after winning a marathon 140-move game against GM Sam Sevian to tie GM Ray Robson at the top of the U.S. Championship standings. Meanwhile, GM Daniel Naroditsky stunned top seed GM Fabiano Caruana with the Black pieces, sending the U.S. No. 1 back to an even score.

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, WGM Katerina Nemcova regained the clear lead with 3.5/5 as previous co-leader IM Carissa Yip lost to WGM Begim Tokhirjonova. In the meantime top seed GM Irina Krush bounced back to defeat IM Anna Zatonskih, as she and four other players are now just a half-point behind Nemcova.

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 5

U.S. Women’s Championship - Standings after Round 5

2021 U.S. Championship

After a nightmare start GM Jeffery Xiong managed to bounce back with a clean win over GM Sam Shankland, collecting a number of positional advantages throughout the game. Caruana had a slightly better position out of the opening (Ruy Lopez) against Naroditsky, but faltered in the middlegame and all of a sudden found himself seriously worse in the endgame. Faced with time-trouble, Caruana did not manage to defend in the best possible way and ended up in a completely lost knight vs. bishop endgame, which Naroditsky slowly converted.

In an already difficult position, here Caruana played 36.Rc1, after which 36...Bxb2 37.Rxc4 Bxa3 left Black with a decisive advantage, thanks to the power of the b-pawn. | 0-1, 57 moves

“I’m going for the fighting index award!” said Naroditsky, who so far has scored two wins and three losses. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

While Swiercz-Robson, Bruzon-So, and Dominguez-Burke were all drawn without any particular drama, Lenderman had secured a long-lasting advantage against Sevian, with the pair of bishops and a clean extra pawn in the endgame. 

After 29.Bxa7, Lenderman had a nearly decisive advantage, with an extra pawn and pair of bishops--it would take him over 100 moves to convert from here. | 1-0, 140 moves

Sevian defended with extreme tenaciousness, and although the evaluation swung from winning to equal multiple times, Lenderman continued to press, and eventually broke through after the game had reached well over 100 moves. On move 140, in a completely lost bishops of opposite colored endgame, Sevian finally resigned.

GM Alex Lenderman worked for over six hours to win today’s game. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2021 U.S. Women’s Championship

While IM Carissa Yip and WGM Katerina Nemcova entered the day as co-leaders only Nemcova could maintain the lead, pressing but eventually only drawing against WGM Anna Sharevich after a long struggle. Meanwhile, Yip got into early trouble against Tokhirjonova and could not save her position.

After 41.Bb6, White’s position was simply dominant. | 1-0, 55 moves

WGM Begim Tokhirjonova played spoiler today, taking down the #2 seed IM Carissa Yip. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

The win allowed Nemcova to regain the clear lead with 3.5/5, though Krush, Yip, Paikidze, Tokhirjonova, and Eswaran are all just a half-point behind with 3.0/5. More notable results include Paikidze scoring her first win of the event, defeating WGM Thalia Cervantes on the Black side of a Leningrad Dutch, Foisor winning her second straight game at the hands of WIM Megan Lee, and Krush bouncing back from her Round 4 blunder to defeat long-time rival IM Anna Zatonskih:

After Black grabbed the pawn with 14...Qxb2, White played 15.Bxf6! forcing the heavily weakening 15...gxf6 as Black would need to meet 16.Rfb1 with 16...Qa3. With the newly-doubled pawns on the kingside, Zatonskih wasn’t able to hold the position. | 1-0, 36 moves

The eight-time U.S. Women’s Champion turned things around today with a big win after a disastrous Round 4. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Round 6 of the 2021 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships will take place Tuesday, October 12 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.