2022 Summer Chess Classic - Days 1-3 Recap
The Saint Louis Chess Club has a brand new look as competitors gather for the first time in our new tournament hall for the 2022 Summer Chess Classic. For the second time this year, strong players from all around the world have come together to compete for their share of $36,000. The two ten-player round robins are headlined by two 2700+ Grandmasters Yu Yangyi and Sam Sevian.
Competitors gather for the first time in a new playing hall to compete in the 2022 Summer Chess Classic | Photo by Saint Louis Chess Club
Day 1 began quietly in the A Section with all games ending in a draw but it may have been a walkup call for top seed Yu Yangyi who had to defend down a pawn against Benjamin Gledura from move 23. Gledura was close to finding a way to close out the game but the tenacious defense by the tournament favorite was enough to hold the game and save half a point.
The story was a little different in the B Section where we saw two decisive results. Despite being surprised by the opening, Dragun Kamil was able to sacrifice his e-pawn to achieve a completely dominant position against Zhou Jianchao. Despite being down a pawn, all of Kamil’s pieces achieved nearly perfect squares and the game lasted only 26 moves.
Brandon Jacobson and Kamil Dragun watching their games on TV | Photo by Saint Louis Chess Club
Brandon Jacobson also got off to a strong start in round 1 with a big win with the Black pieces against Nicolas Checa. Jacobson admitted after the game that it was relatively easy to prepare for his opponent due to Checa’s propensity to play the same lines every game. The game featured King’s Indian Defense with a nice kingside attack by Jacobson that ended just before move 40.
Day two saw a lot more action in the A Section with three wins by Yu Yangyi, Benjamin Gleduar and Jonas Buhl Bjerre.
Yu Yangyi decided to surprise his opponent Grigoriy Oparin with the Slav Defense, an opening he has never tested in practice with the Black pieces. Worried at some point about having his Bishop locked out of the game on h7, Yu Yangyi employed a strategy of complicating the game as much as possible and he began to blitz out his moves in an effort to induce a mistake from the opponent. The risky strategy played off as Yu Yangyi was quick to pounce on an opportunity to infiltrate the opponent’s kingside with his Queen and swiftly took care of his opponent to bring home the full point.
GM Yu Yangyi is the frontrunner to win the A Section of the 2022 Summer Chess Classic | Photo by Saint Louis Chess Club
Benjamin Gledura took full advantage of his chance with the White pieces against Ilia Smirin despite the fact that “after 2. …e6 I was out of book already.” Black played very ambitiously but ultimately was left with a position full of weaknesses that Gledura was able to exploit and bring home the full point.
Bjerre Jonas Buhl was able to defeat local Saint Louis player Nikolas Theodorou with the White pieces in a King’s Indian Defense. Theodorou tested out the very rare move 6. …h6 in a very theoretical position but it seemed the Buhl was calmly able to create attacking chances. On move 13, he was able to capture the pawn on h6 and Black’s position fell apart leading to a win for Jonas Buhl.
In the B Section there was only one decisive game on day 2. Jianchao Zhou bounced back from his first round loss with a win over Tigran Harutyunyan in a long struggle in the Moscow variation of the Sicilian.
The players got serious on day 3 with no quick games to be found in either section. Abhimanyu Mischra was the only one to score a decisive victory in the A Section. Meanwhile, Cemil Can Ali Marandi and Guillermo Vazquez were both able to get on the board for the first time with wins in the B-Section.
Abhimanyu Mishra – the youngest Grandmaster ever – slowly outplayed his Aram Hakobyan with the White pieces in a Giuoco Pianissimo. The position began to go downhill for Harutyunyan after the decision to play 24. …Bxd4 which led to White gaining a large advantage in the center. Mishra was able to convert his advantage into a winning position but the game would last a full 75 before Harutyunyan threw in the towel.
In the B-Section, Cemil Can Ali Marandi slowly ground down his opponent Tigran Harutyunyan in the Scotch Opening. White pressed his small advantage until Black’s position collapsed and the game ended on move 53.
Guillermo Vazquest scored his first victory over John Burke with the White pieces in a Giuoco Piano. The hard fought battle lasted 60 moves before Burke resigned.
There is still everything to play for after the first 3 days of chess during the 2022 Summer Chess Classic. Benjamin Gledura, Yu Yangyi, Abhihamyu Mishra and Jonas Bjerre lead the A Group with 2 points each. Brandon Jacobson, Kamil Dragun, Guillermo Vazquez and JJ Ali Marandi lead the B Group with 2 points each.
Coverage of the 2022 Summer Chess Classic happens everyday at 3pm CT on https://www.uschesschamps.com/watch-live. Join us as the tournament really begins to heat up!