2022 U.S. Chess & Women’s Chess Championship - Day 7 Recap

 by NM Vanessa West

GM Ray Robson upset GM Wesley So to break 2700 for the first time. He’s in clear second, trailing GM Fabiano Caruana by a point, who won again to reach plus four. 

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, WIM Megan Lee defeated WGM Jennifer Yu to replace her in the tie for first with GM Irina Krush. 

Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The time control for the event is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game; with a 30-second increment starting from move 1.

U.S. Championship - Standings after Round 7

U.S. Women’s Championship - Standings after Round 7

2022 U.S. Championship

GM Ray Robson vs. GM Wesley So 1-0

GM Ray Robson was well-prepared for the risky variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defense employed by GM Wesley So, gaining a powerful kingside attack. 

With 25.Nxf7+! Robson further opens up the black king. The game continued 25…Qxf7 26.Bxg6 Qe7 27.Qf2 f5 28.Rg1 Rg8 29.Rg5 and Robson soon overcame his opponent’s defense. | 1-0, 35 moves

Robson is now in clear second behind Caruana. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

GM Fabiano Caruana vs. GM Aleksandr Lenderman 1-0

GM Fabiano Caruana capitalized on a tactical opportunity vs. GM Aleksandr Lenderman.

Caruana took advantage of his opponent’s loose position with 31.Rxa5! The game continued 31…Re8 (if 31…Qxa5 32.Qxe6+) 32.Ra6 Qxd4 33.Rxe6 when White has an overwhelming advantage. | 1-0, 51 moves

Caruana continues to lead by a full point. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

GM Leinier Dominguez vs. GM Elshan Moradiabadi 1-0

To the shock of all watching, GM Leinier Dominguez won his game in just 10 moves. GM Elshan Moradiabadi employed the Petroff Defense, an opening he doesn’t usually play, and overlooked a tactical trap. 

Dominguez captured a knight with 10.Bxe4, and either way that Black recaptures loses material: 10…Qxe4 runs into a skewer with 11. Re1 while 10…Bxe4 meets 11.Nc3 Qf5 12.Nxe4 and again 12…Re1 wins the bishop on e7. | 1-0, 10 moves

Dominguez taking his scoresheet after his 20 minute victory vs. Moradiabadi. In the background, other players look at the game feed, bewildered. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

GM Dariusz Swiercz vs. GM Hans Niemann 1-0

GM Dariusz Swiercz defeated GM Hans Niemann in a dynamic attacking game. 

Swiercz sunk his knight into the appealing d6-outpost with 21.Nd6! Niemann eliminated the knight with 21…Bxd6, and after 22.Ng5 g6 23.exd6, all of White’s pieces create pressure in the center and around the weakened black kingside. | 1-0, 28 moves

After the rest day, Swiercz has jump started his tournament with two impressive victories in a row. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

The other three games ended peacefully. For the first time, there were more decisive games than draws.

2022 U.S. Women’s Championship

WIM Megan Lee vs. WGM Jennifer Yu 1-0

WGM Jennifer Yu began expanding ambitiously on the queenside and center, launching the game into tactical mayhem. WIM Megan Lee countered actively, gained the upper hand, and simplified to a winning endgame. 

After an explosion of dynamic play, Lee traded into a winning ending with 35.Qxb8+ Qxb8 36.Re8+ Rf8 37.Rxb8 Rxb8 38.Re8+ Rxe8 39.Bxe8 and emerged two pawns ahead in the bishop vs. knight endgame. | 1-0, 63 moves

Lee has now won two games in a row. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

WGM Begim Tokhirjonova vs. WGM Tatev Abrahamyan 1-0

WGM Begim Tokhirjonova vs. WGM Tatev Abrahamyan was a tactical duel in the French Advanced. 

With the tactical shot 25.Bg6! Tokhirjonova wins the exchange. If 25…Rf8 26.Bg5 traps Black’s queen. | 1-0, 37 moves

With this victory, Tokhirjonova is now tied for fourth.  | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

FM Ashritha Eswaran vs. WGM Sabina Foisor 1-0

FM Ashritha Eswaran responded with a deflection tactic when her opponent captured a poisoned pawn. 

After her opponent captured a pawn with 23…Nxb3, Eswaran immediately noticed the tactical opportunity of 24.Bb2, deflecting the c3-rook from the defense of the b3-knight. | 1-0, 41 moves

After a challenging start, Eswaran’s win in round 4 has kicked off an incredible streak. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

FM Alice Lee vs. FM Rochelle Wu 0-1

FM Rochelle Wu fought FM Alice Lee in a five hour plus game, eventually converting her extra pawn in the queen ending. 

Towards the end of a long struggle with an extra pawn, Wu found the key idea of 55…Qg1. The threat of checkmate on h1 forces the white queen to move away from the critical b8-h2 diagonal. The game continued: 56.Qc6 Qf1+ 57.Kh2 Qe2+ 58.Kg1 and Wu played 58…f4!, breaking up the white pawn structure and winning a pawn: 59.gxf4 Qg4+ 60.Kf1 Qxf4+ 61.Ke2 Qxh4. | 0-1, 75 moves

Wu bounces back from a tough loss yesterday with her win today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

IM Nazi Paikidze vs. WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki 1-0

IM Nazi Paikidze gained her first victory of the tournament vs. WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki, gaining an extra pawn on the kingside out of the opening and later hunting down her opponent’s king. 

IM Nazi Paikidze is a two-time U.S. Women’s Champion. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

For a second round in a row, five out of seven games finished decisively while the remaining two ended in draws. 

Round 8 of the 2022 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships will take place on Thursday, October 13. Watch the action live at 1:20pm CT with commentators GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, and GM Cristian Chirila on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.