2022 U.S. Chess & Women’s Chess Championship - Day 9 Recap

 by NM Vanessa West

GM Sam Shankland was the only player to gain ground in round 9, defeating GM Christopher Yoo to join the tie for third. GM Fabiano Caruana continues to lead with GM Ray Robson trailing by half a point. 

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, WGM Jennifer Yu leapfrogged into clear first with a victory over FM Ashritha Eswaran.

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 9

U.S. Women’s Championship - Standings after Round 9

2022 U.S. Championship

GM Fabiano Caruana vs. GM Awonder Liang ½-½ 

GM Awonder Liang continues to play entertaining chess, unleashing a fresh take on the "copycat trap" variation in the Petroff Defense vs. Caruana.

Liang played 3…Nxe5, falling into the “trap”. Caruana responded with 4.Qe2 and after 4…Qe7 (if 4…Nf6?? 5.Nc6+ wins Black’s queen―the main idea of the trap) 5.Qxe4 d6 6.d4 dxe5 7.dxe5 Nc6, the players fought for 77 moves before drawing. | ½-½, 77 moves

Is this for real? Caruana studies a position virtually every chess player learns as a beginner vs. fellow grandmaster Liang. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

GM Sam Shankland vs. GM Christopher Yoo 1-0 

In a Reverse Sicilian, 15-year-old GM Christopher Yoo made the fearless choice to sacrifice part of his king’s pawn cover to take away his opponent’s ability to castle. In the resulting wild game, Shankland’s king in the center proved to be safer than Yoo’s kingside castled one.

Yoo played the ambitious 13…f4 allowing Shankland to play 14.Bxh7+ Kh8. Though Shankland’s king was trapped in the center after 15.Bd2 Qe7+ 16.Kf1 Bg4, he gained sufficient attacking play with 17.Re1 Qf6 18.h4 | 1-0, 38 moves

2018 U.S. Champion Shankland is currently tied for third. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

GM Leinier Dominquez vs. GM Sam Sevian ½-½ 

GM Leinier Dominquez certainly played for a win this round despite ultimately drawing. He pressed with an extra pawn and later even two, rejected multiple repetition draw offers, let his clock get as low as one second, and squeezed everything he could out of the opposite-color bishop ending for 113 moves vs. GM Sam Sevian. 

Dominguez is a part of the huge tie for third, chasing Robson and Caruana. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

The remaining four games ended in draws. 

2022 U.S. Women’s Championship

WGM Begim Tokhirjonova vs. WIM Megan Lee 1-0

WGM Begim Tokhirjonova created a powerful passed pawn to win material vs. WIM Megan Lee.

Tokhirjonova played 33.Rd7!, activating the rook with the help of the passed c-pawn. Lee replied with 33…Rxd7 (if 33…Qb6 34.Rb7 Qc5 35.Qf6 or 33…Qc8 34.Rxa5), and the game continued 34.cxd7 Rd8 35.Bxc6 Rxd7 36.Bxd7 Qxd7 37.Rxa5 when White eventually won the rook vs. knight ending. | 1-0, 56 moves

Tokhirjonova resiliently bounces back from yesterday with a win. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

FM Ashritha Eswaran vs. WGM Jennifer Yu 0-1

When the players traded into an early ending from a Caro-Kann Defense, Yu organized her pieces effectively to create pressure against FM Ashritha Eswaran’s center.

With 22…Na4 Yu disturbs White’s c3-bishop to win the pawn on d4. Eswaran tried to counter with the exchange sacrifice 23.Rxe7. And after 23…Rxe7 24.Be1 Rxd4 Yu was ahead material with a more active position. | 0-1, 56 moves

Jennifer Yu has leapfrogged into clear first. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

WGM Thalia Cervantes vs. WGM Sabina Foisor 1-0

WGM Thalia Cervantes creatively surrounded her opponent’s king and started a powerful attack. 

Cervantes cracked open Black’s kingside with 25.Bxg7! The game continued with 25…Qxg7 26.Nh6+ Kf8 27.Rxe4 e5 and Cervantes won material with 28.Rg4 Qh7 29.Rg8+ Ke7 30.Rg7+ Qxg7 31.Nf5+ | 1-0, 48 moves

Cervantes has won two games in a row. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

This was a rare round where there were more draws than decisive games. 

Round 10 of the 2022 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships will take place on Saturday, October 15. 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.