2022 U.S. Chess & Women’s Chess Championship - Day 8 Recap

 by NM Vanessa West

Fabiano Caruana remains the U.S. Championship leader, but GM Ray Robson is close on his tail, narrowing the gap to a half point with a victory. In the U.S. Women’s Championship, Megan Lee pulled into the sole lead with a win 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 8

U.S. Women’s Championship - Standings after Round 8

2022 U.S. Championship

GM Elshan Moradiabadi vs. GM Ray Robson 0-1

On the black side of the d3 Ruy Lopez, Robson started an attack with adventurous kingside play.

Robson went after the holes on White’s kingside with 24…Nf4!? After 25.N5h4 g5 26.gxf4 gxh4 27.Qe2 exf4, Black had both a material and attacking advantage. | 0-1, 38 moves

While Robson has narrowed Caruana’s lead to just half a point, he’s also increased his own distance ahead of the rest of the field to a full point. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

GM Christopher Yoo vs. GM Jeffery Xiong 0-1

After entering an ending fairly early in the game, Xiong gradually gained one extra pawn after another, eventually reaching a knight endgame four pawns ahead. 

With 32…Nxg5+, Xiong gained a second extra pawn and maintained it after 33.Kf4 Ne6+ 34.Ke4 Nd8  | 0-1, 50 moves

Xiong is in the five-way tie for third. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

After a highly decisive previous round, this one was more calm with five draws. 

2022 U.S. Women’s Championship

WIM Megan Lee vs. FM Ashritha Eswaran 1-0

FM Ashritha Eswaran sacrificed a pawn and then a knight in the Sicilian Sveshnikov in an attempt to gain attacking chances against Lee’s uncastled king. Lee accepted the material and then stabilized her king’s safety by castling by hand. 

Lee began to castle by hand with 21.g3. Eswaran responded with the bold knight sacrifice 21…Ne4. Lee accepted the sacrifice with 22.fxe4 and her king soon found safety after 22…f5 23.Kg2 fxe4 24.Rf1 | 1-0, 42 moves

The 25-year-old is now in clear first. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

WGM Jennifer Yu vs. FM Rochelle Wu 1-0

WGM Jennifer Yu vs. FM Rochelle Wu was a double-edged duel where Yu pressed on the queenside while Wu attacked on the kingside. Ultimately, Yu’s queenside play proved more effective, creating two connected passers. 

Yu invaded Black’s queenside with b6, soon winning the backwards c6-pawn and planting her rook on the centralized d6-outpost. | 1-0, 37 moves

Yu is tied for second with GM Irina Krush | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

IM Nazi Paikidze vs. FM Alice Lee 0-1

FM Alice Lee defeated IM Nazi Paikidze with a clever in-between move deflection tactic.

Lee spotted the tactical opportunity of 29…Nd7 deflecting the white knight from defending the b7-bishop. After 30.Nxd7, Lee’s recapture with 30…Bxd7 attacks the a4-rook while maintaining the attack on the white bishop, winning material. If 31.Rb4 a5 unsettles the rook and allowing for a pin tactic if 32.Rb3 with 33.Bc6. | 0-1, 52 moves

Lee scores an impressive win on her birthday. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan vs. WGM Thalia Cervantes 0-1

WGM Thalia Cervantes gained her first victory of the event against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan. In a close struggle, Cervantes activated her knight pair to support her passed e-pawn and create threats around her opponent’s king.

Cervantes played 38…Nge4 when her knight pair is taking over the position. The game continued: 39.Rf4 Rxc6 40.Bxe4 Nxe4 41.Ne2 Nd2+ 42.Ka1 Ra8 when White’s king is in serious danger. | 0-1, 47 moves

WGM Sabina Foisor vs. WGM Begim Tokhirjonova 1-0

WGM Sabina Foisor fought for over five hours to successfully convert a small edge in the endgame vs. WGM Begim Tokhirjonova. 

Foisor’s efforts as the last game to finish gained her her first win of the event. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

This is the third round in a row where five of the games ended with decisive results with only two draws. 

Round 9 of the 2022 U.S. & U.S. Women's Chess Championships will take place on Friday, October 14. 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.