2023 U.S. Chess Championships - Day 11 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

IM Carissa Yip became the 2023 U.S. Women’s Champion after a dramatic final round which saw both her and key rival WGM Begim Tokhirjonova losing their games, allowing Yip to keep first place and secure her second national title.

Meanwhile with GM Fabiano Caruana having already clinched the 2023 U.S. Championship, second place ended up being shared among GMs Wesley So, Leinier Dominguez, and the surprise Abhimanyu Mishra, who defeated GM Levon Aronian to cap off an incredible performance.

Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. Both events feature a 12-player round-robin format, with a time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by an additional 30 minutes with a 30-second increment starting from move one.

2023 U.S. Championship

Although Caruana already secured tournament victory after yesterday’s round, the rest of the podium was very much up for grabs with So, Dominguez, and Mishra all in contention. So made a quick draw with Caruana to reach 6.5/11, while Dominguez had to hold a worse knight endgame against Niemann to reach 6.5 as well. Catching up was Mishra, who played an excellent positional game to score against Aronian, joining the tie for second place.

Mishra-Aronian: 45.Rb1 forced resignation, due to the threats of Nxf5, Rb8+, and Rbb7

The U.S. Junior Champion ended with five wins, three losses, and three draws in his first U.S. Championship. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Also winning in the final round was Sevian, who found a dynamic sacrifice against Tang in the early middlegame, leaving his opponent’s knight trapped on the queenside for most of the game:

Sevian-Tang: 13.axb4! left White completely winning after 13...Nxa1 14.Nc6+-

Shared second for So, who was one of a few players without a loss in the event. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Dominguez also survived the tournament without a loss, ending on +2. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

Going into today's round Yip was leading by half a point, with Tokhirjonova needing to win to have a chance at forcing a playoff tiebreak. At first things looked great for Begim, as Yip fell under serious pressure by FM Ruiyang Yan, while Begim had a huge advantage in the middlegame against 2022 champion WGM Jennifer Yu. But then things turned around as it looked like Yip had escaped and was even pressing in a double-rook endgame, while Tokhirjonova-Yu simply became a complete mess. All of a sudden Yip ended up blundering and losing in the rook endgame, which meant Begim would just need a draw to force a playoff, while a win would clinch the title for her outright.

Yip-Yan: 56.c7! would have kept a draw in hand for White. Instead Yip played 56.b5? with no good response after 56…Rf1-+

But in mutual time-trouble, Tokhirjonova misplayed a difficult position and would go on to lose, as Yu managed to decide the game thanks to her passed c-pawn. This meant Yip would keep her half-point lead and clinch tournament victory.

Tokhirjonova-Yu: 56.Rxc2! was the only saving move, sacrificing a piece but drawing the game due to the strong passed a-pawn.

This is the second U.S. Championship title for Yip, who first won in 2021. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

A painful end for Begim, who also finished second in 2021. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Earning 3rd place was young IM-elect Alice Lee, who after an up-and-down event finished with a nice win over FM Ashritha Eswaran. But the game of the day went to WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, who conducted a stellar attack against GM Irina Krush to finish in clear fourth.

After starting the event with 0.5/3, Alice scored 8/9 to end in clear third. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Abrahamyan-Krush: 25.Rxh7! capped off a powerful attack, with White soon mating after 25...Kxh7 26.Bf5+-

Three straight wins to close the event for Tatev. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes