2023 U.S. Chess Championships - Day 3 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

It was an action-packed day as 2023 U.S. Junior Champion GM Abhimanyu Mishra took the sole lead in the U.S. Championship after defeating GM Ray Robson in a hectic game. In the meantime IM Carissa Yip took down another key rival in IM-elect Alice Lee, while WGM Begim Tokhirjonova defeated WGM Tatev Abrahamyan to stay tied for the lead in the U.S. Women’s Championship.

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

A sharp but theoretical piece sacrifice in a 5.g3 Semi-Slav was seen in the game Robson-Mishra, with both players blitzing out over 20 moves of theory. But as the players left book, Robson soon went wrong, giving Mishra the chance to free his position. A nice transition to a two knights vs. rook endgame allowed Mishra to score an impressive victory.

Robson-Mishra: 39…Nd3! sealed White's fate, as the rook would have to give itself up for the c-pawn.

A surprise sole leader. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The other leader from Round 2, Niemann, wasn’t able to keep up–he achieved a fantastic position against Shankland in an Italian Game but played too timidly, allowing Shankland to take over the initiative. As the players made it to the second time-control, Shankland’s advantage was overwhelming, and he quickly broke through in the endgame.

Niemann-Shankland: 42…Nxf3! led to a won position after 43.Rxe7 Nxe1 44.Rxe8 Bxe8-+

Niemann-Shankland | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Winning late in the day was top seed GM Fabiano Caruana, who achieved a decisive advantage against Xiong after sacrificing an exchange, but in time-trouble let his opponent off the hook, and only later converted in a difficult queen endgame.

Xiong-Caruana: 24…dxc4! gave Black enormous compensation for the exchange after 25.Bxc8 Rxc8.

A topsy-turvy win for Caruana. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

In the remaining matchups both So and Dominguez had their opponents under pressure, but couldn’t find a way to win, while Tang-Aronian ended in an early repetition.

U.S. Championship - Round 4 Pairings

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

The women’s side saw two big results as 2021 champion IM Carissa Yip won her second straight game, defeating yet another rival as she took down IM-elect Alice Lee in a complex King’s Indian. Then in a battle of two leaders, Tokhirjonova managed to turn things around in a difficult position against Abrahamyan, eventually using her extra exchange to convert the full point.

Lee-Yip: 38…Rxf3+! allowed Black to crash through.

2.5/3 after two straight wins by Yip. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Tokhirjonova-Abrahamyan: 26…Kd7! would have posed serious problems, but instead 26...exf3+ 27.Kf2 gave White the easier game.

Begim is off to a blistering start as well. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Scoring her first win was top seed GM Irina Krush, who built up a strong kingside attack against tournament newcomer WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan, soon crashing through with a nice combination:

Krush-Pourkashiyan: 29.Rxf7+! was a game-ender, winning in view of 29...Nxf7 30.Rxg6+ Kf8 31.Qh7+-, or 29...Qxf7 30.Rxg6+ Qxg6 31.Nxg6 Kxg6 32.Qh5+

After today's win Krush is tied for third, just a half-point behind the leaders. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Other results saw Yan-Paikidze ending in a solid draw, while Zatonskih defeated Eswaran to join shared third with Krush and Paikidze. In the longest game of the event so far, Cervantes blew a completely winning endgame against Yu, ultimately drawing after 133 moves and over 6 hours of play.

U.S. Women's Championship - Round 4 Pairings

The 2023 U.S. Chess Championships continue tomorrow, October 8th, starting at 1:20 PM CDT. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Cristian Chirila, and Katerina Nemcova on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.