2023 U.S. Chess Championships - Day 4 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

Top seed GM Fabiano Caruana took the sole lead in the U.S. Championship after winning his second straight game, as previous leader GM Abhimanyu Mishra lost today to GM Hans Niemann. Meanwhile in the U.S. Women’s Championship, leaders IM Carissa Yip and WGM Begim Tokhirjonova faced off in a long complicated struggle that eventually ended in a draw, as they continue to lead the field going into the first rest day of the event.

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

After a fantastic start with 2.5/3 Mishra was unable to keep his run going, as he was slowly outplayed by Niemann in a Rossolimo Sicilian. Showing good technique, Niemann used his positional advantage to first win a pawn, and then another before achieving a completely winning rook and bishop endgame.

Mishra-Niemann: 33…Bg3! left White’s position extremely passive, as Black’s rook was able to activate next.

A battle of U.S. Junior champions. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Winning his second game in a row and overtaking the lead was top seed Caruana, who managed to trick Swiercz in a highly complex bishop vs. knight endgame:

Caruana-Swiercz: 70.Bc3! put Black in a devastating zugzwang, as every move loses.

After two draws to begin the event, Caruana has started to catch fire. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

The other four match-ups of the day, Aronian-Robson, Xiong-Tang, Shankland-So, and Sevian-Dominguez, all ended up drawn despite several players pushing hard for the win. While Caruana is leading with 3.0/4, Shankland, Niemann, and Mishra are all close behind with 2.5/4.

U.S. Championship - Round 5 Pairings

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

The critical battle between the two leaders, Yip and Tokhirjonova, heated up quickly as Yip chose a very ambitious line in the Scotch Opening. After heavy middlegame complications with both kings living on the queenside, the action eventually petered out into a drawn endgame.

Yip-Tokhirjonova: After 20…d5, the position was simply chaotic.

The two leaders: Yip-Tokhirjonova | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Another important game that ended in a draw was Paikidze-Krush, which was equal for most of the game until just before the first time control, when Paikidze missed a chance to establish a serious advantage, soon letting the win slip. Bouncing back from a loss yesterday was Abrahamyan, who managed to turn things around in a practically lost position against Eswaran:

Eswaran-Abrahamyan: After 26…d3! Black was winning material due to the threat of g4-g3.

Tatev is now tied for third with Krush, Zatonskih, & Paikidze, all on 2.5/4 | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Picking up their first wins of the event were tournament newcomer FM Atousa Pourkashiyan and current U.S. Girls’ Junior champion IM-elect Alice Lee. While Pourkashiyan’s win over Yu was fairly clean, ending in a nice queen sacrifice, Lee had to walk a tightrope with her king to survive a devastating attack against Cervantes, eventually converting in the endgame.

Cervantes-Lee: After 33.Qxg5 Black's king was surprisingly safe on e4. Best was 33...c3, but Lee opted for the safer 33...Qf5, forcing a queen exchange.

Second-seeded Lee has struggled so far, but finally scored a victory today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

This is the first U.S. Women's Championship for Pourkashiyan, who is a seven-time Iranian women's champion. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

2023 U.S. Women's Championship - Round 5 Pairings

The 2023 U.S. Chess Championships continue Tuesday, October 10th, 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.