2023 U.S. Chess Championships - Day 6 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

After 10/12 decisive games in yesterday’s round, today calmed down with six draws in the U.S. Championship, leaving top seed and reigning champion GM Fabiano Caruana in clear first, with GM Hans Niemann remaining half a point behind in second.

In the U.S. Women’s Championship, co-leaders IM Carissa Yip and WGM Begim Tokhirjonova both continued their stellar run with wins as Black, increasing their lead over the field to a full point.

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

Caruana-Sevian featured an English Opening that soon resembled a Reverse Sicilian. It seemed like Caruana had a bit of pressure, but Sevian maneuvered solidly to hold, breaking Caruana’s three-game winning streak:

Caruana-Sevian: After 35…Ne6, White had nothing better than to repeat moves with 36.Rc3 Nf8 37.Rcc5.

Sevian showed good patience today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Playing Black against Xiong’s Four Knights Scotch, Niemann tried to push for a win, but couldn’t create any chances in a heavy-piece endgame:

Xiong-Niemann: After 22…gxf6, Black’s kingside was weakened, but the activity of the major pieces provides good compensation.

Hans tried for the hat-trick, but Xiong was too solid. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

The rest of the games, Aronian-So, Mishra-Dominguez, Tang-Robson, and Shankland-Swiercz also ended in draws, with Dominguez spoiling a winning position leading up to the first time control.

Dominguez was close to a second straight win, but couldn't pull it off. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

U.S. Championship: Round 7 Pairings

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

Continuing their fantastic result were the two co-leaders, Yip and Tokhirjonova, who once again took care of business. Yip outplayed Eswaran in a double-edged Modern Defense, while Tokhirjonova managed to grind Pourkashiyan down in a difficult rook endgame.

Eswaran-Yip: After 21…e5-+, Black started taking over the kingside.

After two quick wins with Black, Yip shows no signs of slowing down. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Pourkashiyan-Tokhirjonova: After 64…Ke3, White could have still saved the game with 65.Rh8!, but Atousa instead went for 65.Rc8 Rxh5 66.Rxc4-+, which was losing.

Back-to-back wins for Begim as well. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Chasing the leaders, Krush survived a hectic middlegame against Yan to enter a winning endgame with an extra pawn and the bishop pair, but was held to a draw after missing a win deep into the endgame:

Yan-Krush: Winning was either 68…Be7 or 68…Kxb4! 69.Kxf6 Kxc5-+, where White’s pieces cannot catch all the pawns.

Winning a nice game was four-time U.S. Women’s Champion IM Anna Zatonskih, who engineered an excellent attacking effort against Yu: 

Zatonskih-Yu: 33.Nh8+! was a stylish finish.

Zatonskih-Yu | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

U.S. Women's Championship: Round 7 Pairings

The 2023 U.S. Chess Championships continue tomorrow, October 12th, 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.