2023 U.S. Chess Championships - Day 7 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

After another six draws in the U.S. Championship, top seed GM Fabiano Caruana kept his lead with 5.0/7, with GM Hans Niemann still close behind in clear second. Meanwhile IM Carissa Yip and WGM Begim Tokhirjonova showed no signs of slowing down in the U.S. Women’s Championship, both scoring their third straight wins and extending their lead even further. IM-elect Alice Lee also won a fantastic game, notching her fourth (!) win a row.


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

Playing Black against Robson, Caruana went for the Sicilian, against which Ray opted for the solid Moscow Variation. The position remained balanced for a long time, with the players eventually repeating moves in a drawn bishops of opposite color endgame.

Robson-Caruana: After 11…Nfd5, Black was quite comfortable.

Robson-Caruana was one of several long struggles. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

After some dubious opening play by Tang in a Ruy Lopez, Niemann seized a large advantage early on, with the bishop pair and more space, yet couldn’t manage to increase his edge. The players then went into an opposite colored bishop endgame where Niemann continued to squeeze for many moves, but was still unable to pierce Tang’s defenses.

Niemann-Tang: After 13…d5, White had a huge space advantage, but couldn’t break through.

GM Andrew Tang aka 'PenguinGM1' | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Once again all other match-ups were drawn, with Shankland spoiling a winning endgame with the bishop pair and extra pawn against Sevian, who defended stubbornly well.

2018 U.S. Champion GM Sam Shankland | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

After two straight wins 2021 champion IM Carissa Yip continued her dynamic streak with a thematic piece sacrifice in an Open Sicilian. Cervantes declined the sacrifice, but was forced tolive with her king in the center anyway. From there Yip played energetically, soon opening up the position and decisively encircling Black’s king with her pieces, ending the game.

Yip-Cervantes: After 15.Nd5!, taking the knight would give White a powerful attack against Black’s king.

Another day, another win for IM Carissa Yip. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Not to be outdone, Tokhirjonova grabbed a ton of space against Paikidze’s Caro-Kann, dominating both sides of the board with all the pieces still in play. Paikidze tried to find solace in the endgame, but at the cost of a pawn, which Begim captured while not giving up any positional pressure, soon converting her third game in a row.

Tokhirjonova-Paikidze: After 16.g4, Black’s knight was forced back to g7, leaving White with a huge space advantage.

In the meantime top seed GM Irina Krush missed her chances to win against FM Ashritha Eswaran, while second seed IM-elect Alice Lee extended her winning streak to four, defeating Zatonskih in excellent technical style to reach Krush in a tie for third place.

Lee-Zatonskih: After 38.a5, White was winning the b6-pawn, and with it the game.

Finding her stride, Lee is now just 1.5 points behind the leaders. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The 2023 U.S. Chess Championships continue tomorrow, October 13th, 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.