2023 U.S. Chess Championships - Day 8 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

After a shocking blunder by GM Hans Niemann, top seed GM Fabiano Caruana was able to extend his lead to a full point in the U.S. Championship, despite spoiling a winning position against GM Sam Shankland.Meanwhile IM Carissa Yip survived a completely lost position against WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan to notch her fourth win in a row, while fellow co-leader WGM Begim Tokhirjonova kept pace with a crushing win over IM Anna Zatonskih.

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

Coming out of a quiet Italian Game against Shankland, Caruana built up a powerful kingside attack and looked to be on the way to victory as he found a way to win a queen for a rook and minor piece. But a serious mistake by the top seed allowed Shankland enough counterplay to equalize, forcing Caruana to give up a rook and draw the game by perpetual

Caruana-Shankland: 22.Nxh6+! won Black’s queen after 22…gxh6 23.Rg4+-, but things weren’t so simple after 23…Kh7 24.Rxg6 fxg6

Caruana had a chance to lead by 1.5 points, but had to settle for a draw. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

In the meantime Niemann was doing well on the clock and just slightly worse on the board against Robson, but an inexplicable blunder by Hans left his queen trapped in a single move, which Robson immediately spotted to win the game.

Robson-Niemann: After 34…Qa3?? 35.Ra2!+- Black’s queen simply had no squares.

A tragic one-move blunder cost Niemann the game. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Other results were drawn, with the exception of Mishra-Sevian, which saw the young prodigy gain an extra pawn and convert a bishop vs. knight endgame with precise technique.

Mishra is now tied for 2nd place along with So, Dominguez, and Niemann, all a full point behind Caruana. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

U.S. Championship - Round 9 Pairings

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

It seemed like today would be the day that Yip’s winning streak would come to an end, as she got into serious trouble against Pourkashiyan, who sacrificed an exchange and had Yip’s king on the ropes. But several blunders in mutual time-trouble allowed Yip to escape and even overturn the initiative, as she turned the tables to win her fourth straight game.

Pourkashiyan-Yip: 28.fxg6!? left Black's king permanently exposed at the cost of an exchange.

Yip's escape was nothing short of miraculous. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Having a much less dramatic route to victory was co-leader Tokhirjonova, who smoothly outplayed Zatonskih on the Black side of a Queen’s Gambit Declined, as her pieces infiltrated White’s position in the middlegame, soon leading to decisive material gains.

Zatonskih-Tokhirjonova: After 19…Rc2, White was simply worse, with c6-c5 soon coming with great effect.

Four wins in a row for Begim, who finished in clear second (behind Carissa) in 2021. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Tied for third place going into the round, both GM Irina Krush and IM-elect Alice Lee ended up drawing their games, leaving themselves two points behind the leaders with three rounds to go.

Krush-Yu was a wild affair, where both players had their chances before the game eventually ended in a draw by repetition. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The 2023 U.S. Chess Championships continue Sunday, October 15th, 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.