The youngest players in each section, 12-year-old Alice Lee and 15-year-old Christopher Yoo, scored key upsets in Round 2 of the U.S. Chess & U.S. Women’s Chess Championships. Christopher Yoo defeated reigning champion GM Wesley So while Alice Lee defeated WGM Begim Tokhirjonova to reach 2-0.
With chess growing so fast in the US, one can only imagine what the picture will be in a few years with stars like Andy Woodward and the youngest Grandmaster in history Mishra
US Chess Championship 2022: Day 1 recap / Day 2 recap / Pairings & Schedule of all rounds / Day 1 live video coverage / Day 2 live video coverage
Teenage grandmaster Christopher Yoo, reached a pivotal moment in his game against the reigning U.S. Champion, GM Wesley So. Yoo felt that had an advantage but was uncertain of how to utilize it. On move 37, the opportunity for a three-time repetition draw appeared on the board. The young competitor pondered his options against the fifth highest ranked player in history for half an hour. With only two minutes left on his clock, he decided to play for the win.
With 37…Re8!? Yoo declines the repetition draw (The players had already repeated with 35…Rg3 36.Qh2 Rh3 37. Qg2) and soon brings his rook to the commanding e3-outpost after 38.Ne2 Re3. | 0-1, 48 moves
In his post-game interview Yoo explained his crucial decision to play on that led to his eventual victory, “I just went for it. I had to trust myself.” | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
Christopher Yoo stole the spotlight of the day by saying I felt disrespected on every level by Hans Niemann.
The lowest seed in the tournament, GM Elshan Mordiabadi, scored his first victory against the wild card GM Awonder Liang, fighting off Black’s center play in the Ruy Lopez.
Nineteen-year-old Awonder attempted to activate his pieces with the 14…c5 break, but Elshan responded accurately with 15.dxc4 Nc5 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.a5!? and soon emerged with powerful passed pawns on the queenside. | 1-0, 61 moves
Mordiabadi bounced back from a tough loss yesterday with a victory today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
After balanced battles, the rest of the games ended in draws.
2022 U.S. Women’s Championship
After trading into a double rook and bishop position, both players fought for the advantage, each claiming a stake in the center and doubling their rooks on the only open files. Tokhirjonova activated her king ambitiously, but Lee set up a near mating net in response, forcing Tokhirjonova to give up a bishop to avoid checkmate.
With 35.Bf8! Lee threatens R1c5# and Gulrukhbegim soon has to give up material to avoid checkmate. The game continued 35…Ke5 36.Rxc5+ R3d5 37.Rxd5 Rxd5 38.Rc7 with the dual threats of Rxf7 and Re7+, forcing the black king to d6 where it would be vulnerable to a discovered attack. | 1-0, 58 moves
Twelve-year-old Alice Lee is one of the U.S. Women’s tournament leaders on 2-0 | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
WIM Megan Lee scored a 28-move upset victory vs. former U.S. Women’s Champion, IM N. Paikidze.
With 18…Nxe5 Lee wins a critical center pawn due to the upcoming pin on the e-file. The game continued: 19.Bxe5 Bf6 20.f4 d6 21.0-0 dxe5 22.Rfe1 e4 when Black was a protected passed pawn ahead. | 0-1, 28 moves
Megan Lee also leads the event with 2-0 | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
WGM Jennifer Yu vs. FM Ruiyang Yan 1-0
After Yan sacrificed a pawn for activity, Yu pushed her opponent’s pieces back while maintaining her material edge. Eventually, Yu won a second pawn and converted in the ending.
With 21.Nxd5!?, Yu bravely captures the extra pawn despite landing her knight in a pin. The game continued: 21…Bxd5 22.Rxd5 g6 23.Qd1 Rxd5 24.Qxd5 Rd8 25.Qb5 Rd2 26.Rf1 when Yu had to carefully defend the weak points of her position and gradually take advantage of her material. | 1-0, 46 moves
Yu joins the leaders with a perfect score so far. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes
FM Rochelle Wu vs. FM Ashritha Eswaran 1-0
FM Rochelle Wu recovered from yesterday’s loss with a victory against FM Ashritha Eswaran today while the other games ended in hard-fought draws.
Round 3 of the 2022 U.S. & U.S. Women’s Chess Championships will take place tomorrow, October 7. Watch the action live at 1:20pm CT with commentators GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, and GM Cristian Chirila on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.