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Fabiano Caruana extends lead; US Chess Championship 2022 – Round 6 recap

GM Fabiano Caruana increased his lead to a full point ahead of the field with a victory against GM Elshan Moradiabadi. GM Dariusz Swiercz achieved the biggest upset, defeating GM Levon Aronian. In the U.S. Women’s Championship, GM Irina Krush won a third game in a row to join WGM Jennifer Yu at the top of the scoreboard. Shockingly, out of the eight decisive games between both sections, Black won seven times. 

Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The time control for the event is 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game; with a 30-second increment starting from move 1.

U.S. Championship – Standings after Round 6
U.S. Women’s Championship – Standings after Round 6

2022 U.S. Championship

GM Levon Aronian vs. GM Dariusz Swiercz 0-1

Swiercz achieved one of the best victories of his career with tactical play against Aronian’s uncastled king. 

Swiercz played the stunning 26…Nf4+!, taking advantage of Aronian’s king in the center and gaining material after 27.Rxf4 Qd3+ 28.Kf3 Qd5+ 29.Re4 f5. | 0-1, 73 moves
Swiercz scores his first victory in the event against one of the tournament favorites. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

GM Hans Niemann vs. GM Ray Robson 0-1

As both sides attempted to attack each other’s kings, GM Ray Robson discovered a tactical shot vs. GM Hans Niemann. Joining the US Chess Championship live studio for the post-game interview, Robson explained it was a very complicated game and that he was a little bit worried.

Robson unleashed his knight and sneaky queen aiming from the corner with 26…Nc3! The game continued: 27.f6 Bxf6 28.Nxf6+ gxf6 29.Nf3 and after 29…Nxd1 30.exf6 Kh8 Black’s king has escaped danger, and he is up a decisive amount of material. | 0-1, 35 moves
After getting through his early rounds unscathed against Caruana, Aronian, and Dominguez, Robson gains his first win. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

GM Elshan Moradiabadi vs. GM Fabiano Caruana 0-1

Caruana broke through on the queenside to support his kingside pressure vs. Moradiabadi. Fabiano explained in the post-game interview that he randomly chose the line he played as Moradiabadi never played it before. He added that people recognize him on the street and ask about beads. See the complete interview here

Caruana broke through White’s defenses with 31…b5!? Moradiabadi replied with 32.Bxf6 gxf6 33.Nxd5 and Caruana gained pressure on both sides of the board with 33…Rxc2. | 0-1, 44 moves
The 2016 U.S. Champion increases his lead as we near the halfway point. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The rest of the games concluded in draws. 

2022 U.S. Women’s Championship

GM Irina Krush vs. WGM Thalia Cervantes 1-0

Krush created a powerful pawn center out of the opening and utilized the extra space to build up attacking play against Cervantes’ king. 

After gaining a commanding center, Krush built up pressure on the kingside and broke through with 30.Rxf7!? Cervantes replied with 30…Qxf7 31.Rxf7 Kxf7 and Krush’s pieces began to surround the black king with 32.Qf2+ Kg8 33.Qg3 Nf4 34.Bf1 Bxh3 35.Qxg5 Rf8 36.Bc4, soon leading to a checkmating attack. | 1-0, 41 moves
The eight-time U.S. Women’s Champion is tied for the lead with Yu. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan vs. FM Ashritha Eswaran 0-1

FM Ashritha Eswaran’s thorough opening preparation gave her a significant advantage on the board and clock in a highly double-edged battle vs. WGM Tatev Abrahamyan. 

Twenty-one moves into the game and an hour ahead on the clock, Eswaran is still within her prep with the bold 21…gxh5!? temporarily opening up her king in order to play …Kh8 and …Rg8 and use the g-file for her own attack. | 0-1, 43 moves

IM Paikidze vs. FM Ruiyang Yan 0-1

FM Ruiyang Yan employed a hedgehog setup vs. IM Paikidze’s maroczy bind. When the center opened up, Yan’s active pieces were able to create dangerous tactical and attacking threats. 

Yan opened up the center with 31…e5!?, making the loose position of the white king felt as black pieces swarm closer. The game continued 32.fxe5 N6xe5 33.Kg2 Bxe4+ 34.Qxe4 Ng6 35.Rd7 Qxb6 36.Qd4 Qxd4 37.Rxd4 Rb2+ 38.Kg1 Nxh2 when Yan was two pawns ahead with attacking chances. | 0-1, 54 moves
Yan is tied for sixth with WGM Begim Tokhirjonova. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

FM Rochelle Wu vs. WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki 0-1

WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki drew FM Rochelle Wu’s king out into the open with a deflection tactic. 

Morris-Suzuki found the shot 17…Nd4, aiming to deflect the f3-knight from the defense of h2. Wu was forced to bring her king out into the open after 18.Kg2 Nxf3 19.Kxf3. | 0-1, 60 moves

The players seemed to come back from the rest day ready for a fight. Five out of seven games finished decisively while the remaining two ended in draws. 

Round 7 of the 2022 U.S. & U.S. Women’s Chess Championships will take place on Wednesday, October 12. Watch the action live at 1:20pm CT with commentators GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, and GM Cristian Chirila.

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