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Fabiano Caruana – Leinier Dominguez is the final in the Champions Bracket of the American Cup

GM Leinier Dominguez, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Irina Krush, and FM Alice Lee all advanced to the finals of the Champions Bracket today, after defeating their respective opponents in the semifinals, relegating them to the Elimination Bracket. While the finalists get a rest day tomorrow, the second round of the Elimination Bracket will feature the matches Aronian – So, Sevian – Robson, Tsolakidou – Tokhirjonova, and Nemcova – Abrahamyan as the players fight to avoid double-elimination. American Chess Cup 2022 preview / Participants / American Cup 2022 live / Many decisive games at the start of the American Cup (day 1) / Five matches decided in playoffs (day 2) / Four players knocked out (day 3) / Caruana – Dominguez is the final in the Champions Bracket (day 4) /  Official website

Open Field – Champions Bracket

Women’s Field – Champions Bracket

Open Field – Elimination Bracket

Women’s Field – Elimination Bracket

CHAMPIONS BRACKET

Day 4 Results – Champions Bracket

DOMINGUEZ – ARONIAN

Needing to win to force a playoff, Aronian chose the surprising Caro-Kann defense rather than his usual 1.e4 e5, to which Dominguez reacted with the principled Advance Variation. A sharp struggle ensued but Dominguez was able to remain in control, despite some time trouble. Aronian tried to complicate matters by sacrificing a pawn, but Dominguez found all the right moves to liquidate a drawn ending, clinching the match.

So far GM Leinier Dominguez has been one of the most consistent players in the event, having not lost a single game. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

CARUANA – SEVIAN

The second classical game in this match saw simplifications out of the opening, as Sevian could not remember his preparation in a sharp line of the English and opted for a safe alternative instead. Soon the players found themselves in an opposite colored bishop endgame with no winning chances for either side.

In the playoff Caruana won the first game as Black, outplaying Sevian in a surprisingly sharp London System, winning a pawn before eventually converting his advantage in mutual time trouble. The second game saw Sevian opt for a Modern Defense, reaching a very double-edged position out of the opening. A wild battle followed where both players missed several chances and even traded opportunities to deliver forced mate, but in the end it was Caruana who managed to get the upper hand and win the playoff 2-0. 

One of the key moments in the second playoff game, where Sevian played 54…Qd4+, after which 55.Bc4 allowed Caruana to survive Black’s attack. Instead, 54…Qb1+! would win, as after 55.Kc4 Qc1+! 56.Kb4 Qb2+ 57.Kc4 Black has 57…Qd4 checkmate. | 1-0, 66 moves

GM Fabiano Caruana survived another incredibly tense playoff match. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

KRUSH – TOKHIRJONOVA

After yesterday’s draw neither player was in a must-win situation, but Krush was able to obtain a much more pleasant position on the Black side of an English Opening. Further strategic play allowed Krush to build up an overwhelming positional advantage, along with a healthy extra pawn. Despite Tokhirjonova’s efforts to change the character of the game, Krush managed to keep control over the position and converted without serious difficulties.

GM Irina Krush is the only player in either field to advance to the Champions Bracket finals without needing a playoff. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

ABRAHAMYAN – LEE

Another excellent game by Lee ended up in a 2-0 match victory for the 12-year-old phenom. A sharp line of the Sveshnikov saw Abrahamyan end up with strong pressure on the kingside, but a flawed decision gave Black serious counterplay against White’s own king in the center. A further mistake by Abrahamyan in time trouble gave Lee the chance to turn things around with a powerful counter, which she seized and quickly decided the game.

30…Rxe2+! was the winning shot, with a decisive advantage after 31.Qxe2 Re8 or 31.Kxe2 Bf3+ | 0-1, 34 moves

A sensational result for FM Alice Lee, who will face Krush in the next stage of the tournament. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Day 5 of the 2022 American Cup will take place Sunday, April 23 starting at 12:50 PM CT. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Cristian Chirila, and Alejandro Ramirez on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.

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