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Niemann, Caruana, Sevian and Yoo share lead; US Chess Championship Day 3 recap

GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Christopher Yoo join the tie for first in the U.S. Championship with critical victories. In the U.S. Women’s Championship, FM Alice Lee and WIM Megan Lee reached 2.5 to narrow down the leaderboard. 

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 3
U.S. Women’s Championship – Standings after Round 3

2022 U.S. Championship

GM Fabiano Caruana vs. GM Dariusz Swiercz, 1-0

In a tense fight in the d3 Ruy Lopez, GM Fabiano Caruana won a pawn in the ending and carefully maneuvered through his opponent’s active resistance. Caruana scored his first victory in the event and now ties for first place with Hans Niemann, Samuel Sevian and 15-year-old Christopher Yoo.

Although Caruana is up a pawn, Dariusz has set up a challenging active defense with his rook on b2. Caruana played the tricky 51.Rf2 Rc8 52.Rg4+ Kh6 53.e6, keeping up the pressure by pushing Black’s king to the edge and advancing his passer. The game continued 53…Rf8 54.Rf4 Rxf4? (Better was 54…Re8) 55.gxf4 Kg7 56.f5 when Caruana’s connected passed pawns soon decided. | 1-0, 60 moves
Caruana scored his first win of the event. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

GM Christopher Yoo vs. GM Elshan Moradiadadi, 1-0

After a wild tactical back-and-forth, GM Christopher Yoo gained an extra passed pawn as the smoke cleared, which he soon converted into his second consecutive victory. The 15-year-old revealed in the post-game interview that he was distracted by commentaries on his round 2 interview and that his mom got worried about it.

In this chaotic position, Yoo found tactical clarity with 27.Bxb4 Bx8 28.Rxa1 Qd7 29.Bxf8 Rxf8 30.Rc1 a6 31.b6, and his extra passed pawn gives him a winning edge. In his post-game interview, Yoo shared his thoughts, “Officially I’m a rook and a piece down, but somehow it’s still a good position because all his pieces are hanging.” | 1-0, 39 moves
Yoo has now won two games in a row to reach the tie for 1st | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

GM Awonder Liang  vs. GM Alexsandr Lenderman, 1-0

GM Awonder Liang scored his first win in a dynamic battle against GM Alexsandr Lenderman, eventually gaining the upper hand in the endgame. 

With 22.e6!? Liang opens up the game, beginning a sequence that simplifies into a better endgame after 22…Nc5 23.exf7+ Qxf7 24.Qa2 | 1-0, 40 moves
Wild card Liang resiliently comes back from his loss yesterday with a victory | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

After over five hours of struggle, the rest of the games finished in draws. 

2022 U.S. Women’s Championship

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan vs. WGM Jennifer Yu, 1-0

WGM Tatev Abrahamyan scored her first victory, defeating one of the tournament leaders, WGM Jennifer Yu, with an insightful tactical sequence in a double-edged game. 

After her opponent’s ambitious kingside thrust 21…f5, Abrahamyan played the tactical sequence 22.Bxa7 Rxa7 23.Nc5 Oc6 24.Rxe5 winning a pawn. Yu countered with 24…Nf6 25.Qe2 Qxc5 but after 26.Re1 g5 27.Nxf5 White had a commanding and winning position | 1-0, 38 moves
With this victory, Abrahamyan [place on the standings] has an undefeated two points out of three games. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

WGM Begim Tokhirjonova vs. FM Rochelle Wu 1-0

This game was an incredible fight between both players. Out of the opening, WGM Begim Tokhirjonova launched an attack with an early f5 in the Grand Prix, opening up the center to hunt down her opponent’s uncastled king. Tokhirjonova gained a winning attacking position, but Wu fought back. The game soon exploded into chaos with both sides aiming most of their pieces at each other’s kings. Though Tokhirjonova had to give up her queen, she discovered a combination to trade into a slightly better ending and won the game all over again. 

After 37.Bc7+ Kxa7 38.Bxd6 Ne2+ (an important in-between move to save the knight) 39.Kf2 Kxa6 40.c4 Kxa5 41.Bxc5, the chaos has calmed into a slightly better endgame for Tokhirjonova. Though she had to win the game all over again, she was up for the challenge, claiming victory after 74 moves.  | 1-0, 74 moves
Tokhirjonova showed great resilience this round both within the game and recovering from an upset loss yesterday. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

FM Ruiyang Yan vs. WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuhi 1-0

FM Ruiyang Yan is another player who scored her first victory today, gaining the better minor piece and winning a pawn against WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuhi.

Yan played 21.Bc5!? gaining control of the c5-outpost for her knight, soon winning a pawn, and converting in the endgame. | 1-0, 64 moves
Yan joins the tie for 6th with 1.5 points | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

The remaining games ended peacefully. 

Round 4 of the 2022 U.S. & U.S. Women’s Chess Championships will take place tomorrow, October 8. Watch the action live at 1:20pm CT with commentators GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Anastasiya Karlovich, and GM Cristian Chirila here.

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