The top seed GM Fabiano Caruana beat GM John M.Burke in the third round of the 2021 U.S. Chess Championship and joined the tournament leaders. GM Sam Sevian, who outplayed GM Jeffery Xiong, also joined the top group with 2/3.
In the U.S. Women’s Championship, two games were decisive but WGM Katerina Nemcova remained the sole leader with 2.5/3, while second place is now shared by four participants, namely WIM Ashritha Eswaran, GM Irina Krush, IM Carissa Yip, and FM/WGM Thalia Landeiro Cervantes.
Let’s take a closer look at the games and action of the round!
Burke had a lot of success with his favorite Ruy Lopez variation in the past, including his win in the first round of this tournament. However, as Caruana said in the interview below “The variation is not only objectively good and sound but also very risky.”
Burke decided to somewhat change the move order, but of course, the world’s number-two player was ready for the new idea. He went on to exploit severe weaknesses in Black’s position flawlessly, which makes it a game we should absolutely take a look at.
Besides winning this great attacking game, Caruana pleased the viewers by describing his thoughts and showing a bit of his extremely deep opening preparation. You can see by taking a look at the interview below:
In a game between America’s two top young talents, Xiong prepared a rare idea, which got his opponent out of book early and caused him to burn a lot of clock time. However, White acted too ambitiously and eventually lost control, which enabled Sevian to outplay his opponent in a rather symmetrical and drawish-looking Catalan endgame and score a full point. This is another great game to learn from.
As for other results, GM Dariucz Swiercz, who started with two tough losses, scored his first win by beating GM Daniel Naroditsky by showing some rather impressive endgame technique. Fans of chess history might find it interesting that the endgame of this encounter was extremely similar to the famous game Kramnik-Svidler from 2004, as was pointed out by a GM Denes Boros.
The remaining games were drawn: GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista went for a famous drawn line against GM Leinier Dominguez, GM Alexander Lenderman chose an extremely solid way of handling the game with White against GM Wesley So, and finally, GM Ray Robson was pressing against GM Sam Shankland during the entire game, but Black defended carefully and didn’t give the opponent a decisive chance.
U.S. Championship All Games Round 3
Round 3 Standings
Both wins were rather special: for Cervantes, it’s her first-ever U.S. Championship played in person. She participated in the online event last year, but according to her own words, “Wasn’t doing nearly as well as in this tournament.” At the same time, Abrahamyan lost the two first games, which makes winning in round three very important: everyone knows, how a bad start can demoralize a player.
The remaining four games ended in a draw: Krush drew WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, Eswaran held the leader Nemcova, Yip defended a difficult position versus WIM Megan Lee, and finally, IM Nazi Paikidze split the point with WGM Anna Sharevich in a very murky game where both players had a winning position at some point.
U.S. Women’s Championship All Games Round 3
Round 3 Standings
The 2021 U.S. Chess Championships take place October 5-19, 2021 in St. Louis to determine the next chess champions of the United States. The 2021 U.S. Women’s Championship is being held concurrently. Both events have the same format: 12-players, 11-round tournament with a $194,000 prize fund for the U.S. Championship and $100,000 for the Women’s U.S. Championship.
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