The third round of the 2022 American Championship featured three decisive matches. All were won by White, and White was the highest rated player in all three games.

Legend

courtesy SLCC/Austin Fuller

GM Christopher Yoo beat GM Elshan Moradiabadi in an interesting Catalan Open where Yoo used a novelty on move 14. After some inaccuracies, Moradiabadi had his chances but got lost in a complex tactical position.

Despite being the youngest player on the pitch, Yoo continues to earn respect with his second straight win.

The game between GM Awonder Liang and GM Aleksandr Lenderman was an interesting Slav defense, although Liang admitted in the post-game interview that he wasn’t very familiar with the line!

Despite being in new territory, Liang handled midgame tactics well and earned his first victory.

GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Dariusz Swiercz contested a Berlin Ruy Lopez with the calm 4.d3.

Legend

courtesy SLCC/Austin Fuller

The match was back and forth and Swiercz had good position, but ran out of time and strayed to give former champion Caruana his first victory. On the show, Caruana criticized his own play and noted that he should have practiced more in one of the critical positions.

The other four games were drawn, but they all had their share of excitement. GM Sam Sevian and GM Levon Aronian played a Queen’s Gambit Declined with Bf4. Sevian had an advantageous endgame with an extra pawn and seemed to be heading for their second victory, but as usual Aronian defended very well and managed to share the point. On the Saint Louis Chess Club show, GM Cristian Chirila noted that chess engines liked White’s position, but it wasn’t that easy to convert, and that turned out to be true.

GM Wesley So defended a Queen’s Gambit Accepted against GM Jeffery Xiong. Playing as white, Xiong won a pawn in the middle of the game at the cost of allowing opposite-colored bishops, and the game quickly ended in a draw. GM Sam Shankland used a new idea in the Nimzo-Indian against GM Hans Niemann, but after the white novelty, Niemann was able to neutralize the threats and hold the draw in an interesting final. The game between GM Lenier Dominguez Perez and GM Ray Robson was a Berlin Ruy Lopez with the mainline at 4.0-0 Nxe4. Dominguez Perez, always well-prepared, had a fresh idea in the opener, but Robson defended well and the opposite-colored Bishop’s endgame ended in a draw.


The third round of the Women’s Championship also featured three tie-breaking matches, and just like the Open Championship, all were won by White, and the three winners were rated higher than their opponents.

FM Ruiyang Yan defeated WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki in a Sicilian Najdorf, English Attack. Yan gained positional advantage from a good knight against a bad bishop and brought home the full point.

WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova against FM Rochelle Wu was a Sicilian defense, Grand Prix attack.

Legend

courtesy SLCC/Austin Fuller

Both teams got lost in complex midgame tactics, but Tokhirjonova showed good technique to win an opposite-colored bishop endgame with an extra pawn.

Legend

courtesy SLCC/Austin Fuller

In our featured game, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan played the white side of a Giuoco Pianissimo. Abrahamyan won a central pawn and then crashed with a decisive kingside attack.

The other four games have been drawn. WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor tried a swap variation of the Queen’s Gambit for IM Anna Zatonskih. Foisor developed some pressure with a minority attack on the queens side, but Zatonskih defended well to share the point. WIM Megan Lee and GM Irina Krush played a Sicilian defense where Krush sacrificed a rally and got a superior endgame, but Lee defended well in a pawn endgame to hold the draw.

In the match between FM Ashritha Eswaran and IM Nazi Paikidze, Eswaran had the pair of Bishops but couldn’t generate anything against Paikidze’s well-centralized pieces and a draw was agreed. The match between FM Thalia Cervantes Landeiro and FM Alice Lee featured the “Slow Slav” variation of the Slav defense. An opposite-colored bishop midgame ended in a repeat draw.


Legend

courtesy SLCC/Spectrum Studios

After three rounds at the Open, there is a four-way tie for the lead between Caruana, Niemann, Sevian and GM’s Yoo all at 2/3. Five players are half a point with a point and a half, and four players are at 1/3. With a single point separating the entire field, everyone is still in it and anything can happen.

On the show, GM Yasser Seirawan noted that the wide age distribution of players on the pitch has led to some very interesting matches so far – let’s hope that trend continues. Round 4 has some exciting pairings, including So playing White against Shankland, and Niemann playing White against Caruana in a big test for the teenager.

Fourth Round Pairings, Open Championship

Aronian–Robson
Swiercz – Dominguez Perez
Niemann-Caruana
So – Shankland
Moradiabadi–Xiong
Lender – Yoo
Sevian–Liang

Legend

courtesy SLCC/Spectrum Studios

There is a two-way tie for the lead in the Women’s Championship with the Lees – FM Alice and WIM Megan – at 2½/3. Three players are half a point behind and the next group of four players (including GM Krush) are tied. The co-leader pairs are A. Lee vs. Yan and Zatonskih vs. Mr. Lee, so we’ll see if we have a single leader after four rounds of play.

Fourth round pairings, Women’s Championship

Yu–Morris-Suzuki
A.Lee-Yan
Wu – Cervantes Landeiro
Paikidze – Tokhirzhonova
Krush–Eswaran
Zatonskih – Mr. Lee
Abrahamian–Foisor


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