Previewing The 2022 U.S. Championship
Will Hans Niemann be able to take the title? Or will the pressure and drama affect his play?

Previewing The 2022 U.S. Championship

| 43

The Unites States Chess Championship is an annual chess tournament that features 14 of the best chess players across the 50 states. In this 13 round robin, the players will be competing for $250,000 and the 2022 U.S Champion title. This year's competition will see many new faces, most notably, World #10, Levon Aronian, the controversial Hans Niemann, and the uprising star Christopher Yoo. In this blog, I'll be covering my predictions and the reasons behind my picks. 

#14. Elshan Moradiabadi (2537) US Open, Day 7: Reaching for the Top Spot | US Chess.orgThe Iranian-American chess player qualified by winning the 2022 U.S Open. Although I think that he's a very strong player, looking at his results from the 2020 U.S Championship, he only managed to get 3/11. I think Elshan is a very good player, but as one of the lowest rated players, I simply don't see him at the same level compared to guys like Caruana and So. Most of the tournament that Elshan plays in, aren't against world-class players. Despite his 8/9 performance at the 2022 U.S Open, I think he will only get 4/13 this year.

13. Awonder Liang (2608)Grandmaster Awonder Liang to Give Simul at US Open | US Chess.orgThe 19-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin was the third youngest American player to achieve the grandmaster title. Despite his impressive resume of two World Youth chess champion titles. After his sub-par performance in the 2022 U.S Junior Championship, I don't think he will score too well against the top players in the world. He's only played four major tournaments in the US in 2022. In those tournaments, there was one with a fellow competitor, Jeffrey Xiong. With his 2020 US Championship performance, where he lost to So, Xiong, Robson, and Shankland, it showed that he is not the most consistent. 

12. Jeffrey Xiong (2690)Jeffery Xiong Leading Isle of Man International with 2900+  Performance | US Chess.orgDespite he stellar second place performance in the 2020 U.S Chess Championship, after his 11th place finish in the 2021 U.S Chess Championship, I don't think Jeffrey has shown the consistency that will make me put him in the top 5. Although his performance in the 2020 U.S Chess Championship was above guys like Caruana, that tournament was online and the quicker time control favored Xiong more. In classical time control, Xiong has yet to prove that he can compete with the elite.

11. Darius Swiercz (2652)millionairechess - Twitter Search / TwitterAfter his 9th place performance in last year's championship, I don't have high hopes for Darius Swiercz. The competition has been increased with new stars, Darius has been near the bottom quarter for his two previous performances. Although he still has many great achievements, in his two chances to prove that he can compete with the top level, he has shown that he still falls up short to the top 10.

10. Ray Robson (2690)U.S. Olympiad Team Gold Medalist Ray Robson | US Chess.orgThis may come as a huge surprise, but yes, I am putting Ray Robson at 10th in my predictions. Even though he performance last year in 6th place was impressive, I have my doubts. In 2019, Ray Robson did extremely poorly finishing last. Yes, even though he also finished 3rd in the 2020 U.S Chess Championship, similar to Jeffrey, that was a rapid time control which favors Robson as he is one of the top blitz players on

9. Christopher Yoo (2563)Christopher Yoo in Clear Lead of US Championship Online Qualifier Final |  US Chess.orgDespite it being Christopher's first rodeo, I think that the young star has shown that he can play against the top players in the recent Meltwater Chess Tour. Christopher finished above Aronian in the Julius Baer tournament, and has the experience and the motivation to possibly have a good tournament. I think many of the top players will underestimate the youngster, and being one of the lowest rated player, he has nothing to lose.

8. Aleksandr Lenderman (2535)Lenderman Perfect at Manhattan Open | US Chess.orgLikely my most controversial pick, I have the lowest seed, Alex Lenderman, finishing 8th. As one of the most experienced players, Lenderman is one of the most consistent players. In last year's championship, he finished 5th, with 6/11, just half a point shy of making the tiebreaks. The in 2018, he tied for fourth, tied with both Nakamura and Robson. In my opinion, Lenderman is the underdog of this competition. 

7. Samuel Shankland (2712)Shankland: “My goal is to be World Champion” | chess24.comThe 2018 U.S Champion is one of the most interesting and solid players in this tournament. Shankland has competed with the top level. He managed to draw Magnus Carlsen in this year's Tata Steel Tournament. He has experience with the top level, and knows what it takes to win. Unfortunately, due to his last year's 7th place finish, I once again predict for him to get 7th this year.  

6. Leinier Dominguez (2745)Cuban Grandmaster Leinier Dominguez now plays for the US | ChessBaseLast year, he finished in fourth place, then in 2019, he came in second. Although this time around, I have Leinier getting sixth place. With the addition of Hans Niemann and Aronian, I will have to bump the Cuban down. I think Dominguez is a very strong player, and he has proved it many times, I just think that he is a little bit too solid, and only won one game last year, drawing the rest. Now with new hungry young stars, I will have to hand Leinier the #6 spot.

5. Samuel Sevian (2684)

US Chess Championships R6: Leaders Draw, Sevian Beats Caruana - Chess.comAfter Sevian's third place performance in the 2021 U.S Championship, I am sure he can do the same and edge himself into the top 5. With the entire Hans Niemann situation, and once again, the addition of Aronian, I think he will have similar results to last year. It's not that I think he will play worse than last year, it's just that Hans and Aronian will have to be put above him. 

4.  Levon Aronian (2759)Ajedrez: El gran maestro armenio Levón Aronián anuncia que representará a  EEUU | MarcaIn his first ever appearance, I have the former World #2 finishing 4th.  The problem is that Aronian is getting old, and that I think we are moving towards a new era led by guys like Firouzja and Gukesh. He really hasn't had an amazing tournament in a few years. Although it is clear he is one of the best chess players in the world, I think that he is slowly becoming worse as the new generation takes over the chess world.  Although I will be rooting for him, I have given him the fourth place spot.

3. Hans Niemann (2688)Magnus Carlsen Finally Says Something About Hans Niemann Cheating Scandal,  Sadly Doesn't Mention 'Anal Beads' | Know Your MemeAssuming that Hans Niemann is not using external help in his over-the-board games. He has shown that he can compete with the top level, even with all the drama surrounding him. I am not going to make accusations, as you can form your own opinion on that. I simply don't see him getting first. Obviously we will be paying close attention to him, if he is legit, I have him finishing third as he seeks revenge on the chess world as he tries to clear his name. 

2. Fabiano Caruana (2758)

Fabiano Caruana Net Worth [2022 Update]: Endorsements - Players BioBefore the 2022 Candidates Tournament, if you asked him who would win the U.S Chess Championship. There is a very high chance I would've said Fabiano Caruana. Although after his extremely disappointing performances at the Candidates Tournament and the Olympiad, I simply couldn't see him winning. If Fabiano can find his zone, I am sure that he has extremely good chances of winning, but with how he's recently been playing, I have him finishing second.  

1.  Wesley So (2771)Wesley So Interview: 'Chess Was A Way Out' - Chess.comI am predicting a three-peat trophy for the Filipino-American grandmaster. Wesley has consistently shown that he can play at the top level, and being the expert he is at rapid and blitz, if he makes the tiebreaks I would still have him as my winner. Wesley is extremely consistent, being able to draw against the top players, and beat lower-rated players. As long as Wesley is solid, and continues to play at the level he played last year, I am sure that Wesley So will be the 2022 U.S Champion. 


All things considered, with all my reasoning, I think I've put together a controversial yet reasonable prediction. In the comments below, share your predictions or maybe critique my own. Do you agree with me? Or do you completely disagree? Or maybe you could share who you WANT to win! Me personally, I will be rooting for Levon Aronian, and I'm sure that he is the fan favorite. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time.

Just a 13-year-old blogger from San Diego who wants to share my knowledge and opinions on the hot topics in chess. I started playing chess at 7 and I have a peak USCF rating of 2007. Other than chess I enjoy soccer, basketball, geoguessr, cubing, and video editing. 

My Most Viewed Blogs:

The Rise of Alireza Firouzja (10K Views)

Is Hans Niemann Cheating? (7K Views)

The Genius & Craze of Bobby Fischer (5K Views)

The Dark Side of Online Chess (4K Views)

If you enjoy my blogs then you're probably enjoy: