US Chess Championships R4: Robson Sole Leader
GM Ray Robson is now in clear first with 3/4 after Saturday's victory against GM Jeffery Xiong. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

US Chess Championships R4: Robson Sole Leader

| 22 | Chess Event Coverage

In round four of the 2021 U.S. Chess Championship, GM Ray Robson became the tournament's sole leader with 3/4 by beating GM Jeffery Xiong. Second place is shared by GMs Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So, who split a point, as well as by GMs Leinier Dominguez and Aleksandr Lenderman, who both scored their first win to get to 2.5/4.

In the U.S. Women's Championship, IM Carissa Yip won her game against GM Irina Krush to share first place with WGM Katerina Nemcova, who drew with IM Nazi Paikidze, with 3/4. WIM Ashritha Eswaran and FM/WGM Thalia Landeiro Cervantes are following the leaders closely with 2.5/4.

How to watch?
The games of the U.S. Chess Championship can be found here: Open | Women.
2021 US Chess Championships

The fourth round treated us to a lot of decisive games. 

In a very impressive style, Robson beat Xiong, who is having a very difficult tournament so far with 0.5/4. After Black chose a rather provocative sideline against the Rossolimo, Robson developed a powerful initiative and finished the game in just 28 moves. We should absolutely learn from it. Interestingly, in the interview, Robson admitted that while he had looked at the line once back in the day, he was absolutely surprised with his opponent's choice and had to make decisions over the board. 

Dominguez outplayed GM Sam Shankland with Black. The latter chose a rather sneaky move order in the London system, got a large advantage, but then misplayed it and could not hold a somewhat inferior endgame.

Leinier Dominguez was close to winning in the previous games. In round four, he finally scored his first win vs. Sam Shankland with the black pieces. Photo: Bryan Adams/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Additionally, Lenderman, who had a few amazing positions in the previous games but failed to convert, scored his first win against GM Daniel Naroditsky, whom he outplayed with the black pieces in a Colle-type setup. A very clean and instructive game!

So and Caruana drew a rather eventful game, where at one point So, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, was entirely winning. However, he did not take advantage of a momentary opportunity and the advantage slipped away. 

Wesley So celebrated his 28th birthday on Saturday. At one point, he was winning against Fabiano Caruana but only managed to get half a point. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

GM Sam Sevian was somewhat pressing against GM Dariusz Swiercz, but the latter defended well and never was in too much danger. Finally, GMs John M. Burke and Lazaro Bruzon Batista had a rather quiet draw in a game where White had a tiny advantage, but Black eventually neutralized it.

 U.S. Championship All Games Round 4

Round 4 Standings

Round four standings

In the U.S. Women's Chess Championship, a lot of excitement happened in round four.

Paikidze, who drew her first three games, had a very good start, as she put the leader, Nemcova, under a lot of positional pressure in a rather rare variation of the Semi-Slav. However, Black managed to free herself out of the bind and get a significantly better rook endgame. White's position looked dangerous, but Paikidze defended well and saved half a point.

In a game between two top seeds, Yip, who had the white pieces vs. Krush, developed a comfortable pressure in the Caro-Kann and was better for a long time. On move 21, in a position that professional players often refer to as "two results are possible: either White wins, or Black draws," Krush made an unforced error of placing her knight on an unprotected square and resigned in no time. This win allowed Yip to join Nemcova with 3/4. Let's see how this happened!

WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor, who had a tough start with 0.5/3, scored her first win against WGM Tatev Abrahamyan by developing a very powerful kingside attack.

Sabina Foisor overcame the first three rounds, where she scored 0.5/3, and got her first win in round four with an elegant attack. Photo: Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Eswaran and Cervantes, who are now sharing third place, played a rather balanced game, where White was pressing at first but then had to defend a pawn down, which Eswaran successfully managed to do.

Finally, IM Anna Zatonskih and WIM Megan Lee drew a game that never got too unbalanced, while WGM Anna Sharevich saved a lost position vs. WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova.

On Sunday, October 10, the players have a rest day. However, be sure to check out the stream and news on Monday for a lot more exciting games and analysis.

U.S. Women's Championship All Games Round 4

Round 4 Standings

Women's standings round four

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 U.S. Women’s Championship.

Earlier reports:

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