Caruana Crowned U.S. Champion, Yu Resurrected In Women's
Caruana has picked up his second U.S. Championship title. Photo: Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Caruana Crowned U.S. Champion, Yu Resurrected In Women's

| 60 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Fabiano Caruana was crowned the winner of the 2022 U.S. Chess Championships on Wednesday after scoring an unbeaten 8.5/13 in St. Louis. GM Ray Robson did all that he could to equal Caruana's score but couldn't break through against GM Jeffery Xiong. He did still finish the tournament as a newly-minted 2700-player.

The women's event produced joint winners in GM Irina Krush and FM Jennifer Yu on 9/13, the latter of whom bounced back from the jaws of defeat to level Krush and force a tiebreak for the title on Thursday.

The 2022 U.S. Women's Chess Championship tiebreak will take place on October 20 at 11 a.m. PT/20:00 Central European.

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Caruana coasted to victory on Wednesday after securing a draw against GM Levon Aronian in the final round. The Berlin Defense led to a trade fest and although it featured two brilliant moves, it was all theory (first seen in the 2013 Carlsen-Anand world championship, and dozens of times after that). It clear that both players were happy to see the game end in peace. 

The two-time champion was fully aware of the tough road to the title in the closing rounds of this year's edition, admitting that his final three opponents, Xiong, GM Sam Shankland, and Aronian, were "as tough as you can get" in a celebratory video on his new podcast with GM Cristian Chirila, C-Squared.

Caruana's main rival, Robson, came agonizingly close to tieing the scores after building a pleasant position on the white side of the Queen's Gambit Accepted. Maintaining the advantage required finesse and subtlely that Robson didn't quite grasp, and he soon found himself on the back foot with the championship slipping out of reach.

Fortunately, Robson was able to drum up enough counterplay to secure a draw and, despite not winning the event, will be celebrating his new rating milestone.

Robson moved up to 36th in the world. Image:

GMs Awonder Liang and Leinier Dominguez rounded out the podium after putting in impressive performances. Liang in particular showed the qualities of a future 2700 player, and his 7.5/13 score saw him gain 22 rating points! 

Liang drew with Niemann in round 13 capping off a remarkable event. Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Dominguez's final game against Shankland caused a bit of a stir as it ended in repetition after just 10 moves. The classic Najdorf draw reared its head and had Shankland electing to address the game in an interview where he stated: "I owe an apology to the world," citing a preparation surprise as his reason for repeating moves.

After 13 grueling rounds, Caruana will net U.S. $60,000 for his efforts while Robson will receive $45,000 for second place. Liang and Dominguez earned $30,000 apiece and the other participants will share the remaining $97,000 USD.

Final Standings

Energetic chess was a constant in the women's championship this year, and five decisive results in the final round were a testament to the fighting chess in the event. Krush conceded one of the two draws. The result guaranteed her first place, though she missed a huge chance to win the event outright deep into the endgame against IM Anna Zatonskih.

The draw set up for an exciting finish between Yu and FM Thalia Cervantes who duked it out in the hopes of joining Krush on 9/13. Yu pulled out all the stops with a Kramnik-inspired Queen's Indian Defense and snapped Cervantes' five-game winning streak. The win secured a title showdown with Krush on Thursday. Our game of the day is analyzed by GM Dejan Bojkov.

A crucial game for the women's tournament. The winner could have either become instantly U.S. women's champion or could have hoped for a chance to play for the first place. And the silver medal is guaranteed in case of the full point. It seemed that after the traumatic defeat from yesterday, Yu was in an inferior situation, not only because of the color but from a psychological standpoint. Cervantes, on the other hand, was on a roll, having won five consecutive games!

GM Maurice Ashley, who joined GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Caruana, and Chirila, as well as WGM Tatev Abrahamyan for an afterparty, heralded that Thursday's tiebreak would be "a war" between the experienced Krush and a merciless Yu.

They were back to back on Wednesday, but tomorrow Krush and Yu will face each other once more for the coveted title. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

After finishing equal first, Krush and Yu will each take home U.S. $35,000 while Cervantes will receive $20,000. The remainder of the $160,500 prize fund will be shared among the remaining participants.

Final Women's Standings

The 2022 U.S. Chess Championships take place October 4-20, 2022 in St. Louis to determine the next chess champions of the United States. The 2022 U.S. Women's Championship is being held concurrently. Both events have the same format: 14 players, 13-round tournament with a $250,500 prize fund for the U.S. Championship, and $154,000 for the U.S. Women’s Championship.

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