Lenderman on 3.5/4 at U.S. Championship

Lenderman on 3.5/4 at U.S. Championship

| 14 | Chess Event Coverage

Aleksandr Lenderman tops the leaderboard after four rounds at the U.S. Championship in St Louis. The 2005 World Youth Champion under 16 is on 3.5/4 and half a point ahead of Timur Gareev. Top seed Gata Kamsky is in shared third place together with Alexander Onischuk. In the women's section there was a rest day on Sunday - there Anna Zatonskih and Irina Krush are tied for first place. 

This report was co-written by Brian Jerauld 

Round 3

Aleksandr Lenderman's  won an excellent game in round 3 and by doing so he grabbed sole lead, as co-leader Ray Robson didn't get much with the 5.Re1 line of the Berlin against Gata Kamsky. Lenderman's victory over Alejandro Ramirez was partly based on preparation, as he explained afterward:

“Part of it was prep, but then I didn’t remember all of it, and I was figuring it out at the board,” Lenderman said. “Kf8 I knew. With h5, I was debating if I should play b5 first or stuff like that. I knew h5 was the idea for sure after Ng3, but I couldn’t remember if I played it at the right time; it looks like I did.”

Whereas the computer evaluates the position on move 22 as -2.76, Ramirez managed to hang out for quite a while.  

Lenderman - trying to remember his preparation? | Photo courtesy of U.S. Chess Champs

In the only other decisive game of the round, Timur Gareev defeated Daniel Naroditsky. The reigning U.S. Junior Champion played the King's Indian and might have been surprised by his opponent's choice of the Averbakh, because his set-up was far from conventional.

Black took little care of the center and allowed his opponent to push both the f- and e-pawn to the fifth rank, which is usually a bad sign. Naroditsky's position remained cramped in the endgame, and white's active rook decided matters.

“Positionally, my situation was looking really good,” Gareev said. “His bishop was stuck, I had more space, my structure was better, my pawns were placed on better colors, my pieces were more active … I was just trying to reduce the uncertainty at that point, and for awhile Daniel was trying to push forward and complicate things. Eventually he just ran out of resources, and we got to the endgame, which was a big advantage for me.”

Naroditsky, (not) facing the Averbakh variation | Photo courtesy of U.S. Chess Champs

13-year-old Ashritha Eswaran scored her second win in just three rounds, against Camilla Baginskaite. The opening didn't go very well for the teenager, but 29.g4 was a good, practical try to which her opponent didn't respond well. White even won a pawn, and in a lost position on move 62 Baginskaite first accidentally touched her queen when she was in check, but then resigned as the pawn ending wins for White.

Ashritha Eswaran | Photo courtesy of U.S. Chess Champs

Irina Krush drew her game with Iryna Zenyuk which gave Meanwhile Anna Zatonskih joined the chance to catch her in first place. She defeated Sabina Foisor from a Nimzo-Indian.

“My position was very easy - I don’t mean like easy to win, but easy to find moves to play,” Zatonskih said. “It was concrete lines and with a 30 second increment in such a position, it should be enough. I think white needs time in such a position to prove she had compensation for the pawn. For black, it was pretty particular what black was supposed to do.”

Anna Zatonskih in round 3 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Chess Champs

Round 4

On Sunday, Mother's Day, the ladies had a day off but the battles continued in the men's section. And it seems to be heating up in St Louis, because no less than four games were decided this time. For a short while Kamsky and Onischuk joined Lenderman in first place, but then he won as well, and kept his lead.

Kamsky defeated Sergey Erenburg with another variation of his often non-theoretical repertoire: 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5. “I decided on it probably a half an hour before the game.” he said. “I looked at some lines and realized there’s nothing much going on - but its middlegame position, you can exchange a lot of pieces, so there’s a lot of play.”

The reigning U.S. Champion got a slight edge out of the opening, with a nice pawn center in a middlegame with opposite castling. From move 17 it really went downhill for Black and Kamsky made it look easy.

Gata Kamsky| Photo courtesy of U.S. Chess Champs

Onischuk easily defeated Shankland in Slav, clearly holding more knowledge of the Slav main line than his opponent. But Erenburg continued winning as well - the 24-year-old scored a full point against Ray Robson in a Fianchetto Grünfeld. 

Black seemed to be doing OK in the opening and his Exchange sac on e3 was typical, but the follow-up might have been wrong. “I could have taken on e4, but it’s not really what I wanted,” Robson said. “It just looked like white could be better there, though maybe that was the best option. Taking on d5, maybe it was bad, but it did introduce some complications. I thought Alex played pretty well, and I probably didn’t have any chances after that.”

And indeed, it was mostly because of Lenderman's sharp tactical vision that he won this game. Great stuff.

Aleksandr Lenderman | Photo courtesy of U.S. Chess Champs

In the end it was Timur Gareev who claimed second place in the standings thanks to a win against Mackenzie Molner. In this game time pressure finally cracked Molner at 65.Kf2 and even worse with 68.Kg3. Gareev’s 68...Nxc3 delivered the killshot, though Molner’s clock expired shortly afterward.

U.S. Championship 2014 | Round 4 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 Lenderman,Aleksandr 2582 2934 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 1 3.5/4
2 Gareev,Timur 2653 2780 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 1 3.0/4
3 Kamsky,Gata 2713 2716 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 4.25
4 Onischuk,Alexander 2668 2696 phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1 ½ 2.5/4 3.75
5 Akobian,Varuzhan 2643 2560 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 3.50
6 Robson,Ray 2631 2640 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1 2.0/4 3.00
7 Molner,Mackenzie 2522 2528 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/4 3.00
8 Ramirez,Alejandro 2595 2530 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ ½ 1.5/4 2.75
9 Naroditsky,Daniel 2543 2511 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/4 2.50
10 Friedel,Joshua E 2505 2484 0 ½ ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.5/4 2.50
11 Shankland,Samuel L 2634 2544 0 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/4 2.25
12 Erenburg,Sergey 2633 2471 0 ½ 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 1.0/4

U.S. Women's Championship 2014 | Round 3 Standings

# Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Zatonskih,Anna 2469 2563 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 ½ 2.5/3 4.75
2 Krush,Irina 2489 2450 phpfCo1l0.png 1 ½ 1 2.5/3 3.25
3 Abrahamyan,Tatev 2366 2421 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2.0/3 1.50
4 Foisor,Sabina-Francesca 2238 2416 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2.0/3 1.50
5 Eswaran,Ashritha 1979 2441 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1 2.0/3 1.00
6 Zenyuk,Iryna 2249 2413 ½ ½ phpfCo1l0.png ½ 1.5/3
7 Melekhina,Alisa 2151 2150 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png 1 1.0/3
8 Nemcova,Katerina 2282 2089 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/3 0.75
9 Baginskaite,Camilla 2267 1862 0 0 phpfCo1l0.png ½ 0.5/3 0.25
10 Ni,Viktorija 2206 1853 0 0 ½ phpfCo1l0.png 0.5/3 0.25

You can find a complete listing of the standings and pairings here.

Thanks to Mike Wilmering of the St Louis Chess Club. Tune into live play-by-play of round 3 on Monday at 1 p.m. CT, 2 p.m. ET, 20:00 CET with GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade at

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