Christopher Yoo Leads U.S. Championship Online Qualifier
IM Christopher Yoo. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Christopher Yoo Leads U.S. Championship Online Qualifier

| 40 | Chess Event Coverage

The first round of the U.S. Championship Online Qualifier kicked off on Friday with GMs Dariusz Swiercz, Andrew Tang, Elshan Moradiabadi, Aleksandr Lenderman, Timur Gareyev, Daniel NaroditskyRobert Hess, and IM Christopher Yoo playing their first games of the round-robin event. The time controls were 90|30 for each player, marking this event as one of the few high-level classical chess tournaments during the pandemic.

Round one ended with Yoo prevailing over Tang and the rest of the players drawing their games. Time trouble became a factor in Tang's game as well as the game Hess played against Lenderman, while the remaining games were all drawn before move 22.

How to watch?
Every round will be streamed live at starting at 2 p.m. Pacific time, December 11-18. The games can also be found here as part of our live games platform.

The live broadcast of the first round.

Yoo vs. Tang (1-0)

13-year-old Yoo battled it out with bullet chess prodigy Tang in a gripping head-to-head game.

Tang’s early pawn sacrifice was readily accepted by Yoo, who had more time than he started with through the first 10 moves. Although at first Black’s winning chances seemed low, Tang’s piece mobility started to create some difficulties for Yoo. 

The game got even more exciting as Tang sacrificed a second pawn despite being dangerously low on time. However, his promising position was offset by increasing time pressure; in fact, he dropped below 10 seconds on multiple occasions. In the end, Yoo’s solid play in tough positions secured him the first win of the event.

Lenderman vs. Hess (0.5-0.5)

The grandmasters produced an instructive positional game, with Hess maintaining his composure while low on time to navigate his way out of a complicated position and secure a draw.

Hess played creative chess throughout the game, starting with his unusual response 1...b6 to Lenderman’s English Opening. He continued playing unconventional chess and traded both of his bishops off for Lenderman’s knights to avoid transposing into mainline theory. 

After skillful knight maneuvers, Black managed to secure a good position in the middlegame. As his time dwindled away though, this advantage also faded. The game concluded with the players agreeing to a draw.

Naroditsky vs. Swiercz (0.5-0.5)

Naroditsky opted for an Alapin Sicilian, with 2.c3, and went for trades early on, including a queen trade. On move 20, they reached a highly simplified position and agreed to a draw, with both players having an hour left on their clocks.

Gareyev vs. Moradiabadi (0.5-0.5)

Gareyev opened with the rare 1.c3, eventually reaching a middlegame with high amounts of piece tension that could potentially be dangerous for both sides. However, after a series of trades, these threats were neutralized and the players agreed to a draw.


# Fed Name Username Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Christopher Yoo @ChristopherYoo 2803 3649 1 1.0/1
2 Elshan Moradiabadi @Elshan1985 2810 2452 ½ 0.5/1 0.25
3 Aleksandr Lenderman @AlexanderL 2793 2664 ½ 0.5/1 0.25
4 Robert Hess @GMHess 2664 2793 ½ 0.5/1 0.25
5 Dariusz Swiercz @daro94 2659 2626 ½ 0.5/1 0.25
6 Daniel Naroditsky @DanielNaroditsky 2626 2659 ½ 0.5/1 0.25
7 Timur Gareyev @TimurGareyev 2452 2810 ½ 0.5/1 0.25
8 Andrew Tang @penguingm1 2849 2003 0 0.0/1

Another four games will be played in round two of the U.S. Championship Online Qualifier, Hess vs. Naroditsky being one of them. This round will kick off on Saturday at 2 p.m. Pacific and will be accessible at

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