Lenderman Wins U.S. Championship Online Qualifier
Aleksandr Lenderman takes white in armageddon. Photo (archive): Maria Emalianova/

Lenderman Wins U.S. Championship Online Qualifier

| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

The tiebreaker of the U.S. Championship Online Qualifier concluded with GM Aleksandr Lenderman beating IM Christopher Yoo. With this, Lenderman earned a seat at the 2021 U.S. Chess Championship, along with $2,500.

Yoo, who turned 14 on the day of this game, also took home $2,500, not to mention the immense respect he gained from everyone who saw him play.

How to watch?
The games of the tournament can be found here as part of our live games platform.

The live broadcast of the tiebreaker.

Final Standings

# Fed Name Username Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Aleksander Lenderman @AlexanderL 2793 2796 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 4.5/7 14.75
2 Christopher Yoo @ChristopherYoo 2803 2796 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 4.5/7 14.75
3 Elshan Moradiabadi @Elshan1985 2810 2743 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 4.0/7 13.25
4 Dariusz Swiercz @daro94 2659 2763 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 4.0/7 12.25
5 Timur Gareyev @TimurGareyev 2452 2743 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 3.5/7 11
6 Daniel Naroditsky @DanielNaroditsky 2626 2718 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 3.5/7 10.5
7 Andrew Tang @penguingm1 2849 2585 0 0 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/7
8 Robert Hess @GMHess 2664 2488 ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1.5/7

* ratings


In the case of a tie, regulations for this event dictate that one game of armageddon must be played to determine a winner. To elaborate, the player with the white pieces must win the game, and Black is declared the winner if any other result occurs. Keeping in mind there are no increments and that the player with white will play with 10 minutes, the players then bid on the time they would want with the black pieces; the lowest bidder is given the black pieces and plays with the time they bid.

Yoo was given the black pieces in this game since he bid 7 minutes and 30 seconds against Lenderman's bid of 7 minutes and 43 seconds.

Tiebreaker format for the U.S. Championship Online Qualifier

Lenderman vs Yoo (1-0)

Lenderman again went for a Trompowsky Attack in this must-win situation from which he achieved a strong center. Yoo found a great time to break with 10...d5, though, after which Lenderman did not seem to have a clear avenue for progress. 

Yoo had a light-squared bishop that was looking quite menacing, and both players were doing fine on the clock. Soon, however, Lenderman found the opportunity to push for an advantage with 14.d5!, taking advantage of Yoo's queen being temporarily blocked by a knight; this is where Yoo played a sub-optimal move with his knight. After some trades, Yoo ended up with an ugly pawn structure where he had four pawn islands.

Christopher Yoo plays on his 14th birthday. Photo (archive): Maria Emalianova/

Lenderman was targeting these weaknesses with his pieces when Yoo made a move that was likely a mouse slip. Although the position was already looking quite grim for Yoo, maybe even lost, the young IM lost any chance he still had on move 25 by placing his rook on f8 instead of e8, probably accidentally. Since Lenderman's knight was covering the f8 square, Yoo ended up going down an exchange.

The players still had ample time on their clocks when this happened, and Lenderman was able to convert this advantage with ease.

The U.S. Championship Online Qualifier was an eight-player round robin played Dec. 11-18 on, with a rest day on Dec. 15. The time control was 90 minutes for the whole game with a 30-second increment from move one. The total prize fund was $10,000. 

Earlier reports:

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