Wesley So Perfect On U.S. Championship Day 1
Wesley So, interviewed after finishing 3-0 on day one. Image: Saint Louis Chess Club.

Wesley So Perfect On U.S. Championship Day 1

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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29 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Wesley So leads the U.S. Championship as the only player to win his first three games. The tournament is a 12-player round-robin played online at a rapid time control.

The field of this year's championship has all of the American stars except for GM Fabiano Caruana, who was supposed to be in the last week of his preparation for the Candidates. As it has a faster time control and is played online, GM Hikaru Nakamura should be the favorite. He had a slow start: three draws on the first day.

The tournament leader was the first to admit that he had been fortunate in the first three rounds. "The quality of the games was not very high actually," said So, who was gifted half a point by GM Aleksandr Lenderman in the first round.

Aleksandr Lenderman chess
Aleksandr Lenderman. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

So outplayed GM Alejandro Ramirez in an endgame in round two, but his next game could have gone either way. "The last game was very topsy-turvy, as can be expected from this 3.f3 Caro-Kann," said So, who revealed that his preparation had consisted of playing 3+0 and 1+0 games!

Wesley So
Wesley So. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Together with GM Ray Robson, GM Jeffery Xiong is tied for second place with 2.5 points. The world number-two junior player didn't need much extra practice as he's been active lately. He also played in the U.S. Junior Championship (where he lost to GM John Burke in an armageddon playoff) and in last Sunday's Speed Chess Invitational.

Xiong's round-three game with GM Dariusz Swiercz, a Polish grandmaster who has been playing for the U.S. since 2018, was interesting. The commentators stated that they had never seen a game before where, for several moves, there's a white pawn on g7 and a black pawn on g2 in a middlegame.

As it turned out, the databases have just one (!) other game with this situation, and it was played in the same opening variation. Truly something special.

Jeffery Xiong
Jeffery Xiong. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

U.S. Championship | Round 3 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts SB
1 So, Wesley 2741 3339 1 1 1 3.0/3
2 Xiong, Jeffery 2730 2831 ½ 1 1 2.5/3 1.5
3 Robson, Ray 2605 2807 1 ½ 1 2.5/3 1.5
4 Sevian, Samuel 2571 2875 ½ ½ 1 2.0/3
5 Nakamura, Hikaru 2829 2667 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 2
6 Moradiabadi, Elshan 2566 2681 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 1.5
7 Shankland, Sam 2609 2514 ½ 0 ½ 1.0/3 2
8 Swiercz, Dariusz 2649 2502 0 ½ ½ 1.0/3 1.75
9 Ramirez, Alejandro 2579 2543 0 ½ ½ 1.0/3 1.75
10 Dominguez, Leinier 2786 2535 0 ½ ½ 1.0/3 1.5
11 Lenderman, Aleksandr 2642 2596 0 ½ ½ 1.0/3 1.25
12 Liang, Awonder 2397 1892 0 0 0 0.0/3

Games rounds 1-3

The 2020 U.S. Championship is played October 26-29 on lichess. It is a 12-player single round-robin with a time control of 25 minutes plus a five-second increment. The total prize fund is $150,000.


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