April 16, 2024

2023 U.S. Championships: Fabiano Caruana and Carissa Yip win titles

Top seed GM Fabiano Caruana clinched victory in the 2023 U.S. Championship after his win over GM Abhimanyu Mishra in Round 10, securing his second straight national title with a round to spare. The champion scored an impressive 8/11 and consolidated his top position in the FIDE Circuit leaderboard. 

IM Carissa Yip became the 2023 U.S. Women’s Champion after a dramatic final round, which saw both her and key rival WGM Begim Tokhirjonova losing their games, allowing Yip to keep first place and clinch her second national title.

2023 U.S. Championship

Although Caruana had already secured tournament victory in the penultimate round, the rest of the podium was very much up for grabs, with So, Dominguez, and Mishra all in contention. So made a quick draw with Caruana to reach 6.5/11, while Dominguez had to hold a worse knight endgame against Niemann to reach 6.5 as well. Catching up was Mishra, who played an excellent positional game to score against Aronian, joining the tie for second place.

Mishra-Aronian: 45.Rb1 forced resignation, due to the threats of Nxf5, Rb8+, and Rbb7

The U.S. Junior Champion ended with five wins, three losses, and three draws in his first U.S. Championship. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Also winning in the final round was Sevian, who found a dynamic sacrifice against Tang in the early middlegame, leaving his opponent’s knight trapped on the queenside for most of the game:

Sevian-Tang: 13.axb4! left White completely winning after 13…Nxa1 14.Nc6+-

Shared second for So, who was one of a few players without a loss in the event. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Women’s Championship

Going into the final round, Yip was leading by half a point, with Tokhirjonova needing to win to have a chance at forcing a playoff tiebreak. At first, things looked great for Begim, as Yip fell under serious pressure by FM Ruiyang Yan, while Begim had a huge advantage in the middlegame against 2022 champion WGM Jennifer Yu. But then things turned around as it looked like Yip had escaped and was even pressing in a double-rook endgame, while Tokhirjonova-Yu simply became a complete mess. All of a sudden, Yip ended up blundering and losing in the rook endgame, which meant Begim would just need a draw to force a playoff, while a win would clinch the title for her outright.

Yip-Yan: 56.c7! would have kept a draw in hand for White. Instead Yip played 56.b5? with no good response after 56…Rf1-+

But in mutual time-trouble, Tokhirjonova misplayed a difficult position and would go on to lose, as Yu managed to decide the game thanks to her passed c-pawn. This meant Yip would keep her half-point lead and clinch a tournament victory.

Tokhirjonova-Yu: 56.Rxc2! was the only saving move, sacrificing a piece but drawing the game due to the strong passed a-pawn.

This is the second U.S. Championship title for Yip, who first won in 2021. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

A painful end for Begim, who also finished second in 2021. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Earning 3rd place was young IM-elect Alice Lee, who after an up-and-down event, finished with a nice win over FM Ashritha Eswaran. But the game of the day went to WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, who conducted a stellar attack against GM Irina Krush to finish in clear fourth.

After starting the event with 0.5/3, Alice scored 8/9 to end in clear third. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Abrahamyan-Krush: 25.Rxh7! capped off a powerful attack, with White soon mating after 25…Kxh7 26.Bf5+-

Three straight wins to close the event for Tatev. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Written by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

Photo Credits: Photos and appropriate credits available on Flickr