Liang ‘ecstatic’ after defeating Aronian with 19th Century Gambit

The fifth round of the 2022 US Chess Championships saw a new contender, GM Awonder Liang, rise to challenge GM Fabiano Caruana after a blowout victory over one of the pre-tournament favorites, GM Levon Aronian using Scotch Gambit.

In the women’s event, four decisive matches produced undisputed leaders at the top. FM Jennifer Yu leads with a commanding 4/5, while GM Irina Krush trails by half a point in pursuit of her ninth United States Championship title.

After a rest day on Monday, the sixth round of the event will begin on October 11 at 11:00 a.m. PT/8:00 p.m. Central Europe.

Liang was undoubtedly the hero of the fifth day after knocking Aronian off the board. Using a rare line from the Scotch Gambit, Liang was by his own admission “ecstatic” that the bet had paid off and was visibly buoyant in his post-match interview.

“I don’t play for the ranking or the money,” Liang said. “I just gamble for fun, and a bet seems like the perfect way to do that.”

A deserving pick for our Game of the Day, GM Rafael Leitao has broken down the action below.

GM birthday boy Wesley So had the daunting task of facing tournament leader Caruana and opted to play Berlin defense. Perhaps hoping for a quick draw so he could celebrate his birthday away from the board, So didn’t get his wish and was forced to play an endgame that lasted until the 75th move!

GM Hans Niemann was particularly energetic in an interview with the Saint Louis Chess Club broadcast team on Sunday after a draw against GM Leinier Dominguez. Niemann took the time to analyze the Berlin finals with GM Cristian Chirila, saying “I think it’s something you can study all your life and not always understand.”

Niemann later recounted a humorous moment when he went to place an order at a local restaurant he frequented only to be told by the staff that “the order speaks for itself”.

GM Sam Shankland appeared to be heading for a regulation draw against GM Elshan Moradiabadi, but he found a brilliant trick in the late game to liquidate in a king and pawn winning endgame. The extraordinary 41.Rxe5!! only took Shankland four minutes to calculate and the result was a study-end.

The rest of the matches ended in a draw with some missed chances from GMs Christopher Yoo and Jeffery Xiong in their respective matches. GMs Ray Robson and Dariusz Swiercz played out a 116-move draw where, impressively, position remained nearly even for the entire game.

Five draws in five rounds! Robson is not someone you want to play who needs a final round win. Photo: Lennart Ootes/St. Louis Chess Club.

Heading into the rest day, Caruana leads the field with 3.5/5, followed by Liang and general manager Sam Sevian, who trail by half a point.

American Championship | All Round 5 Games

Round 5 Open Ranking

Two leaders emerged above the pack in the Women’s Championship with Wu leading with 4/5 and Krush trailing behind with 3.5/5. The two former winners won their matches on Sunday and can use the rest day to prepare to play with the white pieces in the sixth round.

Yu just can’t stop winning! Can she beat FM Alice Lee in the sixth round? Photo: Bryan Adams/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Yu continued her frantic run across the court, beating WGM Sabina-Francesca Foisor with clean late game play. Yu has proven extremely versatile so far and is well on her way to replicating her imperious 10/11 in the 2019 championship (although with 13 rounds this year the exact score won’t be possible).

Krush won her second match on the fly, this time against WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova with her trusty Sicilian defense. After both players castled queenside, Krush managed to open the cross and quickly crashed into Tokhirjonova’s king.

Yesterday Krush waited for his opponent to compromise his own position, today Krush went for the throat. Photo: Lennart Ootes/St. Louis Chess Club.

The most stunning moment of the round came when FM Alice Lee missed out on a win over WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki which would have led to several fascinating lines. The misfire cost Lee a spot alongside Krush in the standings heading into round six.

FMs Ashritha Eswaran and Rochelle Wu also scored fifth-round wins that put both players mid-table heading into the rest day.

US Women’s Championship | All Round 5 Games

Women’s classification of the 5th day

The 2022 USA Chess Championships will be held October 4-20, 2022 in St. Louis to determine the next USA Chess Champions. The 2022 U.S. Women’s Championship takes place simultaneously. Both events have the same format: 14 player, 13 round tournament with a prize pool of $250,500 for the US Championship and $154,000 for the US Women’s Championship.

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