Viewing the 2021 US Chess Championships

There will be a playoff for the title of 2021 US Chess Champion between three players, two of them world class. Fabiano Caruana

https://d1w7fb2mkkr3kw.cloudfront.net/assets/images/book/lrg/9781/8499/9781849947213.jpg

is currently ranked third in the world after losing two games, back to back, in the recently completed 2012 US Chess Championship. Wesley So

https://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/wesley-so-battles-3-way-playoff-for-us-chess-championship-title/

is ranked eighth in the world. Then there is Sam Sevian…There is a saying in Poker that is applicable here: “If you don’t see a sucker at the table, you’re it.” Sam was ranked 91st on the top list compiled by FIDE before the tournament, and he did gain points for his good performance. Being one of the top 100 Chess players in the world is a tremendous achievement for any player, but Caruana drew a match with the World Chess Champion in which he was not defeated in the only games that count, those played with a classical time limit. The quick play playoff to determine the “champion” is a joke and terrible insult to the players who just spent almost two weeks vying for the title because Chess is inherently unfair since there is an odd number of rounds and some players sit behind the White army in more games than other players, which gives them a HUGE advantage. Caruana and Sevian each had the White pieces in six games while Wesley So had the White pieces in only FIVE games. Therefore, Wesley So should be crowned as the 2021 US Chess Champion. Congratulations to the Champ, Wesley So!

The tournament was Sam Sevian’s for the taking. In the penultimate round he was a pawn up and could have played 27 Kc2 in lieu of repeating the position but for whatever reason Sam decided to play poltroon Chess. You can bet your sweet bippy Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer Against the World - Trinity News
Bobby Fischer Against the World – Trinity News
trinitynews.ie

would have played 27 Kc2. Then in the last round this “game”, and I use the word loosely, was “played.”

Daniel Naroditsky

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fytimg.googleusercontent.com%2Fvi%2Fyyc5W4mmbCo%2Fmqdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

vs Samuel Sevian

  1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Qb3 Na5 11. Qa4+ Nc6 12. Qb3 Na5 13. Qa4+ Nc6 1/2-1/2

It made me wanna PUKE!

If ever there were a time to play for a win it was this game because victory could possibly bring the coveted title of United States Chess Champion and probably entry into the US Chess Hall of Fame. His opponent had just lost a game the previous round and his testosterone level had to be low. Naroditsky had already lost FOUR GAMES! Do you think Bobby Fischer would have played the above game in the LAST ROUND of a US Chess Championship? In the post game interviews Naroditsky was obviously happy with the short draw, saying something about how he “…should have drawn the day before.” When it came time for Sam to explain his decision to acquiesce to the repetition he explained by saying, “Before the tournament my plan was to play solidly with Black…” Translated that says he was “…playing to draw with black and win with white.” The young man should not even be called a “Co-Champion.” No matter what happens for the remainder of his Chess career Sam Sevian will continue to wonder what might have been if only he had

The question will haunt him until he takes his last breath.

The sixth round game between Ashritha Eswaran

https://images.chesscomfiles.com/uploads/v1/master_player/d748ac0e-a754-11eb-ad96-f7f263be5d37.10f3821e.250x250o.143a80709f95@2x.jpeg
Ashritha Eswaran | Top Chess Players – Chess.com

and Megan Lee

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FVtLHoUrrMt0%2Fhqdefault.jpg&f=1&nofb=1
2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Megan Lee Interview | Round …
youtube.com

reached this position after the moves: 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O e5 5. d3 Ne7 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 c6 8. Re1 Qd6 9. c3 f5

White to move

Eswaran played 10 d4 and Maurice obviously very much liked the move, calling it “…an outstanding move!” I was following the action at FollowChess (https://live.followchess.com/) because only the moves are displayed and I had my doubts. Still, Maurice has some kind of computer Chess program, so I thought it must be OK…Nevertheless, inquiring minds want to know, so I surfed on over to ChessBomb (https://www.chessbomb.com/) where a Red move was showing…Chess24 says White goes from being “much better” to “equal.” Maybe the “engine”, as they are so fond of calling the computer program, had a glitch, or was turned off…

I took note of the following because it was so hilarious, coming as it did from a player not known for playing 1 e4 during his illustrious career: Yaz: “Nobody likes to play against the Najdorf because the variations are so lengthy…” Round 8 2:45 into the game. You know that put a smile on the face of Mr. Najdorf, French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave!

Shenzhen, tras 8 rondas: mandan Maxime Vachier-Lagrave y ...

The thing is that I stopped playing the Najdorf over four decades ago after hearing a Grandmaster talk about those players “Who study the Najdorf but not Chess.” Still, I learned much about the Royal game by playing the Najdorf. One never forgets his first love…

During the final game of the event, between Bruzon Batista

and Alex Lenderman

https://chessterra.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/hCN2e74HPfA-800x500.jpg
https://chessterra.com/2021/10/14/2201-u-s-chess-championships-alex-lenderman-interview-round-8/

which lasted for 127 moves, Maurice said, “If only we could be paid by the move.” Cracked me up…I will admit to have been “pulling” for Lenderman, and evidently not the only one. If only he had found 38 Qa1, challenging the Black Queen, in lieu of 38 Rc8 against Caruana in round 10…

phamlore: What could Lenderman do? He needed a win today, and he never had a position where a win for Black was that doable?
ArcticStones: Lenderman has had an impressive tournament, imho.
jphamlore: Lenderman tried at least. It’s just his opponent played a decent game himself.
Terugloper: @Arctic –> Could be, but Imho your commentaries during this tournament are way more impressive
ArcticStones: You jest. Commenters such as jphamlore know far more about chess than I do!
Terugloper: Lol!!!
ArcticStones: I’m serious.
KJBellevue: The evaluation here is totally wrong
Terugloper: Why?
KJBellevue: Tablebase clearly indicates a draw
Terugloper: I see
Terugloper: So 74. … Kh2 was an acceptable move?
KJBellevue: Yes, still drawn
Terugloper: Okay
Terugloper: Long Live Lenderman, folks!
Terugloper: I would play 78. Kc6 to have square d6 available for possible Q-trades
KJBellevue: But Black can still check on the white squares
Terugloper: Yes
Terugloper: Lenderman know his stuff
Terugloper: *knows
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony
Terugloper: Black Queen Symphony on white squares
jphamlore: Lenderman the king of instructional endgames this event.
Terugloper: Yeah – Endgame King Lenderman
Terugloper: But still I give all of you the following strict advice –> Don’t try this at home
Terugloper: Lenderman feeling so comfortable now that he attacks on the black squares now
KJBellevue: He knows this ending well
jphamlore: Unfortunately, even if White touched the wrong piece, I’m not sure Lenderman has any way to win this.
Terugloper: Lenderman – The living table base on two legs
I_LUV_U: a table base is three or four legs
Terugloper: Why not five legs?
Terugloper: You met one in the subway?
mrlondon: What the record for most number of checks in a game?
Terugloper: Good question – I will ask Tim Krabbé
Terugloper: https://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/chess/check.html
Terugloper: In the 200-move game Wegner – Johnsen, Gausdal 1991 a total of 141 checks were given, of which 98 by White alone.
Terugloper: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/wegner—johnsen-gausdal-1991
mrlondon: Interesting. Thanks!
mrlondon: It’s not going to happen here.
Terugloper: Yep
Terugloper: Just 10 moves to go now for 50-rule move draw claim
Terugloper: 5 moves
Terugloper: Minus 2 moves
KJBellevue: 🙂
Terugloper: Bellevue! My main man!!!
Rhinegold: eval also indicates draw, noob, lol
https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-chess-championship/11-Bruzon_Batista_Lazaro-Lenderman_Aleksandr

The coverage was excellent even though Jennifer Shahade

PokerStars Ambassadors Jennifer Shahade & Keith Becker ...

was missing. She does bring a terrific smile and is the perfect foil to the understated Yasser Seirawan as she has occasionally given him perfect opportunities for a SNL moment that Yaz used so effectively with the previous female to accompany him:

One of my favorite features was the “Parkside Chats” between Yaz and Maurice. Although they are all good, the one that follows is my favorite because I worked at a Chess Club:

The next one is great in a historical sense as the guys discuss what it was like ‘back in the day’ when Bobby Fischer put the Royal game on the front page of every newspaper and every broadcast of the nightly new on television. After watching these videos I realized how much laughter has been missing in the pandemic era. Sometimes one really does need to laugh to keep from crying…

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Chess Presentation | Parkside Chat

I urge you to take a few more minutes to watch this video which is an interview with one of the top players of the game of Scrabble in the world, who lives near the St Louis Chess Campus. You can thank me for bringing it to your attention by leaving a comment:

2021 U.S. Chess Championships: Chris Lipe Interview | Round 9

Pusillanimous Play at the 2021 US Women’s Chess Championship

We begin with the following position:

Draw by repetition

The last move played was 34 Kh3-g2. White has the better position. I know this, you know this, and every Chess player who has made it to class ‘B’ knows this, and possibly every player who has made it to class ‘C’ and no longer plays the Queen’s Raid knows this fact. If you are teaching the Royal game to a neophyte it could be explained by beginning with the fact that white has more space. In addition, each and every white piece is better placed than each black counterpart. Then there is the fact that the white Queen and Rook are working together whereas the black Queen and Rook are separated while being tied down to the defense of the weak a-pawn. Even the white King is better placed than its counterpart. Even after suffering a brain cramp the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.voltron.voanews.com%2FDrupal%2F01live-166%2Fstyles%2Fsourced%2Fs3%2F2019-04%2F77278705-011C-4158-A988-6CBB59D439F9.jpg%3Fitok%3DRxCq66Xj&f=1&nofb=1
Norway’s Magnus Carlsen Retains World Chess Title | Voice …
voanews.com

would win this position 99 44/100 percent of the time against the other nine elite players in the top ten. The decision to repeat the position three times, thereby forcing the game to end in a draw was one of the most pusillanimous ever made considering it came in the third round of the 2021 US Women’s Chess Championship, played Friday, October 8, 2021.

Lee, Megan (USA) – Yip, Carissa (USA)

U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 2021 round 03

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 Nf6 7. d4 e6 8. Qe2 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Be3 Be7 12. Ne1 f5 13. f3 Ng5 14. Nd3 O-O 15. Nd2 Nf7 16. Rfc1 b6 17. a3 a5 18. Rc3 Rfc8 19. Rac1 Nfd8 20. g4 fxg4 21. fxg4 Nf7 22. Nf3 Bd8 23. Kg2 Na7 24. h4 Rxc3 25. Rxc3 Nc6 26. Nf4 Ne7 27. Nd3 a4 28. Qc2 Qb5 29. Nf4 Qd7 30. Nd3 Rb8 31. Kh3 Qe8 32. Nf4 Qd7 33. Nd3 Ra8 34. Kg2 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-us-womens-chess-championship/03-Lee_Megan-Yip_Carissa

The Stockfish program at ChessBomb shows white with an advantage of 1.41. This can be found at Chess24:

1.53 White is much better Stockfish 14 | Cloud | Depth: 22 |
https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/us-womens-championship-2021/3/1/3

At FollowChess we find the ratings of the players and the available time left to each player so you can see the lack of time was not a factor:

Lee, Megan 2211 00:16:55 v Yip, Carissa 00:26:07 2402

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. O-O Nc6 6. c3 Nf6 7. d4 e6 8. Qe2 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Be3 Be7 12. Ne1 f5 13. f3 Ng5 14. Nd3 O-O 15. Nd2 Nf7 16. Rfc1 b6 17. a3 a5 18. Rc3 Rfc8 19. Rac1 Nfd8 20. g4 fxg4 21. fxg4 Nf7 22. Nf3 Bd8 23. Kg2 Na7 24. h4 Rxc3 25. Rxc3 Nc6 26. Nf4 Ne7 27. Nd3 a4 28. Qc2 Qb5 29. Nf4 Qd7 30. Nd3 Rb8 31. Kh3 Qe8 32. Nf4 Qd7 33. Nd3 Ra8 34. Kg2 1/2-1/2
    https://live.followchess.com/#!us-championship-w-2021/999510158

Carissa Yip

https://www.uschesschamps.com/sites/default/files/styles/player_bio_photo/public/headshots/2021%20carissa_yip.jpg?itok=lKivAw48

is higher rated by almost 200 points, and is one of the favorites to win the tournament. Knowing little about Megan Lee I went to the website of the US Championships to find this:

https://www.uschesschamps.com/sites/default/files/styles/player_bio_photo/public/headshots/megan_lee.jpg?itok=8B4wWqWD

“Megan Lee is a chess Woman International Master. She completed her BFA in Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design with a minor in Art History. Most recently, she won the 2020 Washington State Championships and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. Other highlights include winning the 2013 North American Youth U18 Girls Championship and the 2009 Kasparov All-Girls Nationals Championship. Outside of chess, Megan runs two small businesses, an embroidery shop and a lifestyle brand, Snippet Studios. She also enjoys playing board games, skating, clam digging, and making things.” (https://uschesschamps.com/bio/megan-lee)

I can only speculate as to why Megan Lee let her clam get away… What I can say is that this game vividly illustrates why the three time repetition rule MUST BE ABOLISHED! It is terribly sad that any Chess player must be forced to attempt winning a game when having a huge advantage, but something, anything, must be done to at least mitigate the slow death by draw that is plaguing the Royal Game. There is no three time repetition rule in the game of Wei Chi, or Go, as it is called in the West, which is the main, or at least one of the major reasons Go is a better game than is Chess. Go is played to WIN. A draw in Go is anathema, as it should be in Chess. Any Chess player repeating the position for the third time should LOSE THE GAME! Period. What makes this even worse is that during the game Anna Sharevich

versus Irina Krush

played the previous day in the second round, after Irina lost her mind in a completely won position and blundered horribly when playing 66…Bf7, the two players battled until each had only a Rook and pawn left on the board. Then they shook hands, agreeing to a draw, but because of the rules in force during the tournament the women were forced to sit there and play many moves until finally finding a position in which a three fold repetition could be played, thus ending the game which should have ended long earlier. This is ridiculous to the point of absurdity. To be taken seriously in the world of games and ideas Chess needs to get its act together.