Congratulations to the 2021 US Chess Champion...
By - MrScribblesChess
"I'd like to thank Sam for saving that difficult game"
Yay! Go So!
This tournament was So Yip.
If only Fabi had moved quicker in that last game against Wesley. So disappointed in his time management, but love his play.
Looking forward to him competing against Aronian in 2022!
Rapid is just not Fabi's game. The guy went 12 rounds with Magnus with an even score in the last championship, but rapid lost him that one as well.
I will always think just carrying on playing classical in sudden death until a decisive game is far better than any shorter time control. For the prize of all prizes it just feels wrong.
No one has the time for that, and you don't want to turn chess into a game of who has the most endurance.
That's fair, but I think the best classical player in the world being decided by rapid is worse.
It would be better if the defending champion just kept their title in the case of a draw, IMHO. After all, the opponent was not able to defeat them, and it would encourage more aggressive play from the opponent in the last rounds.
that's a great idea
Would you consider a classical Armageddon better?
So played solid fast improving moves. Caruana is a scientist and loves calculating, so when it came down to time trouble, Wesley and his chess960 intuition won out.
IMO it’s stupid such a big classical chess tournament is decided by a non-classical format. I know it takes time to play classical but the us championship should be decided in a classical match.
boy you're gonna love the world championship in a month
Well the world championship has been decided with rapid tiebreaks for the past bit, so I doubt they'll love that if it comes to that.
yes that's the joke
> IMO it’s stupid such a big classical chess tournament is decided by a non-classical format
Every tournament there is this complain. Time and sponsorship are scarce. Either is a pre determine tiebreak (that has also drawbacks) or it is faster time control.
Personally the only time I'm against rapid/blitz playoffs are for the candidates/world championship, any other time maybe not ideal, but doesn't really matter to me.
Yes, but in round robin you there is more initiative to play for a win while in a match there is a huge initiative to play super solid, so whatcha gonna do.
Think I tend to agree… would personally rather they shared the title (probably need a few more rounds). Feel for Fabi, lost the world championship and the US open on tiebreak!
I don't think a classical match is very practical in this case (though I do agree it's preferred in a case with unlimited time).
I don't mind rapid playoffs, though given it only took an hour maybe making it a double round robin (for ≤ 3 players) would be better but it's not practical to do a classical match.
It's weird they go straight to ten minute matches. They have time to do twenty minute games, which will be much better quality
nah you cant have these 6 hour games every day to determine a winner its too much, but would love to see at least 2 rapid games in each minimatch and not 1
Sorry I’m new to this but why is he ranked 2nd place on the site?
That's the crosstable after round 11 but before the tiebreaks.
Congrats on So for gutting it out after some mediocre play and frustrating draws. He was tired and probably didn't want to be there but he pushed through it to win. Also, So is scary as hell at faster time controls, the way he looks so relaxed.
My subjective winners and losers:
Fabi - So many almost moments where one move would've possibly got him the championship that I think Fabi might feel the sting from this tourney more than usual.
Sam Shankland - I think once Sam goes home and rests he will wake up and be extremely pissed at himself. Tilted to an extreme because he has now gotten an extra black in four tourneys in a row, Sam came in with a feeling that the world was against him. That negativity got to him early and often. But this tourney was his to lose! He has bragged about how his advantage over opponents is his physical strength, that he has more stamina than all others and can power through anything. Late in the tourney, I think that stamina sometimes showed, but his rotten mood from the start prevented him from seizing the opportunity. I mean, if you would've told him six months ago that the US Chess Championship would only need +2 to win because all of the giants are tired as hell, he would've said he's the favorite. And he would've been right. Instead, he'll have to think about this missed opportunity.
Daya - If you told Naroditsky that he will get a draw versus Wesley and a win versus Fabi I think he would've told you to stop smoking crack (actually, he would have said "oh my lands"). I saw him get swallowed up by lesser competition at prior US Chess Championships. This time he rose to the occasion.
Lenderman - Credit to Lenderman this tournament. He fought like hell. He prepped like hell. He played exciting games time and time again. Prior to this game, he wasn't someone on my radar. But here he showed he's someone to watch.
For the women's:
Yip. She got her hand caught in the cookie jar in multiple games in her wild opening play, but only once did an opponent capitalize on it. Every other time Yip played fast, principled, and aggressive. Women in the US seem to have a problem with aggressive and fast chess as nearly all were rattled. So I think Yip's biggest victory was a psychological one as she showed foremost that she can get in any woman's head and mess with them until they give up their winning position. The only way Yip loses the title in the next five years is if some other internet-bullet-chess raised youngster rises to the field and can challenge Yip on the psychological game.
Krush. Krush did have nice comeback wins after that searing disaster of a loss to Yip, but after being so dominant for so long it felt like the end of an era.
Anna Zatonskih. She didn't prepare for this tournament and it showed. Though she fared decently, in the middle of the pack, I wondered quite frequently whether she was a waste of a slot that could've gone to someone young to have their crack at the title. Jennifer Yu should've been given the chance and instead we watched a former great play not so great.
Sevian also punched above his weight and Xiong was a bit of a surprise.
I think Katernina Nemcova could also be added. She was leading the tournament up until round 7-8 and then just couldn't maintain the lead, especially when Carissa started winning everything.
I think your assesment of Yip is a bit optimistic. Yip is a very strong and direct player (and I think she'll make GM), and while I think she'll be the strongest woman in the US for many years to come at least for now she's not so far ahead of the field that other players won't win the title. Look at Jennifer Yu and Annie Wang for example, both extremely strong players and Yu won in 2019 with a monstrous score of 10/11 and Annie Wang tied for first in 2018 before losing in tiebreaks. Then you've also got Krush who at least so far is arguably the strongest woman in US history (and it's only GM). Yip is stronger than them but not by so much where the most likely result is her winning all the tournaments for the next several years.
Edit: Another side note Shankland was also exhausted in his interview after the final round, and mentioned that he'd only been home 2 weeks since May. Looking at his [FIDE card](https://ratings.fide.com/profile/2004887/calculations) he was extremely busy playing the Prague International Chess Festival from June 14th-20th, World Cup from the July 12th-30th (I think that's when he got knocked out in playoffs by Karjakin), St Louis Rapid/Blitz from August 9th-15th, Sinquefield Cup from 16th-28th, European Club Cup from September 18th-24th during which he played 6/7 rounds. Then this, guy needs a break.
I would've said Nemcova was a winner of this tournament had she held on to beat Yip. She was one of the very few women who handled Yip's style, not letting Yip get an hour-plus time advantage. It's a bit disappointing that she couldn't get a win.
I'm a bit more bullish on Yip for two reasons. First, I think her weaknesses are fixable. What will could hold Yip back from a GM title, which I think is not inevitable but plausible if the right funding and support comes through, is her opening theory. She has some good lines to get action, but there's a lot she can do better on. Nearing the end, Yip was playing entirely on the psychological battle, at one point playing the Hippo because she knew her opponent would get into time trouble. I haven't seen a lot of her ultra-deep mainline stuff recently. Additionally, it's hard to assess her endgame theory when most of her opponents melted down by move 20. But I think both of these potential deficits are fixable and Yip could be back in this tourney delivering beatdowns where she not merely has a tactical and strategic advantage and a psychological dominance but also knows opening theory better and knows endgames well enough that opponents fear to exchange to an endgame that they'll know Yip can find a win.
Second, I think her smashing of all her younger opponents last year in the girl's championship makes her a significant favorite over her former rivals. I may be wrong on this point--again, I have to wonder why so many old timers were invited over Yu or Wang, who were underrated because of COVID lockdowns and as such should have had special consideration--but until I see someone challenge Yip psychologically, I don't think she's going to lose.
I believe Yu and Wang declined due to college, they would qualify based on rating though.
Yu played quite a bit during COVID and her results were not good.
There's almost no way that Jennifer Yu wasn't invited. I assume she opted to focus on her studies
Fabi came back from the dead, won three games in a row and almost won the Championship. I don't see how you can rate him as anything but a winner
He lost two games to 2600 level grandmasters, then missed wins in a classical game and a rapid game. Stack that on top of losing his no. 2 place in the world and his poor 2021, the dude is probably really upset
He was very levelheaded in all the interviews I saw him do. You're giving him an emotion I've seen no evidence of. He didn't really miss a win against Shankland, either. Stockfish gave him +2 at one point, but Stockfish was looking a position about 18 moves deep. Magnus has had bad tournaments and lost rating before, but no one calls him a loser
Fabi is always level headed in interviews. It's called a façade. He's a professional, of course he can't let his emotions slide, but there is no doubt he's pissed and upset over those losses. He did miss a win against shankland, as he was winning. He was +2, that's winning. And then against So he was near +3. Magnus doesn't lose two straight classical games. He just hasn't. Nobody calls him a loser, sure, but he never loses two straight classical games. He's just like Wesley, init of he only every draws or wins, but he just wins more
You're assuming his emotional state
I'm being realistic
Saying he's disappointed is realistic. Saying that he is pissed and "really upset" is just extrapolating
I just watched the playoff games on YouTube with commentary by Maurice Ashley and Yasser Seirawan. For anyone else that watched it, did you understand their analysis? Several times Seirawan said he didn’t like certain moves and other times all the commentators would agree on a certain pawn move or that a knight needs to be positioned on a certain square, etc. It was all so far over my head. I wish there was some place to go for analysis of their analysis, because I feel like if I understood what they were saying, I would have a much better grasp on chess. Does anyone else fee this way? Is there a place to that would help me understand the bigger picture that they see and I don’t?
generally when commentators do that it is hard to follow. But it's one of the problems of rapid, where if they were to elaborate the players have already played something else and they can't express the ideas of the game they consider more important.
Dude.. watch agadmators chess channel on youtube hes the best
I do but follow many championships so this is probably a stupid question but why didn’t Hikaru compete?
He was going to play in the Grand Swiss instead (converse to So who chose this over the Grand Swiss), though it looks like that's likely to get postponed and from what [I hear](https://twitter.com/_MohitBhatt_/status/1450476632158900231) based on his stream he might not play if it goes on.
Hikaru stands no chance. He knows that and wants to make money off twitch instead instead of competing in a field leagues ahead of him
His rapid and blitz score earlier this year against a similar field was completely crushing. Sure, it's classical, but calling people like Sam Shankland "leagues ahead" of Hikaru is just ignorant.
A more measured response is, Hikaru knows he is quite unlikely to finish first or even second in a classical tournament with So and Caruana, so he isn't interested in competing for two weeks to probably take 3rd or 4th and get 20k, which may well be less than he'd get for streaming instead, but much more stressful.
This seems accurate. Caruana is nearly unbeatable in classical
I'm a simple man. I see a tournament 7-Up kid didn't win, I upvote.
7 up kid?
I wish I were that 7 up can
Why don't you have a seat right over there.
Took me a sec lol
Sam Sevian. There’s an old video of him beating Greg Shahade while drinking 7-up
Is Wesley that good? I heard he is….
He is still on his Jesus train. And i thought he has eased off a bit.