Day 8 in Rancho Mirage: Once More, with Feeling


Three players lead on 7/8 going into the final round of the 2022 US Open. In a key board one matchup, GM Elshan Moradiabadi managed onto a draw against a vicious attacking Najdorf from IM Viktor Matviishen.

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Moradiabadi versus Matviishen (US Chess / Mark Cieslikowski)

The game took on an unbalanced character early, and after a miscue from Moradiabadi, Matviishen forced him to part with his queen. But one slight inaccuracy just before the time control allowed Moradiabadi to hold a fortress and stay atop the leaderboard.

Splitting the point allowed Matviishen’s fellow Red Raider GM Aleksey Sorokiin to catch up with a win over GM Alexander Shabalov.

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Sorokin versus Shabalov (US Chess / John Hartmann)

Sorokin’s win was far more positional, and he showed incredible poise withstanding his veteran opponent’s ambitious kingside play.

Nine players trail the trio of leaders by a half-point, led by GMs Illia Nyzhnyk and Daniel Naroditsky.

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Danya and Brandon came by to discuss their game on the livestream!

While ‘Danya’ drew GM Brandon Jacobson uneventfully with the black pieces, with both players then heading to the commentary room for a bit of banter, Nyzhnyk bounced back into contention with an excellent showing in a Richter-Rauzer against IM Samuel Schmakel.

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Nyzynyk versus Schmakel (US Chess / Mark Cieslikowski)

Schmakel did very little wrong out of the opening and yet wound up in a position with no obvious improving moves until Nyzhnyk struck the first time opportunity knocked.

Pairings do not come out for the ninth and final round for a bit, so amateur TDs can speculate on who will be playing whom. The situation becomes more complex when we recall that there’s more than just money at stake here; the highest-finishing US flagged player also wins a seat to the US Championship. Currently that appears to be Moradiabadi at 7, with a number of players (Naroditsky, Var Akobian, Jacobson, Hong, Sheng, Costello, and Eidelman) at 6½. With just one round to go, anything can happen.

Blitz and banter

Naveen Prabhu is our 2022 US Blitz champion, finishing on a dazzling 13/14 after seven double-rounds of no-increment, no-delay madness. Kevin Yang finished clear second on 11/14.

Last but not least, there is both a closed and open meeting of the US Chess Executive Board scheduled for Sunday. Current and former delegates will be glad to know that the 2022 Delegates Meeting did not require a second day!

The final round of the 2022 US Open begins at 3pm EST, four hours earlier than previous rounds, with coverage on twitch.tv/USChess. Don’t miss out!


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