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Shankland Wins Again, Takes Clear Lead With 2 Rounds to Go (with Analysis)

Posted: 12 months ago

By IM Vignesh Panchanatham

For prior coverage, see days onetwothreefive, six, seven (with analysis of the win by BAC coach GM Zviad Izoria over GM Hikaru Nakamura), eight, and four (with analysis of Zviad's win over world championship challenger, GM Fabiano Caruana.) 

With two rounds left to go, the US Championships are coming down to the wire. GM Shankland claimed the clear lead over GM Caruana with a win against GM Zherebukh. From a QGD, Shankland won a piece for pawns, but eventually Zherebukh equalized in the endgame. However, the piece proved superior, and Shankland came out victorious.

 

Caruana played aggressively against GM Nakamura, but was unable to break through black’s fortress. The two youngsters, GM Xiong and GM Liang, faced off this round, and Liang was able to achieve a drawish opposite-colored bishop position rather quickly. GM Akobian won a pawn early against GM So, but sacrificed an exchange to untangle his pawn structure. The resulting endgame didn’t leave room for either side to progress.

GM Lenderman also won a pawn against GM Robson, but was unable to retain it, leading to another draw. GM Izoria continued his solid play with a draw against GM Onischuk, even though he held chances to win in the pawn up rook and knight endgame.

 

In the US Women’s Championship, the highly anticipated matchup between first-place WIM Wang and IM Paikidze ended in a draw. This leaves Wang with a full point lead heading into the home stretch! Best of luck to the California delegation in these closing rounds.