The USA championships finished yesterday in Saint Louis. There was no need of tie-breaks in both the events. In the men's part Fabiano Caruana proved superior to the field, scoring 8.5/11, a clear point ahead of his closest rivals Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura.

One of the important games of the event was played in round three:

A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "U.S. Championship 2016"]

[Site "?"]

[Date "2016.04.16"]

[Round "3.1"]

[White "So, Wesley"]

[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]

[Result "1/2-1/2"]

[WhiteElo "2773"]

[BlackElo "2795"]

[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]

[PlyCount "184"]

[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

[WhiteClock "0:06:48"]

[BlackClock "0:07:21"]

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. e3 e6 5. d4 d5 6. a3 a6 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. b4

Bd6 9. Bb2 O-O 10. cxd5 exd5 {[%csl Yd5] Diagram [#] A typical picture for the

Semi-Tarrasch. The isolated pawn on d5 might be both strenght and weakness.}

11. Be2 Be6 12. O-O Qe7 {Intending both Ra8-c8 and Rf8-d8. And something more.}

({Another way to play it is the immediate} 12... Rc8 {which gives an

additional option of Bd6-b8 followed by battery on the h2-b8 diagonal. This

however also leaves more options to White.} 13. Rc1 Qe7 14. Qd3 (14. Na4 {

is the other idea.}) 14... Rfd8 15. Rfd1 b5 {Le,Q (2703)-Pelletier,Y (2587)

Belfort 2012}) 13. Rc1 {Intending Nc3-a4-c5. But now Black reveals the other

ideabehind his Qd8-e7 maneuver.} a5 {[%csl Ya3][%cal Ga1c1] Diagram [#] The

pawn on a3 was left loose and Caruana makes use of it.} (13... Rfd8 14. Na4 Ne4

15. Nd4 Nxd4 16. Qxd4 $14 {led to a typical slightly better position for White

in Guimard,C (2410)-Agdamus,J (2200) Santos Lugares 1977}) 14. Nb5 $146 {

So sacrifices a pawn for initiative. A predecessor saw} (14. b5 Ne5 (14... Nb8

$5 {is another route to d7.}) 15. Qa4 Ned7 {and White had problems with his

queenside, Lee,F-Sergeant,E Scarborough 1909}) 14... axb4 (14... Bb8 15. bxa5

Nxa5 16. Nbd4 {is good for White.}) 15. Nxd6 Qxd6 16. axb4 Qxb4 17. Bxf6 gxf6

18. Rb1 Qe7 19. Rb5 {[%csl Yb7,Yd5,Yf6,Yf7,Yh7] Diagram [#] As a result White

managed to destroy all the black pawns and he may try to profit from this in

two ways- attack the weaken kingside or patiently try to harvest all the crop.

The problem with the latter is that if he even wins both "b" and "d" pawns

(for free) he will have to trade some pieces and there is a very good chance

that Black reaches an endgame four versus three on the same flank which is an

easy draw. In fact, the presence of double "f" pawns makes the draw easier!}

Rfd8 20. Nd4 {Nothing gives:} (20. Qb1 d4 21. Rxb7 Qa3 22. Nxd4 Nxd4 23. exd4

Rxd4 $11) 20... Kg7 21. Re1 {In the light of the above-mentioned I have the

feeling that White should have tried to play for more with} (21. Bd3 Nxd4 22.

exd4 {although I do not really see a way for White to capture both "b" and "d"

pawns for free.}) 21... Nxd4 22. Qxd4 Bf5 $1 {[%csl Gg7][%cal Gf5g6,Rb7b5,

Rb5b4,Rb4b3,Rb3b2,Rb2b1] Diagram [#] Now Caruana practically takes away the

loss as a possible result from the board. The only one who can play for the

win in the endgame is black.} 23. Rxd5 Rxd5 24. Qxd5 Be4 25. Qd1 Qb4 26. Rf1

Ra2 27. Qd7 {There are still problems for White in the line:} (27. Bf3 b5 28.

Bxe4 Qxe4 29. Qb3 Qa4 30. Qd5 Ra1 $15) 27... Bg6 {The position of the black

king is secured and the "b" pawn is quite fearsome thanks to the support of

all the black pieces.} 28. Bf3 b5 29. h4 $1 {[%csl Yg7][%cal Gh4h5] Diagram [#]

So tries to open the king again to saveguard a draw.} (29. Bc6 Rb2 {followed

by Rb2-b1 seems bad for White.}) 29... Rd2 (29... Qxh4 30. Qxb5 $11) 30. Qh3 h5

31. Qg3 ({Black still pushing after} 31. g4 hxg4 32. Bxg4 Qc5 (32... Be4) (

32... Kh6)) 31... Qd6 {In the coming time trouble Caruana decided to

completely secure himself. In the line} (31... Qc5 32. Ra1 b4 33. Qb8 b3 $4 34.

Ra8 {Black gets under mating attack all of a sudden.}) 32. Qxd6 Rxd6 33. Rd1

Rb6 {Black's active pieces are his main advantage.} (33... Rxd1+ 34. Bxd1 {

is a draw.}) 34. e4 {Since the bishop cannot be blocked, it made sense to

bring the white one out first with} (34. Bd5 $5 b4 35. Bb3 Rc6 36. Rd4 Rc1+ 37.

Kh2 Rb1 38. Bd5 ({Not} 38. Rxb4 Bc2) 38... Rb2 ({And not} 38... b3 $2 39. Rb4

b2 40. Ba2) 39. Kg3 Bf5 $11) 34... b4 35. Rd2 f5 36. exf5 Bxf5 37. Bxh5 b3 38.

Rb2 Bc2 {[%csl Yb2][%cal Rb6a6,Ra6a2,Ra2b2] Diagram [#] The white rook is

trapped and Black intends Rb6-a6-a2 trapping it.} 39. Bf3 (39. Kf1 $2 {loses to

} Ra6) (39. Be2 Rb4 {will win the pawn easier.}) 39... Rb5 $1 {A clever way to

win the "h" pawn.} (39... Ra6 40. Bd5 {gves nothing to Black here.}) 40. Be2

Rb4 41. Bf3 Rxh4 42. Bd5 Rb4 {Caruana won the pawn back and managed to keep

the rook on b2 locked, but the reduced material allows a chance to So to

defend.} 43. Kf1 f5 44. Ke2 Kf6 45. f4 $1 {[%csl Yf5][%cal Gg2g4] Diagram [#]

Stops the black king and fixes the pawn on f5 in order to swap it off.} Ke7 (

45... Rxf4 46. Bxb3 $11) 46. Bg8 Kf8 47. Bd5 Kg7 48. Ke3 (48. g3 {is also

possible.}) 48... Kg6 49. Bf3 Kf6 50. Bd5 {So is patient and this is good. The

hasty} (50. g4 $6 {leads to trouble after} fxg4 51. Bxg4 Re4+ 52. Kf3 $2 Ra4 $1

$19) 50... Kg6 51. Bf3 Rc4 52. g4 {Diagram [#] Now it is good. Although White

can also hold after} (52. Bd5 Rc3+ 53. Kd4 Rd3+ 54. Ke5) 52... Rc3+ 53. Kf2 Bd3

54. Bd1 Bc4 55. Ke1 Rg3 (55... fxg4 56. Bxg4 Rg3 57. Bd1 {would be similar to

the game.}) 56. Kf2 Rh3 57. Ke1 Be6 58. Re2 (58. gxf5+ Kxf5 59. Kd2 {should be

OK too.}) 58... Bc4 59. Rb2 Kf6 60. Kd2 Rd3+ 61. Kc1 Rc3+ 62. Kd2 Rg3 63. gxf5

Kxf5 64. Kc1 Kxf4 65. Rh2 Ke3 66. Kb2 {Now that the king made it to the "b"

pawn the draw is unavoidable.} Kd4 67. Rh4+ Kc5 68. Ka3 Bd5 69. Rh5 Kd4 70.

Rxd5+ {Diagram [#] Stirring the game into theoretical draw. The white king is

where it is needed-in the correct corner.} Kxd5 71. Bxb3+ Kd4 72. Kb2 Rg2+ 73.

Ka1 Kc3 74. Ba2 Rg7 75. Bb1 Rb7 76. Ba2 Kc2 77. Bd5 {The only danger for the

defender in this endgame is to keep his bishop too close to the enemy king.} (

77. Bc4 $4 Rb1+ 78. Ka2 Rb4 {[%csl Rc2,Yc4,Rd3][%cal Rc4d3] Diagram [#] loses

only because the white bishop cannot give a check to the black king.}) 77...

Re7 (77... Rb1+ 78. Ka2 Rb5 79. Be4+ $11 {is the crucial difference in

comparison to the previous line.}) 78. Bg8 Re1+ 79. Ka2 Rh1 80. Bd5 Rh4 81.

Bb3+ Kc3 82. Be6 Rf4 83. Bg8 Rf2+ 84. Kb1 Rb2+ 85. Ka1 Kc2 86. Bh7+ Kc1 87. Bg8

Rb1+ 88. Ka2 Rb8 89. Bf7 Rb2+ 90. Ka1 Rb7 91. Bd5 Ra7+ 92. Ba2 Kc2 {Diagram [#]

} 1/2-1/2

Report.

One of the important games of the event was played in round three:

[Event "U.S. Championship 2016"]

[Site "?"]

[Date "2016.04.16"]

[Round "3.1"]

[White "So, Wesley"]

[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]

[Result "1/2-1/2"]

[WhiteElo "2773"]

[BlackElo "2795"]

[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]

[PlyCount "184"]

[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

[WhiteClock "0:06:48"]

[BlackClock "0:07:21"]

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. e3 e6 5. d4 d5 6. a3 a6 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. b4

Bd6 9. Bb2 O-O 10. cxd5 exd5 {[%csl Yd5] Diagram [#] A typical picture for the

Semi-Tarrasch. The isolated pawn on d5 might be both strenght and weakness.}

11. Be2 Be6 12. O-O Qe7 {Intending both Ra8-c8 and Rf8-d8. And something more.}

({Another way to play it is the immediate} 12... Rc8 {which gives an

additional option of Bd6-b8 followed by battery on the h2-b8 diagonal. This

however also leaves more options to White.} 13. Rc1 Qe7 14. Qd3 (14. Na4 {

is the other idea.}) 14... Rfd8 15. Rfd1 b5 {Le,Q (2703)-Pelletier,Y (2587)

Belfort 2012}) 13. Rc1 {Intending Nc3-a4-c5. But now Black reveals the other

ideabehind his Qd8-e7 maneuver.} a5 {[%csl Ya3][%cal Ga1c1] Diagram [#] The

pawn on a3 was left loose and Caruana makes use of it.} (13... Rfd8 14. Na4 Ne4

15. Nd4 Nxd4 16. Qxd4 $14 {led to a typical slightly better position for White

in Guimard,C (2410)-Agdamus,J (2200) Santos Lugares 1977}) 14. Nb5 $146 {

So sacrifices a pawn for initiative. A predecessor saw} (14. b5 Ne5 (14... Nb8

$5 {is another route to d7.}) 15. Qa4 Ned7 {and White had problems with his

queenside, Lee,F-Sergeant,E Scarborough 1909}) 14... axb4 (14... Bb8 15. bxa5

Nxa5 16. Nbd4 {is good for White.}) 15. Nxd6 Qxd6 16. axb4 Qxb4 17. Bxf6 gxf6

18. Rb1 Qe7 19. Rb5 {[%csl Yb7,Yd5,Yf6,Yf7,Yh7] Diagram [#] As a result White

managed to destroy all the black pawns and he may try to profit from this in

two ways- attack the weaken kingside or patiently try to harvest all the crop.

The problem with the latter is that if he even wins both "b" and "d" pawns

(for free) he will have to trade some pieces and there is a very good chance

that Black reaches an endgame four versus three on the same flank which is an

easy draw. In fact, the presence of double "f" pawns makes the draw easier!}

Rfd8 20. Nd4 {Nothing gives:} (20. Qb1 d4 21. Rxb7 Qa3 22. Nxd4 Nxd4 23. exd4

Rxd4 $11) 20... Kg7 21. Re1 {In the light of the above-mentioned I have the

feeling that White should have tried to play for more with} (21. Bd3 Nxd4 22.

exd4 {although I do not really see a way for White to capture both "b" and "d"

pawns for free.}) 21... Nxd4 22. Qxd4 Bf5 $1 {[%csl Gg7][%cal Gf5g6,Rb7b5,

Rb5b4,Rb4b3,Rb3b2,Rb2b1] Diagram [#] Now Caruana practically takes away the

loss as a possible result from the board. The only one who can play for the

win in the endgame is black.} 23. Rxd5 Rxd5 24. Qxd5 Be4 25. Qd1 Qb4 26. Rf1

Ra2 27. Qd7 {There are still problems for White in the line:} (27. Bf3 b5 28.

Bxe4 Qxe4 29. Qb3 Qa4 30. Qd5 Ra1 $15) 27... Bg6 {The position of the black

king is secured and the "b" pawn is quite fearsome thanks to the support of

all the black pieces.} 28. Bf3 b5 29. h4 $1 {[%csl Yg7][%cal Gh4h5] Diagram [#]

So tries to open the king again to saveguard a draw.} (29. Bc6 Rb2 {followed

by Rb2-b1 seems bad for White.}) 29... Rd2 (29... Qxh4 30. Qxb5 $11) 30. Qh3 h5

31. Qg3 ({Black still pushing after} 31. g4 hxg4 32. Bxg4 Qc5 (32... Be4) (

32... Kh6)) 31... Qd6 {In the coming time trouble Caruana decided to

completely secure himself. In the line} (31... Qc5 32. Ra1 b4 33. Qb8 b3 $4 34.

Ra8 {Black gets under mating attack all of a sudden.}) 32. Qxd6 Rxd6 33. Rd1

Rb6 {Black's active pieces are his main advantage.} (33... Rxd1+ 34. Bxd1 {

is a draw.}) 34. e4 {Since the bishop cannot be blocked, it made sense to

bring the white one out first with} (34. Bd5 $5 b4 35. Bb3 Rc6 36. Rd4 Rc1+ 37.

Kh2 Rb1 38. Bd5 ({Not} 38. Rxb4 Bc2) 38... Rb2 ({And not} 38... b3 $2 39. Rb4

b2 40. Ba2) 39. Kg3 Bf5 $11) 34... b4 35. Rd2 f5 36. exf5 Bxf5 37. Bxh5 b3 38.

Rb2 Bc2 {[%csl Yb2][%cal Rb6a6,Ra6a2,Ra2b2] Diagram [#] The white rook is

trapped and Black intends Rb6-a6-a2 trapping it.} 39. Bf3 (39. Kf1 $2 {loses to

} Ra6) (39. Be2 Rb4 {will win the pawn easier.}) 39... Rb5 $1 {A clever way to

win the "h" pawn.} (39... Ra6 40. Bd5 {gves nothing to Black here.}) 40. Be2

Rb4 41. Bf3 Rxh4 42. Bd5 Rb4 {Caruana won the pawn back and managed to keep

the rook on b2 locked, but the reduced material allows a chance to So to

defend.} 43. Kf1 f5 44. Ke2 Kf6 45. f4 $1 {[%csl Yf5][%cal Gg2g4] Diagram [#]

Stops the black king and fixes the pawn on f5 in order to swap it off.} Ke7 (

45... Rxf4 46. Bxb3 $11) 46. Bg8 Kf8 47. Bd5 Kg7 48. Ke3 (48. g3 {is also

possible.}) 48... Kg6 49. Bf3 Kf6 50. Bd5 {So is patient and this is good. The

hasty} (50. g4 $6 {leads to trouble after} fxg4 51. Bxg4 Re4+ 52. Kf3 $2 Ra4 $1

$19) 50... Kg6 51. Bf3 Rc4 52. g4 {Diagram [#] Now it is good. Although White

can also hold after} (52. Bd5 Rc3+ 53. Kd4 Rd3+ 54. Ke5) 52... Rc3+ 53. Kf2 Bd3

54. Bd1 Bc4 55. Ke1 Rg3 (55... fxg4 56. Bxg4 Rg3 57. Bd1 {would be similar to

the game.}) 56. Kf2 Rh3 57. Ke1 Be6 58. Re2 (58. gxf5+ Kxf5 59. Kd2 {should be

OK too.}) 58... Bc4 59. Rb2 Kf6 60. Kd2 Rd3+ 61. Kc1 Rc3+ 62. Kd2 Rg3 63. gxf5

Kxf5 64. Kc1 Kxf4 65. Rh2 Ke3 66. Kb2 {Now that the king made it to the "b"

pawn the draw is unavoidable.} Kd4 67. Rh4+ Kc5 68. Ka3 Bd5 69. Rh5 Kd4 70.

Rxd5+ {Diagram [#] Stirring the game into theoretical draw. The white king is

where it is needed-in the correct corner.} Kxd5 71. Bxb3+ Kd4 72. Kb2 Rg2+ 73.

Ka1 Kc3 74. Ba2 Rg7 75. Bb1 Rb7 76. Ba2 Kc2 77. Bd5 {The only danger for the

defender in this endgame is to keep his bishop too close to the enemy king.} (

77. Bc4 $4 Rb1+ 78. Ka2 Rb4 {[%csl Rc2,Yc4,Rd3][%cal Rc4d3] Diagram [#] loses

only because the white bishop cannot give a check to the black king.}) 77...

Re7 (77... Rb1+ 78. Ka2 Rb5 79. Be4+ $11 {is the crucial difference in

comparison to the previous line.}) 78. Bg8 Re1+ 79. Ka2 Rh1 80. Bd5 Rh4 81.

Bb3+ Kc3 82. Be6 Rf4 83. Bg8 Rf2+ 84. Kb1 Rb2+ 85. Ka1 Kc2 86. Bh7+ Kc1 87. Bg8

Rb1+ 88. Ka2 Rb8 89. Bf7 Rb2+ 90. Ka1 Rb7 91. Bd5 Ra7+ 92. Ba2 Kc2 {Diagram [#]

} 1/2-1/2

Report.