A “disgusted” GM Fabiano Caruana won his match on the second day of The American Cup from a hopeless position as GM Jeffery Xiong lost on time. GM Sam Sevian indeed reached a 2700+ live rating by drawing his second game with GM Wesley So, who got relegated to the Elimination Bracket. GM Ray Robson used a pretty exchange sacrifice on Thursday to level the score vs. GM Levon Aronian but the latter won the tiebreak.
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It was an action-packed second day at The American Cup in St. Louis, with the second classical game on the program and eventually four matches being decided in tiebreaks. That wasn’t the case for So-Sevian, where the reigning U.S. champion couldn’t win on demand and thus got moved to the Elimination Bracket, while Sevian reached the quarterfinals of the Champions Bracket while getting a 2700.4 live rating.
His next opponent will be Caruana, who knocked out Xiong in what was the longest match of the day and the only one that got decided in the armageddon after a second draw in the classical game and also two draws in the rapid.
Xiong, with four minutes on the clock, had draw odds as Black vs. Caruana, who got five minutes. Like in the second rapid game, Caruana failed to convert a big advantage but this time he ended up in a lost endgame. In a time scramble, Xiong ended up flagging one move before the two-second increment would have kicked in (on move 61).
Caruana wasn’t too thrilled about how he won: “I’m a little bit disgusted because twice he played this opening, I get basically a winning position out of the opening, and twice I ruined it.”
Check out the dramatic final moments in the Armageddon game between GM Fabiano Caruana & GM Jeffery Xiong – #TheAmericanCup https://t.co/8IHb6krijC pic.twitter.com/BOajAqJksP
— Saint Louis Chess Club (@STLChessClub) April 22, 2022
Robson joined So and the other round-one losers in the Elimination Bracket, but can keep his head up high. He managed to win on demand against the mighty Aronian and did it in style, using a standard “Sicilian” exchange sac but also some nice tactics later on.
Aronian, however, struck back in the first rapid playoff game and then sealed the match with a draw with the white pieces.
GM Leinier Dominguez also needed the tiebreak to eliminate GM Sam Shankland. After three draws, the 2008 world blitz champion struck with the white pieces:
In the women’s group, both GM Irina Krush and WGM Begim Tokhirjonova moved to the quarterfinals with a draw on the second day after winning the first game.
IM Stavroula Tsolakidou was very close to winning her game the other day but eventually got eliminated by the only 12-year-old FM Alice Lee, who won both tiebreak games. In the first, Tsolakidou missed a draw in an opposite-colored bishop endgame as she lost a crucial tempo:
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan had an incredible comeback on Thursday after she had started with a loss vs. IM Anna Zatonskih. Abrahamyan won the second classical game (below) and then also both tiebreak games.
“I don’t have a very good score in tiebreaks in general but I’m the one who won the game so I think I’m in better spirits than my opponent hopefully,” she said after winning the classical game and that seemed to be the case.
All Games Day 2
The American Cup is an over-the-board event in St. Louis featuring some of the best grandmasters playing for the United States. Players compete in two distinct double-elimination events for a piece of the $300,000 prize fund.