Naroditsky Checkmates Hess In Day 2 Of U.S. Championship Online Qualifier
The action ramped up in round two of the U.S. Championship Online Qualifier, with the excitement starting on the second move in some games. GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Robert Hess did not disappoint their fans, as the famous chess players produced a thrilling game that ended with Naroditsky checkmating Hess.
GMs Timur Gareyev, Andrew Tang, Elshan Moradiabadi, and Aleksandr Lenderman each gained 0.5 points this round. IM Christopher Yoo, who also drew his game against GM Dariusz Swiercz, now shares the lead with Naroditsky.
Every round will be streamed live at Chess.com/tv starting at 2 p.m. Pacific time, December 11-18. The games can also be found here as part of our live games platform.
The live broadcast of the second round.
Hess vs. Naroditsky (0-1)
At the start of this nerve-racking game, Hess struggled with time management, spending a large portion of his time making moves early on. In his commentary, IM Greg Shahade likened this to Hess giving Naroditsky time odds of 2 minutes versus 45.
Naroditsky took advantage of this situation and launched an overwhelming kingside attack. He gave up a minor piece to get to White’s king; Hess, with his time dwindling away, struggled to refute this sacrifice. Hess, in his interview, describes his feelings in those moments by saying: “I had already blown so much time that I knew I was in big trouble.”
After realizing he was lost, Hess chose to go on “because it’s better for everyone watching,” and we got to witness a checkmate on the board.
Tang vs. Gareyev (0.5-0.5)
Another game with ups and downs occurred as Gareyev continued making unusual moves, especially in the opening. Commentator NM James Canty’s remark is the best way to preface this game: Don’t try this at home!
Gareyev played 2…c6 and 3…b5, officially called the Kudischewitsch Gambit, against Tang’s Queen’s Gambit setup. After seemingly violating every opening principle —he even moved his knight a second time to the edge of the board— Gareyev somehow reached an equal position and also caused Tang to use up a big chunk of his time.
While Tang managed to outmaneuver Gareyev in the subsequent positional grind and win a pawn, he was not able to find a win and the game eventually ended with the players agreeing to a draw.
Swiercz vs. Yoo (0.5-0.5)
The opening of this game featured a Catalan with Yoo again dishing out moves almost instantly and reaching the middlegame with five minutes more than the time he started with. Swiercz, in contrast, gave each move more thought and seemed to generate winning chances in the complicated position they arrived at.
In fact, although the engines thought the position to be equal, White achieved a much more comfortable position from a practical point of view. Despite this, Swiercz opted not to play on, likely due to his time getting dangerously low, and the players agreed to a draw.
Moradiabadi vs. Lenderman (0.5-0.5)
In this variation of the Queen’s Gambit, Moradiabadi traded his bishop for a knight to create double isolated pawns for black. Lenderman, as in the first round, found himself wielding the bishop pair and tried to use them to attack White.
At first glance, White seemed to have a slight advantage due to his ability to target the doubled pawns. However, as play went on, Lenderman was able to trade off one of his bishops to reach an equal position. The game concluded when the players repeated the same rook moves and achieved a draw.
Don’t miss out on the action, watch the third round live at Chess.com/tv. Play will begin at 2 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday, December 13.