St Louis, US Championshop. Who will go to Baku?

The difference in age between Fabiano Caruana and Jeffery Zhong is not so great - they were born in 1992 and 2000 respectively. But when it comes to tournament experience, the tournament leader is way ahead. So, according to the well-known rule of thumb, "experience" took on "youth" by going into the endgame...and was close to another victory! 

Zhong - Caruana

The Nh5 is terrible, but one also notices that not so many pawns remain on the board. 34…Rc1 35.Nxf4! – the knight perishes, but sells his life expensively. 35…Rxf4 36.Rxc7

36…Be8 – Now the black knight will remain in prison for a long time. Maybe he should have considered 36…Bd7? and after the capture on d6, Ке7? 37.Rxd6 Nxa4 38.Rd8 Rcxc4 39.Rh7 Rh4 40.Rb7 Rh6 41.Ne3 Rc1 42.Kh2 Nc5 43.Rbb8 Re6 44.Nf5 Rce1 – Draw agreed( ½ : ½ ). The youngest player has so far looked more than up to the mark, but at the finish, he faces tough games against So and Nakamura. But he looks ready for the challenge. 

Maybe Jeffery Zhong will join the elite in the near future?

Another star of Moscow 2016 won elegantly today:

Nakamura - Akobian

24…cxd4 25.fxe6 Rxe6 26.Nxf7! Kxf7 27.Bd5 Qxd5 28.Rxe6 dxc3 29.R6e5 – and a demoralised Varuzhan did not offer much resistance. White won (1:0). As well as Akobian, another player who is struggling is Akshat Chandra. he lost to Ray Robson today without much resistance. 

Robson - Chandra

21…Qe7?  (21…Nc5) 22.Nxb7 and the remaining technical stage did not cause White too many problems. Sam Shankland also went down, for the third game in a row. The fact that his opponent, Alexander Onischuk, showed enviable technique will be of little consolation.  

«Although so far Gata Kamsky has not shone in this tournament, he remains one of our top players and is a serious threat to whomever is sitting opposite him», – says the tournament site. The latter has been outstanding, by the way, not only carrying reports and annotations of the best games, but also live coverage with the participation of Yasser Seirawan, Jennifer Shahade and Maurice Ashley. So, thus far the most titled player in the event has not found his form. Yes, ratings are ratings, but not one of the current US stars has ever won a Candidates' tournament (it is terrible to think that it was 20 years ago!) or played a world championship match. In the old days, he would have dealt with the youngsters differently, but now...Maybe his motivation is lacking or maybe there is some other reason. But his class is still felt sometimes, even if only in small ways 

Lenderman - Kamsky

It is clear that the sweet pair on b4-c5 are not going anywhere far, but there came the most precise reply  27…g5! – boldly solving all his problems. 28.Qf3 Qxb4 29.Nxc4 dxc4 30.Be3 c3 31.Rfd1 g4 32.Qf4 Qxf4 33.gxf4 Bxc5 Draw ( ½ : ½ )

The former Soviet player fell into a nice trap:

Shabalov - So

18.Qf5?! Qb6 19.Qe5 Kf8 20.Rd6?! – Even an experienced GM finds it hard to resist such a move. 20…Qc7 21.Nf5 – A third piece breaks into Black's camp, but...: 21…Ne8! – A bucket of cold water. The advanced trio of pieces is suddenly hanging. 22.Nxg7 Qxd6 23.Ne6 Kg8 – The final blow. White resigned. (0:1) Wesley catches the leaders!

In the women's event, it is already clear that the medals will be shared between the quartet Abrahamian-Paikidze-Krush-Zatonskih. That will probably also be the line-up of the US women's team in Baku. The name of one new member of the American team is known: can you guess who? 

Although chess is clearly now second in Anna's life, she is still playing well. Maybe thanks to the first thing? Which is in her arms? 

The title still has great importance (especially for the women's team; the men's is already clear). So the question remains: Who will go to Baku? 

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