The last couple of rounds have been extremely eventful at the U.S. Championships, and have seen reversals of the reversals! When we left off last time, Varuzhan Akobian had won three in a row to take a half-point lead over Gata Kamsky and a full point lead over early leader Alex Lenderman and several others. In round 8 Akobian won again, Kamsky drew and Lenderman bounced back nicely by beating the very solid Alexander Onischuk, and with the black pieces at that. It got even better for Lenderman in round 9. He won what looked like a fairly drawish position against Daniel Naroditsky while Akobian lost his first game of the event, an all-around nightmare game against Sam Shankland. That left Akobian tied with Lenderman for first with 6/9, with Kamsky half a point behind after he was unable to convert an advantageous position against Mackenzie Molner. Josh Friedel is also in the hunt after his 9th round win over Sergey Erenburg, like Kamsky just half a point behind the leaders.
So here are the key pairings for rounds 10 and 11:
- Molner (3) - Lenderman (6)
- Akobian (6) - Kamsky (5.5)
- Friedel (5.5) - Shankland (4.5)
- Kamsky - Friedel
- Lenderman - Akobian
In the women's championship Irina Krush's draw in round 7 against Sabina-Francesca Foisor left her a full point behind Anna Zatonskih after the latter's win over Alisa Melekhina. Fortunately they still had their head-to-head match before them in round 8, and Krush gradually managed to convert her significant opening edge into a win. They are thus tied with 6/8 heading into Monday's final round (they have a rest day on Sunday), and Tatev Abrahamyan is only half a point behind in case they fail to win in the last round. Here are the key pairings:
- Ni (3) - Krush (6)
- Baginskaite (1.5) - Abrahamyan (5.5)
- Zatonskih (6) - Nemcova (4.5)
In case of a two-way tie for first there will be a playoff, and if it's between Krush and Zatonskih it won't be their first. Playoffs, if necessary for either (or both) group(s), will take place on Tuesday.