Carissa Yip Wins 2021 U.S. Women’s World Championship

With an extraordinary performance, eighteen-year-old IM Carissa Yip has won the U.S. Women’s World Championship with a round to spare.

The U.S. Chess Championship tournaments are eleven-round round robins featuring the top twelve players each in the open section and the women’s section. The live, classical tournament is being played at the famous St. Louis Chess Club.

After a loss in round five to WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, Carissa Yip pulled herself together and went on to win her next five games. During this tournament Yip made history as the first woman in the history of the tournament to defeat four former champions.

In round ten Yip played a dominant game again IM Nazi Paikidze, winning with a version of the rarely played Hippopotamus Defence. After her victory, all eyes turned to the game between GM Irina Krush and FM Thalia Cervantes. Entering round ten with 6.0 points, Krush was the only person in the field who stood a chance to catch Carissa Yip. But surprisingly Krush drew her game with Cervantes, leaving her with 6.5 points going into the final round, against Yip’s 8.0 points.

In the open tournament after round ten there is a three-way tie for first place: Wesley So, Samuel Sevian, and a newly-resurgent Fabiano Caruana all lead the open section with 6.0 points, with Ray Robson, Aleksandr Lenderman and Lenier Dominguez all in hot pursuit with 5.5 points.

Caruana, by far the highest-rated player in the tournament, had an uninspiring start, with three draws and a win, and then lost back-to-back games to Daniel Naroditsky and Samuel Sevian. His epic tenth-round victory against Lenderman put him back into contention.

We’ll be excited to see who wins the tight race for first in the open section on Monday October 18, though the champion may not be crowned until later on Tuesday if tiebreak games are required.

Here is Yip’s tenth-round victory.