International Chess Federation
Friday, 22 Mar 2024 10:08
Levon Aronian and Alice Lee win American Cup 2024

UPDATE March 22, 2024

After winning the final championship match against Irina Krush yesterday, Alice Lee forced the Grand Final match, which consisted of four rapid games and a blitz tiebreaker if necessary. The winner took the first prize and the title.

Irina won the first game but Alice bounced back in the second one leveling the score. Krush won the third rapid game in a fine positional style and needed just a draw with white in the fourth rapid encounter to win the title.

However, she blundered a pawn early in the opening and Alice won on demand to equalize again forcing a blitz (3+2) tiebreaker.

The youngster gradually outmanoeuvred Irina with the black pieces in the first blitz game and took the lead for the first time in this match. Going into the second blitz game, Krush was in a must-win situation, and she chose the King-Indian Defence. Irina reached a winning position in a very complicated battle but slipped up in a critical moment and resigned.

14-year-old Alice won the blitz tiebreaker by 2-0 and became the 2024 American Cup Champion, claiming the first major title in her career.

Levon Aronian emerged victorious at the 2024 edition of the American Cup after beating Wesley So in the final.

After three draws in two classical and one rapid game in the open section, it all came down to the last rapid game in which Wesley So had white. Levon grabbed the initiative in a sharp line of the Nimzo-Indian, but Wesley defended well and reached equality only to make an inexplicable blunder on the move 34.

After the natural 34. Kf2 White could have held things together. Wesley, however, played 34. Qc5+?? but after 34…Rd6! 35. Rh5 Qxd2 36. Rxh3 b6 Levon won the game and clinched the title.

Coming into the final day of the competition with a one-point lead, Alice Lee needed to win one of the games as the player from the Elimination bracket. Irina Krush engineered a dangerous activity with her knights on the black side of Benoni but missed a hidden opportunity to increase pressure and allowed White to maintain balance.

Moreover, a few moves down the road, Alice regrouped her pieces and infiltrated with her queen to Black’s queenside. Irina sacrificed her queen, hoping for a fortress, but Alice destroyed it with precise moves to win the game. With this win, Alice Lee earned herself a final elimination playoff match against Irina, which will be played on Day 10. 

Photos: Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller and Lennart Ootes

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