Aronian, Krush Triumph In Champions Bracket

GMs Levon Aronian and Irina Krush prevailed in the Champions Bracket on day six of the 2024 American Cup.

With pragmatic play, Aronian equalized vs. GM Ray Robson, clinching the match with ease after his 2-0 start the day before. Channeling her characteristic determination, Krush won her match with a round to spare vs. IM Alice Lee.

In the Elimination Bracket, GM Wesley So fought back vs. GM Fabiano Caruana to succeed in the blitz playoff. WGM Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova defeated WGM Jennifer Yu, finishing their match with a hat trick of victories.

The Elimination Bracket Final begins on Monday, March 17, 2024, at 2:20 p.m. ET/19:20 CET/11:50 p.m. IST.



Champions—Open: Aronian Wins $15,000 Bonus With Ease

Needing two back-to-back victories vs. Aronian is a daunting feat for any player. Robson pressed his white advantage, gaining space on the queenside and targeting Black’s center. Yet, Aronian was able to equalize with practical, active play. After many pieces were exchanged, the players repeated in the queen and bishop ending. 

This draw brought Aronian’s score to 2.5/3, giving him the match victory a round early. He has secured the $15,000 Champions Bracket and a day off on Monday when the Elimination Bracket Final occurs.

Champions—Women’s: Krush Fights To Three-Peat Champions Bonus

Lee gained a small edge vs. Krush, but the eight-time U.S. Women’s champion was able to regroup her forces and generate considerable pressure on her opponent’s isolated pawn, ultimately winning it.

After the game, Krush shared: “Mostly it’s emotions more than thoughts. When you have a game like that, you just kind of give it everything. I feel so relieved, so happy because there was so much at stake in this match.”

I feel so relieved, so happy because there was so much at stake in this match.

―Irina Krush

Krush has secured the $9,000 Champions Bracket bonus and a free day before her last matchup. 

Elimination—Open: So’s Blitz Tactics Triumph

In a nail-biter match, So prevailed vs. Caruana in overtime. So overpressed with White in game two, but he made up for it in the next game. Staring down the barrel of elimination, So fought his way out of Caruana’s attack into a strategically winning ending. 

Afterward, the 25-year-old woman grandmaster shared:

I just got mad. I was so frustrated that I lost a game because I felt like I was just slipping the whole game. I was like, I’ve got to wake up, so it helped me. Sometimes I need that one punch to wake up. Luckily, the match was four games, not two. Otherwise, it’d be very tough to come back.

Sometimes I need this one punch to wake up.

―Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova

The 2024 American Cup is an over-the-board tournament in St. Louis featuring some of the strongest players in the United States. Split into Open and Women’s sections, the players will compete in a double-elimination knockout bracket while contesting for their share of the $400,000 prize fund.