The 2018 US Championship was an action packed event. The San Francisco Bay Area’s own Grandmaster Sam Shankland stole the spotlight by taking first place over such pre-tournament favorites such as Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura. Norcal chess enthusiasts weren’t exactly shocked by GM Shankland’s championship run as we have long since grown accustomed to his winning ways even dating back to when he was competing in CalChess scholastic events. However, GM Shankland may have taken first place but the prettiest finish was recorded by the player who placed second.
GM Fabiano Caruana, who finished the 2018 US Championship only a half point behind Shankland, had a second round victory which featured a game winning move that instantly became a classic. In the position below, Grandmaster Aleksandr Lenderman (black) has just played 22… a5. After GM Fabiano Caruana’s 23rd move, GM Lenderman resigns. What is Grandmaster Caruana’s (white’s) game winning move?