2021 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships Return to St. Louis in July

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WIM Thalia Cervantes
Image Caption
WIM Thalia Cervantes in the 2019 U.S. Junior Girls Championship. // photo Saint Louis Chess Club

 

National championship chess returns to the board in America’s Chess Capital, as the 2021 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships are set to begin in the Saint Louis Chess Club on July 15.  

US Chess tracks six categories for annual national titles, and ten qualifying players in three of those fields have been invited to St. Louis to compete for 2021 crowns. The U.S. Junior Championship, inviting the top junior players under the age of 20, is one of America’s oldest scholastic tournaments and grants its winner a seed in the overall US Chess Championship. The Junior Girls Championship was created in 2017 and offers the same prize into the U.S. Women’s Championship; while the Senior Championship, inviting the top American players over the age of 50, was begun in 2019. 

 

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2020 US Chess Junior Champion GM John Burke
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2020 US Chess Junior Champion GM John Burke // photo Saint Louis Chess Club

 

2021 U.S. Junior Championship Field

Name

Invitational Rating*

Qualification

Hometown

GM Nicolas Checa

2648

 2020 Denker High School Tournament of Champions

Dobbs Ferry, NY 

 GM John Michael Burke

 2618

2020 U.S. Junior Champion

 Brick, NJ

GM Praveen Balakrishnan

2605

Rating

Centreville VA

GM Hans Niemann

2599

Rating

Weston, CT

GM Brandon Jacobson

2572

Rating

Westfield, NJ

IM David Brodsky

2564

Rating

Cortlandt Manor, NY

IM Andrew Hong

2543

Rating

Saratoga, CA

IM Christopher Yoo

2540

Rating

Dublin, CA

IM Justin Wang

2540

Rating

Katy, TX

IM Ben Li

2477

Wildcard

Troy, MI

 

After the first-ever online version of these championship events during the pandemic year of 2020, ready to defend their titles with physical pieces are reigning Junior and Senior Champions, 20-year-old Webster University student GM John Burke and US Chess Hall of Fame GM Joel Benjamin. But the U.S. is set to see a new Girls champion in 2021, as 17-year-old Massachusetts IM Carissa Yip, the previous three-peat champion who is now ranked as the overall No. 2 female in the U.S., will not return to defend her U20 title. 

 

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IM Carissa Yip
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IM Carissa Yip, now the No. 2 Woman in the U.S., will not return to defend her three-time title as US Chess Girls Champion. // photo Saint Louis Chess Club

 

2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship Field

Name

Invitational Rating*

Qualification

Hometown

IM Annie Wang

2457

Rating

La Canada, CA

WIM Thalia Cervantes

2346

Rating

St. Louis, MO

WFM Martha Samadashvili

2340

Rating

Albany, NY

WIM Rochelle Wu

2274

Rating

Davis, CA

WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki

2244

Rating

Waccabuc, NY 

WCM Ruiyang Yan

2242

Rating

Mountain View CA 

WCM Sheen Zeng

2201

Rating

Hays, KS

WCM Alice Lee

2200

Rating

North Oaks, MN

Susanna Ulrich 

2193

Wildcard

Appleton, WI

WFM Sanjana Vittal

2182

Rating

East Windsor, NJ

 

Up for grabs is the next U.S. Girls crown, fought over by a quickly rising cast of America's future women stars, including top-seeds IM Annie Wang and WIM Thalia Cervantes, as well as the Minnesota 11-year-old WCM Alice Lee. Five GMs will fight for the 2021 Junior title, including 2020 Denker High School Tournament of Champions winner GM Nicolas Checa; Connecticut 18-year-old and recently minted GM Hans Niemann; and 2020 U.S. Cadet Champion IM Christopher Yoo. And the 2021 Seniors Championship maintains itself as a highlight of American legends, with half of the 2021 field members of the US Chess Hall of Fame.

 

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U.S. Chess Senior Championship
Image Caption
GMs Joel Benjamin, Larry Christiansen and Gregory Kaidanov are all members of the US Chess Hall of Fame. // photo Saint Louis Chess Club

 

2021 U.S. Senior Championship Field

Name

Invitational Rating*

Qualification

Hometown

GM Larry Christiansen**

2634

Rating

Cambridge, MA

GM Alex Shabalov**

2629

Rating

Pittsburgh, PA

GM Gregory Kaidanov**

2626

Rating

Lexington, KY

GM Igor Novikov

2623

Rating

Lexington, KY

GM Joel Benjamin**

2586

2020 U.S. Senior Champion

Waldwick, NJ

GM Alex Yermolinsky**

2560

Rating

Sioux Falls, SD

IM Leonid Sokolin

2547

Rating

Westfield, NJ

GM Melikset Khachiyan

2544

Rating

Glendale,CA 

GM Alex Fishbein

2495

2020 National Senior ToC

Summit, NJ

GM James Tarjan

2425

Wildcard

Portland, OR

* Invitational ratings are calculated and certified by US Chess
** US Chess Hall of Fame members 

 

Each of the three championship events will be played as 10-player round robins, using a classical time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second per-move increment. One game will be played per day through July 25, with a rest day on July 21. The 2021 U.S. Junior and Junior Girls Championships carry prize funds of $20,000 and $10,000 respectively, and both of its winners will earn a $6,000 scholarship jointly supported by US Chess and its Dean of Scholastics Dewain Barber. The 2021 U.S. Senior Championship has a prize fund of $50,000. 

Due to continued COVID restrictions, spectators are not allowed inside these events, though the Saint Louis Chess Club will broadcast the action live with commentary on www.uschesschamps.com, as well as its YouTube and Twitch.tv channels. Opening ceremonies will be held July 15, with play beginning Friday, July 16 at 3:00 p.m. central time. For more information, visit www.uschesschamps.com

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