2021 U.S. Juniors, Senior Champs R4: Stratification and Surprises

With four rounds in the books at the 2021 U.S. Junior, Girls’ Junior, and Senior Championships, we are beginning to get a sense of who is in form, and who is not. The fields are beginning to self-stratify, with some players chasing their places in history, while others are seeing their hopes dwindle by the hour.

The leaders in the Junior and Senior Championships — GMs Hans Niemann and Gregory Kaidanov, respectively — continued their winning ways in Round Four, cementing their places atop the leaderboards. The most dramatic turn of events was in the Girls’ Junior Championship, where a sharp reversal of fortune shook up the top of the table.

 

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IM Annie Wang
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IM Annie Wang (courtesly SLCC / Bryan Adams)

 

Top-seeded IM Annie Wang entered Round Four at a perfect 3/3, with a full-point cushion over four players with two points. With a US Chess rating advantage of nearly 200 rating points (and a FIDE edge of nearly 250 points!) over her opponent, WIM Rochelle Wu, she had decent reason to hope that her hot hand would continue.

 

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WIM Rochelle Wu
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WIM Rochelle Wu (courtesy SLCC / Bryan Adams)

 

But they play the games for a reason, as the old saying goes. After a back-and-forth battle it was Wang who made the final mistake in a difficult endgame, giving Wu a critical victory. FM Robert Shylakhtenko breaks it all down in his Game of the Day analysis.

[pgn][Event "US Girls champs"] [Site "?"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "?"] [White "Wu, Rochelle"] [Black "Wang, Annie"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D58"] [Annotator "Shlyakhtenko,Robert"] [PlyCount "163"] [EventDate "2021.07.17"] {[%evp 0,163,26,18,22,18,18,18,6,6,25,25,18,-6,15,20,24,1,4,0,1,-25,-44,-33, -24,-67,-46,-36,-30,-29,-20,-82,-40,-48,-15,-40,-25,-22,-23,-18,10,17,21,29,44, 11,33,0,0,0,18,8,28,27,124,28,24,19,19,0,89,45,89,116,116,110,116,110,110,110, 110,110,104,110,141,132,136,132,132,17,16,0,0,-38,-39,-39,-9,-9,-9,-9,0,0,0,0, 0,-25,-62,-84,-87,-99,-99,-116,-105,-116,-116,-108,-79,-68,-30,-29,-15,-9,0,0, 0,0,10,42,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,23,23,0,0,75,75,75,75,53,53,40,0,0,0,390,328,416,80, 478,606,624,715,715,715,723,725,725,735,735,735,745,745,735,745,1012,1032, 29979,29980,29985,29986] Monday's game between Rochelle Wu and Annie Wang was a hugely important game for the standings, and it was well worth the watch. In the excitement of constant mutual time-trouble, the winner was unclear until the very final moves.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Bxf6 Bxf6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. b4 {This move has been played by several famous players, but I do not like it out of principle. In general, the harder we try to prevent a freeing break like c5, the stronger it will be when it finally comes. Such is the case here.} c5 11. bxc5 bxc5 12. Be2 Nc6 13. O-O Bf5 14. Rc1 c4 {The most ambitious move. The game has transposed into a structure typical of the Tarrasch Defense, in which black should have no problems.} 15. Qa4 ({Nothing is gained from} 15. Ne5 Bxe5 16. dxe5 Be6) 15... Ne7 16. Rfd1 Qb6 ({It may have been slightly better to play} 16... Qc7 $5 { and keep the b- and d- lines for the rooks. The main point of this move is to prevent Ne5.}) 17. Ne5 Rfd8 18. h3 Bxe5 ({I think black could have set more problems with} 18... Rab8 {, keeping the pawn structure as it is for now.} 19. e4 {This is probably what black was afraid of.} (19. Bg4 {it is natural for white to seek the exchange of light squared bishops, but after} Bxe5 20. Bxf5 Bc7 $1 {she does not accomplish this.}) 19... Bxe5 20. dxe5 dxe4 {Here white is the one who needs to find a few accurate moves to equalize.} 21. Rb1 $1 (21. Qxc4 e3 {is unpleasant.}) 21... Qc5 22. Rxb8 Rxb8 23. Qxc4 Qxe5 24. Qd4 { Even to get here is not easy, and white still needs to make a few accurate moves to win back the pawn.}) 19. dxe5 Qe6 {Probably missing white's next move. } ({After the preferable} 19... Qc7 {white should play} 20. Rd4 Qxe5 21. Rcd1 { , and again white has enough pressure on the center to compensate the missing pawn.}) 20. Qa5 $1 ({The immediate} 20. f4 $2 {loses to} Qb6) 20... Bg6 $2 { Black overestimates her position.} (20... Qxe5 21. Bxc4 {is the point.}) (20... Nc6 21. Qc5 Nxe5 {was correct, and after} 22. Rxd5 {black should still be able to pose some practical problems in view of the passed c-pawn, even in an endgame.}) 21. f4 {Purely from a structural point of view, white is actually much better, because the d5-pawn is very weak.} Rd7 ({Not} 21... f6 $2 22. Bxc4 ) 22. Nb5 (22. e4 {gives black unnecessary counterplay after} Bxe4 23. Nxe4 dxe4 24. Rxd7 Qxd7 25. Rxc4 e3 $5) ({The simple plan of pressuring black's main weakness was strongest:} 22. Rd2 Rad8 23. Rcd1 {and black is tied down.}) 22... Be4 (22... Rb8 $5 23. Nd6 Rxd6 $1 24. exd6 Qxe3+ {was the best way to equalize, since if white is too ambitious black can start creating threats with ...Nf5!?}) 23. Bg4 ({White maintains the advantage after the consistent} 23. Nd6 Qg6 24. Nxe4 Qxe4 25. Rc3) 23... Qg6 {Of course, white was not about to win a rook.} 24. Rd2 Rdd8 (24... Bf5 $5) 25. Nd6 h5 {At this point both players were already in time pressure.} ({It was possible to seek counterplay with} 25... f5 26. Bd1 Qg3 27. Qc3 Rdb8 {, but making a weakening move like ... f7-f5 is never easy.}) 26. Bd1 ({With three minutes on the clock it would be difficult to decide on a line such as} 26. Bxh5 Qxh5 27. Nxe4 Nc6 28. Qc5 Nxe5 (28... dxe4 $2 29. Qxc6) 29. fxe5 dxe4 30. Rxd8+ Rxd8 31. Rxc4 {, especially since black maintains residual threats against white's king.}) 26... Rdb8 $2 27. Qc5 $2 (27. Nxe4 $1 Qxe4 28. Qa3 $1 {was very strong, intending} Nf5 29. Bf3 Qxe3+ 30. Qxe3 Nxe3 31. Kf2) 27... Nf5 $1 {Correctly seeking counterplay.} 28. Nxe4 dxe4 29. Rxc4 Rd8 30. Qa5 $1 {The most difficult move for black to meet, especially with little time.} Rdc8 ({The computer indicates that black could draw immediately with} 30... Qg3 $1 31. Rxd8+ Kh7 $3 32. Rxa8 Qxe3+ { and perpetual check. However, even discounting the time pressure, finding this is very difficult.}) 31. Rxc8+ Rxc8 32. Rd8+ Rxd8 33. Qxd8+ Kh7 34. Qd2 Qb6 $1 {Black manages to rapidly adjust to the change in circumstances. White is up a pawn, but black's constant threats will make it very difficult to convert it.} ({The "blitz" move} 34... Qg3 {just loses to} 35. Bxh5 Nxe3 36. Qf2) 35. Kf2 h4 $1 {Blockading the majority and creating an outpost square for the knight.} 36. Bb3 Kg8 ({Already black could have played} 36... Ng3 $1 37. Bxf7 Qb1 38. Qe1 Nh1+ {, with an amusing perpetual check.}) 37. Qc3 g6 38. Bc2 (38. Bd5 Ng3 39. Qb3 $2 {does not work immediately, because of} Qa5 $1) ({The best plan was} 38. a4 {, with the idea of a5 and restricting black's pieces.} a5 {This takes away a valuable square from black's queen.} 39. Bd5 Ng3 40. Qb3 {with a winning position.}) 38... Ng3 39. Qd4 Qa6 $1 {An important only move. The threat of ... Qf1# gives black the counterplay she needs.} 40. Qd1 ({Neither does white gain anything from} 40. Qd8+ Kg7 41. Qxh4 Qe2+ 42. Kxg3 Qe1+ 43. Kg4 Qe2+ 44. Kg5 $5 Qxg2+ 45. Qg4 Qxc2) 40... Qxa2 {The position has transformed once more, and again black starts playing for a win.} 41. Qd8+ Kh7 $5 {A good try.} 42. Qc7 ({ The idea is} 42. Qxh4+ Nh5 {and white cannot protect the bishop.}) 42... a5 43. Ke1 Qd5 44. Bd1 Nf5 45. Qc3 Qa2 {White is under some pressure and now makes what should have been a losing mistake.} 46. Qb3 $2 ({It was not at all easy to see} 46. Bg4 Qxg2 (46... Ng3 47. Qc5 {with enough counterplay.}) 47. Bxf5 gxf5 48. Qc7 {, drawing.}) 46... Qxb3 47. Bxb3 Nxe3 48. Kf2 Nf5 {With two passed pawns, black should be winning.} 49. Bxf7 a4 50. Ke2 a3 51. Bc4 Kg7 { However, this misses the key idea. White always has some saving chances as long as the f4- and e5- pawns stay together.} ({Thus, black should have played } 51... g5 $1 52. fxg5 Kg6 {with a simple win.}) 52. Kd2 Kf8 53. Ba2 Ke7 54. Kc3 {White gained enough time to activate her king, and now it's unclear if black can even win.} Ne3 $6 {Black is able to force white to sacrifice the bishop for both passed pawns, but this essentially gives up any hopes of winning the game.} 55. Kd4 $1 Nd1 56. Bb3 e3 57. Kd3 e2 58. Kxe2 Nc3+ 59. Kf3 a2 60. Bxa2 Nxa2 61. Kg4 Nc3 62. Kxh4 {Now we reach the final phase of this game. White is clearly the one playing for a win, but the position is still objectively a draw.} Ne4 63. Kg4 Ke6 64. h4 Nc5 65. Kg5 Kf7 66. f5 Ne4+ 67. Kf4 gxf5 68. Kxf5 Ng3+ 69. Kg4 Nf1 $2 {A mistake -- Black allows the knight to be cut off. It should be mentioned that both players were, once again, low on time.} (69... Ne4 70. h5 Nc5 $1 71. Kf5 Ne6 {still holds the draw, though it's still easy to imagine white winning this in a time scramble.}) 70. Kf4 (70. h5 {was simpler. Again, black cannot bring back the knight in time:} Ne3+ 71. Kg5 Nc4 72. e6+ $1 Kxe6 73. Kg6 Ne5+ 74. Kg7) 70... Nd2 71. h5 $2 ({The only winning move was} 71. Kf5 $3 {, intending} Nb3 72. e6+ Ke7 73. Kg6 {and wins, as we saw before.}) 71... Nc4 $2 {The final mistake.} ({The knight had to make its way to the blockading square e6.} 71... Nb3 $3 72. Kg5 (72. Kf5 Nd4+ 73. Kg5 {does not achieve anything, unlike the game, because black's knight can give another check on e6.}) 72... Nd4 73. h6 Ne6+ 74. Kh5 Nf8 $11) 72. Kf5 $1 Ne3+ 73. Kg5 $1 {Black's knight is coralled and cannot reach a useful square in time.} Nc4 74. e6+ $1 {The big point, as we have seen before. As soon as white gets the king to g7, the position is winning.} Kxe6 75. Kg6 Ne5+ 76. Kg7 Kf5 77. h6 Ng6 78. h7 Kg5 79. g4 $1 {The final point. Black is in zuzgwang.} Nh8 80. Kxh8 Kh6 81. Kg8 Kg6 82. h8=Q {A dramatic game with many twists and turns. Even 25 moves earlier, it would have been impossible predict that the blockaded pawn on h3 would be the one to promote!} 1-0 [/pgn]

This win sends Wu into a tie for first place with Wang and Ruiyang Yan, who defeated the surprising Sheena Zeng to move to 3/4.

Other results from the fourth round of the Girls’ Junior: WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki defeated Susanna Ulrich, while WFM Sanjana Vittal took down Alice Lee. WIM Thalia Cervantes Landeros split the point with WFM Martha Samadashvili.

[pgn][Event "U.S. Girls Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Morris-Suzuki, Sophie"] [Black "Ulrich, Susanna"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D17"] [WhiteElo "2043"] [BlackElo "1974"] [PlyCount "109"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Na6 7. e3 Nb4 8. Bxc4 e6 9. O-O Bd6 10. Qe2 Nc2 11. Rb1 Nd5 12. Bb3 Bxe5 13. Bxc2 Bxc2 14. Qxc2 Bc7 15. Ne4 Nb4 16. Qc4 Bxh2+ 17. Kxh2 Qh4+ 18. Kg1 Qxe4 19. Bd2 Nd5 20. f3 Qh4 21. Qb3 Rb8 22. e4 Nf4 23. Qe3 Ng6 24. d5 O-O 25. d6 e5 26. Qxa7 Qf6 27. Qc5 Rfd8 28. Ba5 Rd7 29. Qa7 Re8 30. Bc7 Nf4 31. Rf2 b5 32. Qb6 bxa4 33. Qxc6 Qe6 34. Qxa4 f5 35. Qc6 fxe4 36. Qxe4 Qf7 37. Rc2 Ne6 38. Rbc1 Nd4 39. Rc4 Nb3 40. R1c2 Nd4 41. Rc1 Nb5 42. Rc6 Nd4 43. Ra6 Nb5 44. Qa4 Nd4 45. Qc4 Rc8 46. b4 Kf8 47. Qxf7+ Kxf7 48. Kf2 Nb5 49. Rc5 Nxc7 50. Rac6 Ne6 51. Rxc8 Nxc5 52. bxc5 Ke6 53. c6 Rxd6 54. Re8+ Kf7 55. c7 1-0 [Event "U.S. Girls Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Wu, Rochelle"] [Black "Wang, Annie"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D58"] [WhiteElo "2138"] [BlackElo "2384"] [PlyCount "163"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 b6 8. Bxf6 Bxf6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. b4 c5 11. bxc5 bxc5 12. Be2 Nc6 13. O-O Bf5 14. Rc1 c4 15. Qa4 Ne7 16. Rfd1 Qb6 17. Ne5 Rfd8 18. h3 Bxe5 19. dxe5 Qe6 20. Qa5 Bg6 21. f4 Rd7 22. Nb5 Be4 23. Bg4 Qg6 24. Rd2 Rdd8 25. Nd6 h5 26. Bd1 Rdb8 27. Qc5 Nf5 28. Nxe4 dxe4 29. Rxc4 Rd8 30. Qa5 Rdc8 31. Rxc8+ Rxc8 32. Rd8+ Rxd8 33. Qxd8+ Kh7 34. Qd2 Qb6 35. Kf2 h4 36. Bb3 Kg8 37. Qc3 g6 38. Bc2 Ng3 39. Qd4 Qa6 40. Qd1 Qxa2 41. Qd8+ Kh7 42. Qc7 a5 43. Ke1 Qd5 44. Bd1 Nf5 45. Qc3 Qa2 46. Qb3 Qxb3 47. Bxb3 Nxe3 48. Kf2 Nf5 49. Bxf7 a4 50. Ke2 a3 51. Bc4 Kg7 52. Kd2 Kf8 53. Ba2 Ke7 54. Kc3 Ne3 55. Kd4 Nd1 56. Bb3 e3 57. Kd3 e2 58. Kxe2 Nc3+ 59. Kf3 a2 60. Bxa2 Nxa2 61. Kg4 Nc3 62. Kxh4 Ne4 63. Kg4 Ke6 64. h4 Nc5 65. Kg5 Kf7 66. f5 Ne4+ 67. Kf4 gxf5 68. Kxf5 Ng3+ 69. Kg4 Nf1 70. Kf4 Nd2 71. h5 Nc4 72. Kf5 Ne3+ 73. Kg5 Nc4 74. e6+ Kxe6 75. Kg6 Ne5+ 76. Kg7 Kf5 77. h6 Ng6 78. h7 Kg5 79. g4 Nh8 80. Kxh8 Kh6 81. Kg8 Kg6 82. h8=Q 1-0 [Event "U.S. Girls Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Cervantes Landeiro, Thalia"] [Black "Samadashvili, Martha"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D38"] [WhiteElo "2226"] [BlackElo "2215"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. dxc5 Nbd7 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Rc1 Nxc5 11. e3 O-O 12. Be2 Ne4 13. Qd4 Qxd4 14. Nxd4 Bd7 15. f3 Nxc3 16. bxc3 Rac8 17. Kd2 Ba5 18. Nb3 Bb6 19. Bd3 Rc7 20. c4 dxc4 21. Rxc4 Rxc4 22. Bxc4 Rd8 23. Ke2 Bc6 24. e4 a5 25. Rb1 Bc7 26. g3 b5 27. Bd3 Bb6 28. Nd2 b4 29. Rc1 Be8 30. Nc4 Bd4 31. Nxa5 Ra8 32. Nb3 Rxa2+ 33. Rc2 Rxc2+ 34. Bxc2 Bc3 35. Bd3 1/2-1/2 [Event "U.S. Girls Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Zeng, Sheena"] [Black "Yan, Ruiyang"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2013"] [BlackElo "2111"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 c5 4. Bg2 cxd4 5. Nxd4 e5 6. Nb3 Nc6 7. O-O h6 8. Nc3 Be6 9. e3 Be7 10. f4 e4 11. Nd4 Bc5 12. Nce2 Bg4 13. c3 Bxd4 14. exd4 Qd7 15. Qe1 Ne7 16. Qf2 h5 17. Re1 Rc8 18. Bd2 h4 19. b3 hxg3 20. Nxg3 Bh3 21. Nf1 Nf5 22. Bxh3 Rxh3 23. Qg2 Nh4 24. Qxg7 Ke7 25. Ng3 Rg8 26. Qxg8 Nxg8 27. Re2 Qg4 0-1 [Event "U.S. Girls Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Vittal, Sanjana"] [Black "Lee, Alice"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B23"] [WhiteElo "1938"] [BlackElo "1972"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nf3 a6 5. Bd3 g6 6. Nxd4 cxd4 7. Ne2 d5 8. c3 dxe4 9. Bxe4 d3 10. Ng3 f5 11. Bf3 Qb6 12. O-O Bd7 13. a4 O-O-O 14. Ra3 Qc7 15. b4 e5 16. Bb2 Bg7 17. c4 Be6 18. Bd5 Qe7 19. Rxd3 Bxd5 20. cxd5 Qxb4 21. Qc2+ Kb8 22. Rc1 Ka8 23. Qc7 Qe7 24. Qb6 Rb8 25. Ba3 Qf6 26. Rc6 Qd8 27. Rc7 Bf8 28. d6 Ne7 29. dxe7 Qxd3 30. Bc5 1-0 [/pgn]

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Girls Junior, Rd4 standings
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courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios

GM Hans Niemann defeated IM Andrew Hong in fine fashion to stay atop the Junior Championship table. At 3½/4, Niemann has a half-point lead over last year’s winner, GM John Burke, and the 2020 U.S. Cadet champion, IM Christopher Yoo.

 

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GM Hans Niemann
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GM Hans Niemann (courtesy SLCC / Crystal Fuller)

 

In other results from the Junior Championship, Burke defeated IM David Brodsky, while GM Brandon Jacobson won with Black against IM Ben Li. The matchup between IM Praveen Balakrishnan and GM Nicolas Checa was drawn, as was the game between Yoo and IM Justin Wang.

[pgn][Event "U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Balakrishnan, Praveen"] [Black "Checa, Nicolas"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D27"] [WhiteElo "2507"] [BlackElo "2552"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 dxc4 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. O-O a6 7. dxc5 Qxd1 8. Rxd1 Bxc5 9. a3 b5 10. Be2 Ke7 11. b4 Bd6 12. Bb2 Bb7 13. Be5 Bxe5 14. Nxe5 Nbd7 15. Nxd7 Nxd7 16. Nd2 Rhc8 17. Rdc1 Nb6 18. f3 f5 19. Kf2 e5 20. Nb3 Na4 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Rc1 Kd6 23. Rxc8 Bxc8 24. e4 Be6 25. Nd2 f4 26. Bd1 Nb6 27. Ke2 g5 28. h3 h6 29. Bc2 Kc6 30. Bd1 Bc4+ 31. Ke1 Be6 32. Bc2 Nc8 33. Bb3 Bxb3 34. Nxb3 Nd6 35. Na5+ Kb6 36. Kd2 h5 37. Kd3 Kc7 38. Ke2 g4 39. hxg4 hxg4 40. Kd3 g3 41. Ke2 Kd7 42. Kd3 Nc8 43. Ke2 Nb6 44. Kd3 Kc7 45. Ke2 Na4 46. Kd3 Nb2+ 47. Kc2 Na4 48. Kd3 Nb2+ 49. Kc2 Na4 1/2-1/2 [Event "U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Burke, John M"] [Black "Brodsky, David"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2538"] [BlackElo "2455"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nb3 e6 7. g4 b5 8. Bg2 Bb7 9. a3 Be7 10. g5 Nfd7 11. f4 h6 12. h4 hxg5 13. hxg5 Rxh1+ 14. Bxh1 Qb6 15. Qf3 Nc6 16. Be3 Nc5 17. g6 b4 18. gxf7+ Kxf7 19. Na4 Bh4+ 20. Kd1 Qd8 21. Naxc5 dxc5+ 22. Kc1 bxa3 23. Rxa3 Nd4 24. Qh5+ Kg8 25. Nxc5 Rb8 26. Rd3 Qa5 27. Qxh4 Qa1+ 28. Kd2 Qa5+ 29. Kd1 Qa1+ 30. Bc1 e5 31. fxe5 Rf8 32. Rxd4 1-0 [Event "U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Hong, Andrew"] [Black "Niemann, Hans Moke"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2474"] [BlackElo "2571"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Nc6 6. Qf4 g6 7. Nc3 d4 8. Ne4 Bh6 9. Neg5 f6 10. exf6 exf6 11. Qe4+ Kf8 12. Ne6+ Bxe6 13. Bxh6+ Kf7 14. Bd2 Bd5 15. Qe2 Nge7 16. O-O-O Re8 17. Qd3 Qb6 18. Qb5 Qxb5 19. Bxb5 a6 20. Bd3 Bxf3 21. gxf3 Ne5 22. Be4 f5 23. Bf4 N5c6 24. Bd3 b5 25. Bd6 Nd5 26. a4 Red8 27. Bc5 Rab8 28. axb5 axb5 29. Rhe1 Nf4 30. b3 Rd5 31. Ba3 Nxd3+ 32. Rxd3 Ne5 33. Rxe5 Rxe5 34. Rxd4 Re1+ 35. Kb2 Rb7 36. Rd2 b4 37. Bxb4 Rxb4 38. Rd7+ Re7 39. Rd2 Ke6 40. c3 Rh4 41. c4 Rd7 42. Re2+ Kd6 43. Kc3 Kc7 44. b4 Rdd4 0-1 [Event "U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Wang, Justin"] [Black "Yoo, Christopher Woojin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2467"] [BlackElo "2474"] [PlyCount "156"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Nxc3 d5 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O d4 11. Ne2 e5 12. h3 Re8 13. Ng3 Nd7 14. f4 exf4 15. Bxf4 Nde5 16. Qh5 f6 17. b4 Be6 18. Rac1 a6 19. Bd2 b5 20. Be1 Qd7 21. Ne2 Nc4 22. Bf2 Bf7 23. Qf5 Qxf5 24. exf5 Nxa3 25. Be1 Nc4 26. Rf4 Rad8 27. Re4 N4e5 28. Nf4 g5 29. fxg6 hxg6 30. h4 g5 31. hxg5 fxg5 32. Nh3 Bg6 33. Nxg5 Bxe4 34. Bxe4 Rd7 35. Ra1 Rg7 36. Bd5+ Kh8 37. Ne6 Rd7 38. Bb3 Rde7 39. Ng5 Rg7 40. Ne6 Rg6 41. Nf4 Rg4 42. Ne6 Nf3+ 43. Kf2 Nxe1 44. Rxe1 Rh4 45. g4 Nd8 46. Nxd8 Rxd8 47. Kg3 Rh7 48. Kf4 Rc7 49. Kg5 d3 50. cxd3 Rxd3 51. Re8+ Kg7 52. Be6 Re3 53. Rg8+ Kh7 54. Re8 Rf3 55. Bf5+ Kg7 56. Re6 Ra3 57. Rg6+ Kf7 58. Rf6+ Kg8 59. Rb6 Kg7 60. Rg6+ Kf8 61. Rf6+ Rf7 62. Rb6 Ra4 63. Kg6 Rg7+ 64. Kf6 Rf7+ 65. Kg6 Re7 66. Kf6 Ra1 67. g5 Rf7+ 68. Kg6 Re1 69. Rxa6 Rg7+ 70. Kf6 Rf7+ 71. Kg6 Rb7 72. Kf6 Rb8 73. g6 Rf1 74. Rc6 Kg8 75. g7 Rf2 76. Ra6 Rf1 77. Rc6 Rf2 78. Ra6 Rf1 1/2-1/2 [Event "U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Li, Ben"] [Black "Jacobson, Brandon"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E90"] [WhiteElo "2376"] [BlackElo "2504"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 Na6 9. Be2 Qe8 10. Nd2 Nd7 11. a3 f6 12. Bh4 Nb6 13. b3 Bh6 14. O-O Qf7 15. Rb1 f5 16. b4 Qg7 17. Qc2 axb4 18. axb4 g5 19. Bg3 f4 20. Bh2 g4 21. Bxg4 Bxg4 22. hxg4 Qxg4 23. f3 Qg6 24. Rf2 Kh8 25. Na4 Bg5 26. Nf1 Bh4 27. Rd2 Rg8 28. Nxb6 cxb6 29. Qc3 Rg7 30. Qa3 Rag8 31. c5 bxc5 32. bxc5 Nxc5 33. Ra1 Qh5 34. Raa2 Rg6 35. Qc3 Rf6 36. Rdc2 Bg3 37. Bxg3 fxg3 38. Ne3 Nxe4 39. Qe1 Ng5 40. Qd1 Rxf3 41. gxf3 Nxf3+ 42. Kg2 Rf8 43. Qh1 Nh4+ 44. Kg1 g2 45. Qxh4 Qxh4 46. Nxg2 Qd4+ 47. Kh2 Qxd5 48. Rd2 Qe6 49. Rdc2 e4 50. Re2 d5 51. Ra7 Qd6+ 52. Kg1 Qb6+ 0-1 [/pgn]

 

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Rd4 Standings, 2021 Junior Ch
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios

 

In the Senior Championship, a miscalculation by GM Joel Benjamin helped GM Gregory Kaidanov coast to victory, putting him at 3½ points after four rounds.

 

Image
Kaidanov-Benjamin, before play starts
Image Caption
Kaidanov and Benjamin (courtesy SLCC / Bryan Adams)

 

[pgn][Event "U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Kaidanov, Gregory"] [Black "Benjamin, Joel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E81"] [WhiteElo "2547"] [BlackElo "2506"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Nge2 Nbd7 7. Be3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. g4 e5 10. d5 Nb6 11. Ng3 Bxg4 $2 {As it turns out, this is a rather dramatic miscalculation.} 12. fxg4 Nxg4 13. cxb5 Nxe3 14. Qxe3 f5 15. exf5 gxf5 16. bxa6 Qh4 ({Perhaps Benjamin originally missed} 16... f4 17. Qe4 fxg3 18. Bd3 $1 $18 {. The text move is too slow, allowing White to get out of trouble.} ) 17. Qf2 Na4 ({Now} 17... f4 {is met with} 18. Nge4 {and Black is busted.}) 18. Bb5 Nxc3 19. bxc3 Qg5 20. Rg1 Qh4 21. Ne2 Qh6 22. a7 $1 Kh8 23. Bc6 Bf6 ({ White's point is that after} 23... Rac8 24. Rb1 Bf6 25. Rb4 e4 {(wti ...Bxc3 and ...Qc1+ tricks)} 26. Kd1 $1 {White wins easily.}) 24. Bxa8 Bh4 25. Ng3 f4 26. Bc6 $1 fxg3 27. Qxf8+ Qxf8 28. a8=Q gxh2+ 29. Ke2 hxg1=N+ 30. Rxg1 1-0 [/pgn]

Hot on Kaidanov’s heels is GM Larry Christiansen, who ground down IM Leonid Sokolin in a long endgame.

 

Image
GM Larry Christiansen
Image Caption
GM Larry Christiansen (courtesy SLCC / Crystal Fuller)

 

In other results from the fourth round of the Senior Championship, GM Alexander Shabalov defeated GM Melik Khachiyan, while the remaining two games — Fishbein – Tarjan and Yermolinsky – Novikov — were drawn.

[pgn][Event "U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Fishbein, Alexander"] [Black "Tarjan, James"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2417"] [BlackElo "2381"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 a6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 c6 11. O-O Be6 12. Ne2 Nd7 13. Nf4 Bg4 14. Bb1 Re8 15. Rc3 a5 16. h3 Bxf3 17. Qxf3 Be7 18. Nd3 Bd6 19. Rfc1 g6 20. g3 Kg7 21. Re1 Qe7 22. Rcc1 h5 23. Nf4 Nf6 24. Kg2 Rad8 25. h4 Ne4 26. Nh3 Bc7 27. Bxe4 dxe4 28. Qd1 Rd5 29. Ng5 f6 30. Nh3 Red8 31. Qe2 Qe6 32. b3 g5 33. hxg5 fxg5 34. Rh1 h4 35. gxh4 gxh4 36. Rcg1 c5 37. Kf1+ Kf6 38. Rg4 cxd4 39. Nf4 Bxf4 40. Rxf4+ Ke7 41. exd4 Rxd4 42. Rhxh4 Rd1+ 43. Kg2 Rg8+ 44. Kh2 Rdg1 45. Qxe4 Qxe4 46. Rxe4+ Kd6 47. Ref4 b5 48. Rf6+ Ke5 49. Rf3 Ke6 50. Rg3 R8xg3 51. fxg3 Ra1 52. Re4+ Kf5 53. Re2 a4 54. bxa4 bxa4 55. Kg2 a3 56. Kf3 Rf1+ 57. Ke3 Kg4 58. Kd4 Kxg3 59. Kc4 Kf4 60. Re8 Rf3 61. Kb4 Rh3 62. Re7 Kf5 1/2-1/2 [Event "U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Yermolinsky, Alex"] [Black "Novikov, Igor"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2478"] [BlackElo "2554"] [PlyCount "49"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e6 7. g4 h6 8. Bg2 g5 9. b3 Nbd7 10. Bb2 Ne5 11. Qd2 Bd7 12. O-O-O Qc7 13. f4 gxf4 14. Qxf4 Be7 15. Kb1 O-O-O 16. Rhf1 Be8 17. Qd2 Kb8 18. Rf2 Nfd7 19. Rff1 Bg5 20. Qe1 Be7 21. Nf5 Bf8 22. Nd4 Be7 23. Nf5 Bf8 24. Ng3 Be7 25. Nf5 1/2-1/2 [Event "U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Kaidanov, Gregory"] [Black "Benjamin, Joel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E81"] [WhiteElo "2547"] [BlackElo "2506"] [PlyCount "59"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Nge2 Nbd7 7. Be3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. g4 e5 10. d5 Nb6 11. Ng3 Bxg4 12. fxg4 Nxg4 13. cxb5 Nxe3 14. Qxe3 f5 15. exf5 gxf5 16. bxa6 Qh4 17. Qf2 Na4 18. Bb5 Nxc3 19. bxc3 Qg5 20. Rg1 Qh4 21. Ne2 Qh6 22. a7 Kh8 23. Bc6 Bf6 24. Bxa8 Bh4 25. Ng3 f4 26. Bc6 fxg3 27. Qxf8+ Qxf8 28. a8=Q gxh2+ 29. Ke2 hxg1=N+ 30. Rxg1 1-0 [Event "U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Sokolin, Leonid"] [Black "Christiansen, Larry"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B31"] [WhiteElo "2497"] [PlyCount "140"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. Re1 e5 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. d3 Qe7 8. a3 Nf6 9. b4 O-O 10. bxc5 Qxc5 11. a4 Re8 12. h3 h6 13. Ba3 Qa5 14. Nbd2 Be6 15. Qb1 Qc7 16. Qb4 Rad8 17. Reb1 b6 18. Nc4 c5 19. Qb5 Bd7 20. Qb3 Nh5 21. Bc1 Bc6 22. Be3 Kh7 23. a5 b5 24. Ncd2 Bf8 25. Re1 a6 26. Qc3 Bd7 27. Kh2 f5 28. Nb3 Rc8 29. Rad1 f4 30. Bc1 Bg7 31. g4 fxg3+ 32. fxg3 Be6 33. Be3 Rf8 34. Rf1 Nf4 35. Ng1 b4 36. Qb2 Qd6 37. Nxc5 Rxc5 38. Bxc5 Qxc5 39. gxf4 exf4 40. d4 Qxa5 41. e5 Bd5 42. Rb1 Qc7 43. Rbc1 Qc4 44. Rf2 a5 45. Ra1 Qb5 46. Ne2 Bc6 47. c4 Qxc4 48. Rxa5 f3 49. Ng3 Rf4 50. Rc5 Qe6 51. Rxc6 Qxc6 52. Qd2 Rh4 53. d5 Qc4 54. Rxf3 Qg4 55. Qe3 Qxh3+ 56. Kg1 Rc4 57. Ne2 Qg4+ 58. Rg3 Re4 59. Rxg4 Rxe3 60. Rxb4 Rxe2 61. e6 Re5 62. Rb5 g5 63. Rb8 Kg6 64. Rg8 Kh7 65. Rd8 Bf6 66. Rf8 Kg7 67. Rf7+ Kg6 68. Rd7 h5 69. Kg2 g4 70. Kg3 Kg5 0-1 [Event "U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "Saint Louis, United States"] [Date "2021.07.19"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Khachiyan, Melikset"] [Black "Shabalov, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C11"] [WhiteElo "2474"] [BlackElo "2521"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2021.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 a6 7. Be3 Qb6 8. Na4 Qa5+ 9. c3 cxd4 10. b4 Qc7 11. Qxd4 Be7 12. Be2 b5 13. Nb2 f6 14. O-O O-O 15. a4 bxa4 16. Nxa4 Nc6 17. Qd2 fxe5 18. fxe5 Bb7 19. Nd4 Rxf1+ 20. Rxf1 Ncxe5 21. Bg5 Bxg5 22. Qxg5 Re8 23. Qg3 Qd8 24. Nc5 Nxc5 25. bxc5 Nc6 26. Bh5 Nxd4 27. cxd4 Re7 28. Qf4 g6 29. Bg4 Bc8 30. Qb8 h5 31. Bh3 Kh7 32. Rf6 Qc7 33. Qb1 Rg7 34. Qe1 a5 35. g4 e5 36. Qxe5 Qxe5 37. dxe5 Re7 38. Rc6 hxg4 39. Bg2 Bf5 40. Rd6 Rxe5 41. Bxd5 Re1+ 42. Kf2 Rc1 43. c6 Kh6 44. Ke3 Kg5 45. Rd8 Rd1 46. c7 Rc1 47. Ra8 Rc5 48. Kd4 Rxc7 49. Rxa5 Rc2 50. Ra2 Rxa2 51. Bxa2 Kh4 0-1 [/pgn]

 

Image
Rd4 Standings, 2021 Senior Ch
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios

 

Each round of the 2021 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships begins daily at 3:00 p.m. central time, along with live commentary from GMs Yasser Seirawan and Cristian Chirila, and host Sharon Carpenter on www.uschesschamps.com or the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch channels.

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