SAINT LOUIS (July 9, 2018) – The skilled and competitive new generation of chess talent will compete for the U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior Chess Championship titles at the Saint Louis Chess Club July 11-21, 2018. The two 10-player fields are filled with young prodigies who are ready to test their mettle in 9 rounds of classical chess. For many of these players, the tournament will serve as a stepping stone to achieving such lofty goals as the Grandmaster titles, elite player status, and potentially World Championship competitions.
This year’s tournament includes an exciting opponent in the 2018 Junior field, as 16-year-old WIM Annie Wang will be competing against all male opponents. She secured the wildcard position in the tournament due to her spectacular second place finish against IM Nazi Paikidze during the playoff of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in April. Wang will be competing for the prize fund of more than $20,000 and a coveted spot in the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship, where she would compete against America’s big three: GM Wesley So, GM Hikaru Nakamura, and world championship contender, GM Fabiano Caruana. Alongside her in the field will be other talented juniors, including previous champions GM Akshat Chandra and defending champion GM Awonder Liang.
“The U.S. Junior Championships are always a great opportunity for us to see what the future of chess looks like,” says Executive Director Tony Rich. “With Annie Wang as the wildcard and all the other young, yet seasoned players, the future of American chess is brighter than ever.”
The U.S. Girls’ Junior section also promises to offer exciting battles with previous U.S. Women’s Championship players FM Maggie Feng, WIM Emily Nguyen, and WIM Jennifer Yu. For many of these players, the tournament is an opportunity to improve their rating and prepare for future major tournaments. Although this tournament is fairly new, it has produced many players who have gone on to shine at major national and international tournaments, while others have taken the skills learned from chess to study at elite universities like Agata Bykovtsev at MIT. Along with winning the title, players will be up for the chance to win a piece of the more than $10,000 prize fund.
Covering all the action will be the expert commentary team of WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and GM Robert Hess. The team will be providing game analysis daily starting at 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.uschesschamps.com.
|GM Ruifeng Li||2686||Rating||Plano, TX|
|GM Awonder Liang||2653||2017 U.S. Junior Champion||Madison, WI|
|GM Andrew Tang||2620||Rating||Plymouth, MN|
|GM John Michael Burke||2608||Rating||Brick, NJ|
|GM Akshat Chandra||2593||Rating||Saint Louis, MO|
|IM Advait Patel||2592||Rating||Midwest City, OK|
|NM Mika Brattain||2519||Rating||Lexington, MA|
|IM Praveen Balakrishnan||2502||2017 Denker Champion||Centreville, VA|
|FM Alex Bian||2411||2017 U.S. Junior Open Champion||Lincolnshire, IL|
|WIM Annie Wang||2372||Wildcard||La Cañada, CA|
|WIM Jennifer Yu||2423||Rating||Ashburn, VA|
|FM Maggie Feng||2355||Rating||Dublin, OH|
|WIM-Elect Carissa Yip||2344||Rating||Andover, MA|
|WIM Emily Nguyen||2285||Rating||Austin, TX|
|WFM Thalia Cervantes||2259||Rating||Webster Groves, MO|
|WCM Rochelle Wu||2217||2017 National Girls Tournament of Champions||Davis, CA|
|WFM Martha Samadashvili||2196||Rating||Albany, NY|
|WFM Nastassja Matus||2183||Wildcard||Plymouth, MN|
|WFM Sanjana Vittal||2161||Rating||East Windsor, NJ|
|Sophie Morris-Suzuki||2155||Rating||New York, NY|
*Invitational ratings are calculated and certified by US Chess. US Chess is solely responsible for invitational ratings.
About the Saint Louis Chess Club
The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.
Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.