Can You Calculate Like a U.S. Junior Champion?

Two-time U.S. Junior Champion, Awonder Liang. Photo: Austin Fuller / Saint Louis Chess Club
Test out your calculation ability with puzzles from the U.S. Junior Championships. How do your skills compare to America's top prodigies?

Tactic #1

Awonder Liang vs. Alex Bian

How did the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Junior Champion respond to Alex Bian's threat to his knight on c4?
White to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "U.S. Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bian, Alex"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A04"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r3k2r/pp2np1p/q2pb1p1/2p5/2NbP3/6P1/PP3P1P/R1BQRBK1 w kq - 0 14"]
[PlyCount "27"]
[SourceDate "2018.07.23"]14. Be3 $1 {Ignoing Black's threat to make a stronger one.} Bxc4 15. Bxd4 O-O
16. Bf6 Bxf1 17. Qd2 {And Liang's control of the dark squares gave him a
lasting advantage. The game continued:} d5 18. Bxe7 Rfe8 19. Bxc5 Bd3 20. exd5
Qc4 21. d6 Bf5 22. Bd4 Qd5 23. Qf4 Re4 24. Rxe4 Qxe4 25. Qxe4 Bxe4 26. Bf6 Bc6
27. Rc1 {And Black resigned.} *[/pgn]

Tactic #2

Alex Bian vs. Praveen Balakrishnan

Alex Bian had an exceptional tournament, earning a plus score as an underdog of the championship and defeating back-to-back GMs in the process. How did he seal his last round attacking victory against IM Praveen Balakrishnan?
White to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "U.S. Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bian, Alex"]
[Black "Balakrishnan, Praveen"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r6k/p1p1BpRp/2pr3Q/4qb2/8/8/PPP2P1P/2K3R1 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "5"]1. Rg8+ Rxg8 2. Rxg8+ Kxg8 3. Qf8# *[/pgn]
Grandmaster Ruifeng Li. Photo: Austin Fuller / Saint Louis Chess Club

Tactic #3

John Burke vs. Ruifeng Li

How did Ruifeng Li finish off his first victory of the championship?
Black to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "US Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Burke, John"]
[Black "Li, Ruifeng"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "R4bk1/3q2r1/pp5Q/3r4/1P3P2/P5p1/6P1/4R1K1 b - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "7"]1... Qe7 $1 2. Rf1 (2. Rxe7 Rd1+) 2... Qe3+ 3. Kh1 Qe2 4. Kg1 Rd1 *[/pgn]
U.S. Girls' Junior Championship
2018 U.S. Girls' Junior Champion, Carissa Yip, in her post-game interview with GM Robert Hess. Photo: Austin Fuller / Saint Louis Chess Club

Tactic #4

Martha Samadashvili vs. Carissa Yip

The 2018 U.S. Girls' Junior Champion, Carissa Yip, scored 2.5 out of her last 3 rounds to clinch the title. Can you find the tactical sequence that began this winning streak?
Black to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "US Girls' Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Samadashvili, Martha"]
[Black "Yip, Carissa"]
[Result "0-1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r2qr1k1/1pp2bpp/p1n2p2/2Pn4/2BPp1P1/1QP2N1P/3N1P2/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "83"]1... b5 2. cxb6 cxb6 3. Rxe4 Rxe4 4. Nxe4 Na5 5. Rxa5 ({If} 5. Qa2 Nxc4 6. Qxc4
Nf4 7. Qf1 a5 $17) 5... bxa5 {with an extra exchange. Yip eventually won:} 6.
Nc5 Rb8 7. Qa2 Qb6 8. Qa4 Qb1+ 9. Kh2 Qb2 10. Ne4 Qb6 11. Nfd2 h5 12. g5 f5 13.
Ng3 Qc7 14. g6 Be6 15. Kg1 h4 16. Ngf1 Rc8 17. Ne3 Qd6 18. Qa2 Rd8 19. Nf3 Nf4
20. Ne5 Bxc4 21. Qxc4+ Qe6 22. Qc7 Rf8 23. d5 Nxd5 24. Nxd5 Qxd5 25. Nf7 Qd1+
26. Kh2 Qd2 27. Kg2 Qd5+ 28. Kh2 Re8 29. c4 Qe6 30. c5 Qxg6 31. Nd6 Rf8 32. Qd7
f4 33. Nc4 Qf5 34. Qe7 f3 35. Ne3 Qf7 36. Qxh4 Qf4+ 37. Qxf4 Rxf4 38. c6 Rf8
39. Nd5 a4 40. c7 a3 41. Ne7+ Kh7 42. Nc6 Rc8 0-1[/pgn]
Sophie Morris-Suzuki. Photo: Austin Fuller / Saint Louis Chess Club

Tactic #5

Carissa Yip vs. Sophie Morris-Suzuki

Though Sophie Morris-Suzuki had a difficult start at the championship, she returned from the rest day with a renewed mentality for the second half of the tournament, realizing that, "every game is a new tournament". What did she play to win her first game of the event against the tournament leader and eventual champion, Carissa Yip?
Black to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "US Girls' Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Yip, Carissa"]
[Black "Morris-Suzuki, Sophie"]
[Result "0-1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1q1rr1k1/5pnp/1p2p1p1/2n1P3/1bPB2P1/2N1Q2P/3N1P2/2R1R1K1 b - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "31"]1... Rxd4 $3 2. Qxd4 Rd8 3. Qf4 (3. Qe3 Rd3 4. Qf4 Bxc3) 3... Nd3 4. Qh6 Bf8 ({
Stronger was} 4... Nxe1 5. Nce4 Qxe5 $19) 5. Nce4 {and eventually
Morris-Suzuki went on to win:} Nh5 6. Qg5 h6 7. Qh4 Nhf4 8. Nf6+ Kh8 9. Nb3
Nxe1 10. Rxe1 g5 11. Qg3 Rd3 12. Re3 Rxb3 13. Qf3 Qxe5 14. Rxb3 Qa1+ 15. Kh2
Bd6 16. Rb1 Ng6+ {and White resigned.} 0-1[/pgn]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa West is a regular writer and digital assistant for US Chess News. She won the 2017 Chess Journalist of the Year award. You can follow her on Twitter: @Vanessa__West  

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Anything written by Vanessa West is a good read.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] seeds at the Denker include three of our top female players, reigning US Junior Girls Champion Carissa Yip, and Emily Nguyen, who tied for second in the US Junior Girls, as well as Maggie Feng (Ohio), the […]

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