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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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

 

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