Can You Wow Like Awonder and Sam?

Awonder at the Saint Louis Chess Club
Congrats to 14-year-old Awonder Liang, who earned his second GM norm on the way to winning his section of the 2017 Spring Chess Classic. A trio of strong round robins were hosted from May 16-24 in Saint Louis.  Awonder won the "B" group with 7.5/9, a full point ahead of his nearest rival Cristian Chirila, who also had an outstanding performance. Awonder earned his first GM norm last year in El Salvador. He gained over 30 rating points at the Spring Classic, which will boost him over 2500, leaving just the final norm between him and the Grandmaster title. Liang started the Classic off with a bang. How did he seize the upperhand in round one against GM Tamaz Gelashvili?

Black to Move

Show Solution
Awonder found the unusual discovery ...Ne1! (...Nb4 is well met by Nc4) and won after a lot of fun complications.

[Event "St Louis Spring Classic B"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2017.05.16"]
[White "Gelashvili, Tamaz"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B20"]
[WhiteElo "2563"]
[BlackElo "2488"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r2k4/p2qp1Bp/bpn1pp1P/2p1b1pB/8/NPPn2P1/P2PQP2/R4K1R w - - 0 20"]
[PlyCount "58"]
[EventDate "2017.05.16"]

20. Bf3 Ne1 21. Qxa6 Nxf3 22. d4 cxd4 23. Qd3 Qd5 24. c4 Qe4 25. Qxe4 Nd2+ 26.
Kg2 Nxe4 27. f4 gxf4 28. gxf4 Bxf4 29. Kf3 Bd6 30. Kxe4 Bxa3 31. Raf1 Kd7 32.
Bxf6 exf6 33. Rxf6 Rg8 34. Rf7+ Kd6 35. Rg7 Rh8 36. Rf1 Kc5 37. Rff7 Bc1 38.
Rxh7 Rd8 39. a3 d3 40. Rd7 d2 41. Rxd8 Nxd8 42. Rd7 Nf7 43. h7 Kc6 44. Rd3 Ng5+
45. Ke5 Nxh7 46. Kxe6 Ng5+ 47. Ke7 Bxa3+ 48. Kf6 Bc1 0-1[/pgn]
Awonder went into the fifth round with a perfect 4-0 and faced pre-tournament favorite Aleksandr Lenderman. What's Awonder's best move in this position?

White to Move

Show Solution
Qe6! invades decisively, with the devastating threat of Re5-f5.
Play through the full game here to see how Awonder sacrificed to expose Lenderman's king.

[Event "St Louis Spring Classic B"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2017.05.20"]
[White "Liang, Awonder"]
[Black "Lenderman, Aleksandr"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B11"]
[WhiteElo "2488"]
[BlackElo "2587"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2017.05.16"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. d4 Nf6 7. Bd3 dxe4 8.
Nxe4 Qxd4 9. O-O Nxe4 10. Bxe4 Nd7 11. Bf4 Rc8 12. Rad1 Qf6 13. Rfe1 Nc5 14.
Qg3 Qxb2 15. Bf5 Qxa2 16. Bd6 Qa5 17. Bxc5 Qxc5 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Rxe6+ Be7 20.
Rde1 O-O 21. Rxe7 Rf7 22. Rxf7 Kxf7 23. Qb3+ Kf8 24. Qe6 Rd8 25. Re5 Rd1+ 26.
Kh2 Qd6 27. Qe8# 1-0[/pgn]
Another nice game by Awonder featured the positional pawn sacrifice 30...e4!

[Event "St Louis Spring Classic B"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2017.05.17"]
[White "Abdumalik, Zhansaya"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C84"]
[WhiteElo "2420"]
[BlackElo "2488"]
[PlyCount "84"]
[EventDate "2017.05.16"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4
Bd7 9. c3 O-O 10. Re1 Na5 11. Bc2 c5 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. Nf1 Re8 14. Bg5 h6 15.
Bd2 Bf8 16. Ne3 Be6 17. Bb3 Qd7 18. h3 Reb8 19. Bxe6 Qxe6 20. Qc2 Ne7 21. Kh2
Ng6 22. g3 Qd7 23. Bc1 Qc6 24. Qe2 Re8 25. Nd2 d5 26. exd5 Nxd5 27. Qf3 Rad8
28. axb5 axb5 29. Ra7 Re7 30. Ra5 e4 31. Nxe4 Ne5 32. Qg2 Nxd3 33. Rd1 Nxe3 34.
Bxe3 Qxe4 35. Qxe4 Rxe4 36. Rxb5 c4 37. b3 cxb3 38. Rxb3 Ree8 39. Rb5 f6 40.
Bb6 Rb8 41. c4 Ne5 42. Ba7 Ra8 0-1[/pgn] 16-year-old Sam Sevian, the youngest Grandmaster in US Chess history, also crushed at the Spring Classic. Sam won the highly competitive double round robin "C" section with 6.5/10.
GMs Ruifeng Li vs Sam Sevian, Photo STL Chess Club
How did Sevian, playing White, change the character of the position and seize the initiative against GM Alejandro Ramirez?

White to Move

Show Solution

[Event "St Louis Spring Classic C"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2017.05.17"]
[White "Sevian, Samuel"]
[Black "Ramirez, Alejandro"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B85"]
[WhiteElo "2585"]
[BlackElo "2550"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4rbk1/1b3p1p/p5p1/1p6/3rP3/P1NB3R/1PP3PP/5R1K w - - 0 25"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[EventDate "2017.05.16"]

25. Rxh7 Kxh7 26. Rxf7+ Bg7 27. Rxb7 Rd6 28. g3 Kh8 29. Nd5 Bxb2 30. a4 Bd4 31.
axb5 axb5 32. Rxb5 g5 33. Rb4 Ba7 34. Rb7 Bd4 35. Rf7 Ra8 36. Kg2 Ra1 37. Kh3
Rh6+ 38. Kg4 Rxh2 39. Ne7 Rh7 40. Rf8+ Kg7 41. Rd8 Bc5 42. Nf5+ Kf6 43. Bc4 Re1
44. Bd5 1-0[/pgn]
Now suppose you are Sevian's opponent in round 3, Andrey Stukopin- What would you do after Sevian moved his queen from ...c4 to d4, resulting in the following position?

White to Move

White captured on d4, which gives black better chances. 36. Rxa7 was a better try, giving Black the option to capture on e4. Sevian was again able to use the dynamism of his position to pressure his opponent, who eventually erred and allowed the d-pawn to crash through.
[pgn] [Event "St Louis Spring Classic C"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2017.05.17"]
[White "Stukopin, Andrey"]
[Black "Sevian, Samuel"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A07"]
[WhiteElo "2586"]
[BlackElo "2585"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2017.05.16"]
[EventType "tourn"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Bg4 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. c4 c6 5. O-O e6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. d3 Nbd7 8.
Qc2 Bd6 9. e4 O-O 10. Nc3 Re8 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Bxf3 dxe4 13. dxe4 Bb4 14. Rd1
Qa5 15. Bd2 Nc5 16. Bg2 Ne6 17. a3 Bf8 18. Nd5 Qd8 19. Nxf6+ Qxf6 20. Bc3 Qg6
21. Rac1 Rad8 22. Kh2 Bc5 23. b4 Bd4 24. f4 Bxc3 25. Qxc3 Qh5 26. Rxd8 Rxd8 27.
Qe3 Nd4 28. g4 Qb5 29. Rd1 Qc4 30. e5 b6 31. f5 c5 32. bxc5 bxc5 33. Rb1 Ne2
34. Rb7 Nf4 35. Qe4 Qd4 36. Qxd4 cxd4 37. Bf3 g5 38. Rxa7 d3 39. Kg3 d2 40. f6
h5 41. Bd1 h4+ 42. Kf3 Nxh3 43. a4 Nf4 44. a5 Rd3+ 45. Kf2 h3 46. Kg1 Rg3+ 47.
Kf2 h2 48. Ra8+ Kh7 49. Kxg3 h1=Q 50. Bc2+ Ng6 51. Rd8 Qe1+ 52. Kf3 Kh6 0-1 [/pgn]
Sevian was also just featured in a video hosted by Jen Shahade, throwing back to a famous game he played six years ago at the US Chess School. GM Varuzhan Akobian, a fan favorite at the US Chess Championships, won the A-section of the Spring Chess Classic. Here's a nice squeeze Akobian put on"> against the Millionaire Chess Champ, Dariusz Swiercz.
[pgn][Event "St Louis Spring Classic A"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2017.05.17"]
[White "Akobian, Varuzhan"]
[Black "Swiercz, Dariusz"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2661"]
[BlackElo "2649"]
[PlyCount "145"]
[EventDate "2017.05.16"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 d5 6. e3 c5 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3
cxd4 9. Nxd4 b6 10. b4 Bb7 11. Bb2 Nbd7 12. cxd5 Bxd5 13. Nc6 Qe8 14. Nd4 Rc8
15. Qd2 Ne5 16. Bb5 Qe7 17. O-O Ne4 18. Qe2 Nd6 19. Ba6 Bc4 20. Bxc4 Nexc4 21.
b5 Qb7 22. a4 Nxb2 23. Qxb2 Nc4 24. Qb4 Na5 25. Rac1 Rxc1 26. Rxc1 Rc8 27. Rc3
g6 28. h3 Rc7 29. Nc6 Nxc6 30. Qd6 Rc8 31. Rxc6 h5 32. h4 Kg7 33. Kh2 Qb8 34.
Qxb8 Rxb8 35. Rc7 Ra8 36. Rb7 a6 37. Rxb6 axb5 38. axb5 Ra4 39. g3 Rb4 40. Kg2
f5 41. f4 Rb2+ 42. Kf1 Kf7 43. Rb7+ Kf6 44. Ke1 Rg2 45. b6 Rxg3 46. Kd2 Rg1 47.
Kc2 Rg2+ 48. Kc3 Rg1 49. Rh7 Rb1 50. b7 e5 51. Kc4 exf4 52. exf4 g5 53. Kc5 Kg6
54. Rc7 Rc1+ 55. Kd6 Rb1 56. Kd7 gxf4 57. Rc6+ Kg7 58. Kc7 f3 59. b8=Q Rxb8 60.
Kxb8 f2 61. Rc1 Kf6 62. Kc7 f4 63. Kd6 Kf5 64. Kd5 Kg4 65. Ke4 Kg3 66. Rc3+
Kxh4 67. Rf3 Kg4 68. Rxf2 h4 69. Rxf4+ Kg3 70. Rf3+ Kg2 71. Kf4 h3 72. Rg3+ Kh2
73. Kf3 1-0

GM Varuzhan Akobian, Photo STL Chess Club
Find more details on the Spring Chess Classic, including full pgn downloads and recap videos at Next up at the Saint Louis Chess Club: The US Junior Championships and US Junior Girls Championships.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

To the JENNIFER: wonder woman media survivor....Our proud loud online media chief (Can't bow..don't know how) and world chess fashionista... THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WORLDWIDE / TOTALLY UNCENSORED COVERAGE suddenly rolling like a mighty fierce train. Freedom excels where freedom dwells. Freedom is not free. You have to use it to prove it...Sometime you have to die for it. St. Louis , your siren, your reward and great treasure, beckons. Glad you survived the horrendous US chess Nazi era. How you do dat magic Jennifer Shahade? Good winds always... Jude Acers/ New Orleans ps Dear editor:do not forget please the ongoing 2017 Capablanca Memorial with our many wonderful Cuban chess friends , American world Olympiad gold medal team champion player Shankland plus the immortal Ivanchuk.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] celebrated 14-year-old Awonder Liang, of Wisconsin, making his final norm earn the title of Grandmaster. He now becomes the nation’s youngest player with this prestigious […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] has been on an incredible roll lately, winning the Philadelphia Open, his section of the Saint Louis Spring Classic, the Chicago Open and the Continental Championships. Still, I have to consider him an underdog. […]

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments

Share Your Feedback

We recently completed a website update. If you notice a formatting error on this page, please click here.