Can You Calculate Like World Junior Champion Jeffery Xiong?

Jeffery Xiong at the 2016 U.S. Championships. Photo: Austin Fuller Jeffery Xiong at the 2016 U.S. Championships. Photo: Austin Fuller

Days ago, Jeffery Xiong, the current U.S. Junior Champion, added World Junior Champion to his impressive list of accomplishments. He led the field for most of the championship, clinching the title with one round to spare. The last American to win the championship was Tal Shaked nearly 20 years ago.

Test your calculation abilities by solving these tactics from Xiong's road to victory.

Tactic #1

Jeffery Xiong vs. Chithambaram Aravindh

What's the simplest for Xiong to finish off the game?

White to move.

Level: Warm-Up

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "World Junior Championship"]
[Site "Bhubaneswar IND"]
[Date "2016.08.15"]
[Round "8.2"]
[White "Jeffery Xiong"]
[Black "Chithambaram V R Aravindh"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B31"]
[WhiteElo "2633"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1r4k1/5qBp/5P2/3b2RP/8/1NQ5/1K6/8 w - - 0 41"]
[PlyCount "5"]
[EventDate "2016.08.08"]41. Bh6+ $1 Kh8 42. Rxd5 $1 Rxb3+ ({If} 42... Qxd5 {,} 43. f7+ {leads to
checkmate.}) 43. Qxb3 {and Aravindh resigned.} 1-0[/pgn]

Tactic #2

Jeffery Xiong vs. Christoh Menezes

White to move.

Level: Intermediate

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "World Junior Championship"]
[Site "Bhubaneswar IND"]
[Date "2016.08.09"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Jeffery Xiong"]
[Black "Christoph Menezes"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E06"]
[WhiteElo "2633"]
[BlackElo "2408"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2r5/p3k1n1/1p1rppBp/3p4/b2P1NPP/P3R3/1P3P1K/4R3 w - - 0 36"]
[PlyCount "21"]
[EventDate "2016.08.08"]36. Nxe6 $1 {Black's rook on c8 is unfortunately placed, allowing for a skewer
tactic after all of the exchanges.} Rxe6 37. Rxe6+ Nxe6 38. Rxe6+ Kxe6 39. Bf5+
Kd6 40. Bxc8 {and Xiong converted his extra pawn into a win in 6 more moves:}
Be8 41. Bf5 Ke7 42. Kg3 Kf7 43. Kf4 Ke7 44. Bc8 Bc6 45. Kf5 Kf7 46. Be6+ 1-0[/pgn]

Tactic #3

Jeffery Xiong vs. Qingyu Yuan

White to move.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "World Junior Championship"]
[Site "Bhubaneswar IND"]
[Date "2016.08.11"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Jeffery Xiong"]
[Black "Qingyu Yuan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A17"]
[WhiteElo "2633"]
[BlackElo "2366"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2n1n1k1/1br1q1pp/2p2p2/Q2pN3/P2Pp3/1P2P3/4BPPP/2R1R1K1 w - - 0 24"]
[PlyCount "33"]
[EventDate "2016.08.08"]24. Nxc6 $1 {Clearing the way for White's queenside passed pawns.} Rxc6 ({If}
24... Bxc6 25. Rxc6 $1 Rxc6 26. Qxd5+ Re6 27. Bc4 Kf7 28. Qxe4 Ned6 29. Qxe6+
Qxe6 30. Bxe6+ Kxe6 31. e4 {when White has a winning endgame with a rook and
four pawns vs. Black's two knights.}) 25. Rxc6 ({Also strong was} 25. Qxd5+ Re6
26. Qc5 Qxc5 27. dxc5 Ba6 28. Bg4 Re7 29. b4 {and White's avalanche of pawns
can't be stopped:} Na7 30. c6 g6 31. b5 Bc8 (31... Bxb5 32. axb5 Nxb5 33. Red1
f5 34. Be2 Na7 35. Rd8) 32. Bxc8 Nxc8 33. a5 Kf7 34. b6) 25... Bxc6 26. Rc1 Bb7
27. b4 {and Black's minor pieces were no match for White's passed pawns:} Ncd6
28. Qc5 Kf7 29. a5 Nc4 30. Rxc4 dxc4 31. Bxc4+ Kf8 32. a6 Ba8 33. b5 Nd6 34. b6
g6 35. Bd5 Bxd5 36. Qxd5 Kg7 37. a7 Nf5 38. a8=Q Qb4 39. Qdg8+ Kh6 40. Qaf8+
1-0[/pgn]

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