Halftime at the US Junior Champs

Akshita Gorti currently leads the US Junior Girls' Championship by a half point. Photo: St. Louis Chess Club

US Junior Girls' Champs

Round 5 featured a key match-up: Emily Nguyen---the tournament leader entering the round---vs. Akshita Gorti---who trailed by half a point in clear 2nd place. Gorti won the game, leapfrogging her way to 1st at the halfway mark of the championship.

Akshita Gorti vs. Emily Nguyen

After Black's overly aggressive opening play, White has a lead in development, better piece coordination and a safer king. How can Gorti convert this into an immediate victory?
White to move and win.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "US Junior Girls' Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gorti, Akshita"]
[Black "Nguyen, Emily"]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "rnb2k1r/pp3ppp/5n2/1B6/1b1Np2q/1P2P3/PB1N1PPP/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "13"]1. Nf5 $3 ({In the game, Gorti played another good move,} 1. Rc1 {,and went on
to win.}) 1... Qh5 (1... Bxf5 2. Nf3 {with the dual threats of Qd8+ leading to
mate and Nxh4 is simply crushing.}) 2. Nxe4 Qxd1 3. Rfxd1 Nc6 4. Bxc6 Bxf5 5.
Bxb7 Rb8 6. Nxf6 gxf6 7. Bxf6 {and White is 3 pawns up.} 1-0[/pgn]
Nguyen is now tied for 2nd with one of the top seeds, Maggie Feng, who defeated Thalia Cervantes in an exciting game to keep pace.
[pgn][Event "US Junior Girls' Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Feng, Maggie"]
[Black "Cervantes, Thalia"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D79"]
[PlyCount "65"]1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. c4 O-O 5. d4 c6 6. Nc3 d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. Ne5
e6 9. O-O Nfd7 10. f4 f6 11. Nf3 f5 12. Be3 Nf6 13. Ne5 Nbd7 14. Rc1 Ne4 15.
Qb3 Ndf6 16. Rc2 Nxc3 17. bxc3 b6 18. c4 Bb7 19. c5 Ng4 20. Nxg4 fxg4 21. Bf2
Kh8 22. Rb1 g5 23. cxb6 gxf4 24. Rc7 Ba6 25. Rxa7 Bc4 26. Rxa8 Qxa8 27. b7 Qb8
28. Qb2 Rf7 29. Qb6 h6 30. a4 Ba2 31. Rb2 f3 32. exf3 Rc7 33. Qxc7 1-0[/pgn]

US Junior Champs

Kayden Troff at the opening ceremony. Will he be able to turn his lead into his second US Juniors Championship title? Photo: St. Louis Chess Club
In the US Junior Championship, Kayden Troff has led the tournament from the beginning and is currently a full point ahead of his closest rivals, Awonder Liang and Nicolas Checa. To maintain his significant tournament lead, Troff defeated tournament newcomer Bovey Liu in the 5th round.
[pgn][Event "US Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Liu, Bovey"]
[Black "Troff, Kayden"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B51"]
[PlyCount "72"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. c3 Ngf6 5. Qe2 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. Bc2 Bb7 8. O-O
e6 9. d4 Be7 10. Re1 Qc7 11. Bd3 O-O 12. Nbd2 Nh5 13. Nf1 e5 14. dxe5 c4 15.
Bc2 dxe5 16. Nh4 Nf4 17. Bxf4 exf4 18. Nf5 Ne5 19. Nd2 Rad8 20. Nf3 Nxf3+ 21.
Qxf3 Rd2 22. Re2 Rfd8 23. Nd4 Rxe2 24. Qxe2 Bf6 25. Rd1 b4 26. Bb1 g6 27. Rd2
Qb6 28. Qd1 bxc3 29. bxc3 Qa5 30. Ne2 Re8 31. Nxf4 Bxc3 32. Re2 Rd8 33. Nd5
Bxd5 34. exd5 Rxd5 35. Qc1 Qa3 36. Rc2 Qd6 0-1[/pgn]
Both Liang and Checa won their games as well to remain in contention. Here is Liang's hard-fought endgame victory against Mika Brattain.
[pgn][Event "US Junior Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.07.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Awonder, Liang"]
[Black "Brattain, Mika"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B11"]
[PlyCount "73"]1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qd5 7. Qh4 Qe6+
8. Be2 Qg4 9. Qg3 Qxg3 10. hxg3 Bf5 11. b3 Nd7 12. Bb2 h6 13. O-O-O e6 14. Rde1
Rg8 15. Nh4 Bh7 16. Bh5 Ke7 17. Re3 Nf6 18. Bxf6+ gxf6 19. g4 Rg5 20. f4 Ra5
21. Kb1 Rd5 22. d3 Rd7 23. f5 e5 24. Nf3 Kd8 25. Nd2 Bc5 26. Rf3 Ke7 27. Ne4
Bb6 28. Bxf7 Kxf7 29. Rxh6 Bg8 30. Rxf6+ Ke7 31. Rh6 Rf8 32. g5 Bd5 33. f6+ Ke8
34. g6 Bd8 35. f7+ Bxf7 36. gxf7+ Ke7 37. Rhf6 1-0[/pgn]
https://twitter.com/USChess/status/885633265637380096 Look out for updates throughout the event on the US Chess FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! For more information on the U.S. Junior Championship and to watch live games and commentary, visit the Official Website. The U.S. Junior Closed runs from July 8-17.