Justin Wang is 2019 Cadet Champion

Don’t mess with Texas.

One of only two non-Californians in the event, Texan IM Justin Wang overcame an impressive field to win the 2019 U.S. Cadet (U16) Championship (June 20-23, San Jose, CA). He takes home the Championship plaque along with a $10,000 scholarship to the college of his choice, donated by the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess. Wang’s +5 score (6/7) was enough to take the Championship by a half point over IM Hans Niemann (5.5/7), the other out-of-stater in the field, and a full point over IM Andrew Hong and FM Josiah Stearman (5/7).

Niemann-Wang (photo Langland)

The two top finishers played in the final round, when Niemann had to win on-demand to overcome Wang’s half-point lead in the standings. But Wang held strong, drawing fairly comfortably to earn the title.

[pgn] [Event "2019 US Cadet Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.06.23"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Niemann, Hans"] [Black "Wang, Justin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2529"] [BlackElo "2533"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qa4 c5 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. dxc5 bxc5 8. O-O Be7 9. Rd1 O-O 10. Nc3 Qb6 11. Rb1 Nc6 12. Be3 Qa6 13. Ne1 Qxa4 14. Nxa4 d6 15. Nc2 Rab8 16. b3 Rfd8 17. h3 Na5 18. Bd2 Nc6 19. Bc3 Nd7 20. Rd2 Nb6 21. Nxb6 axb6 22. Rbd1 Na7 23. Bxb7 Rxb7 24. e4 Nc6 25. f4 b5 26. cxb5 Rxb5 27. Ne3 Rb7 28. Kg2 Ra8 29. h4 Rba7 30. Ra1 Bf6 31. Bxf6 gxf6 32. Rxd6 Rxa2+ 33. Rxa2 Rxa2+ 34. Kh3 Nd4 35. h5 Kg7 36. Rd7 Re2 37. Nc4 Rxe4 38. Nd6 Re3 39. Rxf7+ Kh6 40. Rxf6+ Kxh5 41. Ne4 Ne2 42. Nxc5 Rxg3+ 43. Kh2 Rc3 44. Nxe6 Rxb3 45. f5 Kg4 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
Niemann may draw some consolation from this delightful mate, played in his round six victory over Andrew Hong.
[pgn] [Event "2019 US Cadet Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.06.23"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Hong, Andrew"] [Black "Niemann, Hans"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2522"] [BlackElo "2529"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/7R/p1k1p1p1/3nP3/Np1KN1P1/3Pn3/PP3q2/8 b - - 0 39"] [PlyCount "5"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 39... Nc2+ 40. Kc4 Qd4+ 41. Kb3 Na1# 0-1 [/pgn]
This year’s Cadet Championship was hosted by Bay Area Chess, and organized by Judit Sztaray and Salman Azhar. NTD / IA Tom Langland was the Chief Arbiter, and Senior TD Jordan Langland served as Assistant Arbiter.