With yesterday’s rest day under their belts, it’s back to business at the 2019 U.S. Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships. Today’s Round 6 features key matchups between leaders in all three Championships: Checa-Liang in the Junior, Yip-Wu in the Girls, and Goldin-Shabalov in the Senior. Suffice to say that today’s games may go some distance in determining the eventual winners of each event.
Here’s a look back at Monday’s fifth round.
Nicolas Checa won a heavy-duty theoretical battle in victory over Craig Hilby. After Hilby deviated from a Wang Hao game with 15. Rxa7, Checa’s 15. … Qxd4 led to a better endgame and a smooth win.
Hilby-Checa (photo Crystal Fuller)
Checa leads the field by half a point at 4.5/5. Hot on his heels are Awonder Liang and Joshua Sheng, both with 4 points after five rounds. Liang defeated Hans Niemann after Niemann “invited the vampire to the wedding,” as Jesse Kraai memorably put it, and suddenly found himself checkmated.
Liang-Niemann (photo Crystal Fuller)
Meanwhile Sheng earned his fourth point of the tournament, winning a complex game against John Michael Burke.
Joshua Sheng (photo Crystal Fuller)
It was an all-action round in the Junior, with all five games ending decisively. Andrew Tang navigated a tricky king and pawn ending to defeat Brandon Jacobson, while Jennfier Yu continued to suffer a difficult event, losing to Atulya Vaidya.
Rochelle Wu’s magic continues to hold strong, as she was gifted a draw in her game against tailender Rachael Li. Li’s King’s Indian proved a wiley choice by the 9-year-old phenom, and she found herself in a winning position after Wu’s erroneous rook sac on move 25. Perhaps dazzled by Wu’s position in the tournament, or just wanting to make sure that she got on the scoreboard, Li passed up a winning continuation and offered a draw that Wu gladly accepted.
Rochelle Wu (photo Crystal Fuller)
Wu-Li (photo Crystal Fuller)
Yip watches Wu-Li (photo Crystal Fuller)
At 4.5/5, Wu is trailed by Carissa Yip (4/5) and Emily Nguyen (3.5/5). Yip drew against Thalia Cervantes, while Nguyen worked her way up the leader board with a strong positional win over Veronika Zilajeva.
Emily Nguyen (photo Austin Fuller)
In other results, Rui Yang Yan, who has to be considered one of the surprises of of the tournament thus far, won against Martha Samadashvili, while Maggie Feng and Agata Bykovtsev drew.
While he admitted to mixing up his move orders in the opening, Alex Goldin nevertheless earned the full point in his game with Alex Fishbein. The win gave Goldin a share of first place after Alex Shabalov could only draw with Larry Christiansen.
Fishbein-Goldin (photo Crystal Fuller)
Shabalov-Christiansen (photo Crystal Fuller)
Igor Novikov had the other win of the day in the Senior Championship, defeating former US Chess President Max Dlugy in a razor-sharp line of the London.
The 2019 Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships will be contested daily from July 10th-20th at the Saint Louis Chess Club, with a rest day on July 16th. Rounds start at 1pm CDT, except for July 20th, when play begins at 11am.
Winners of the US Junior Championship and US Junior Girls Championship will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to be used at the institution of his or her choice. The scholarship is generously jointly funded by the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess.