Li and Yip Co-Champions at Historic Cadet

Co-champs Yip and Li face off in the Cadet Championships. Their game was a draw. Co-champs Yip and Li face off in the Cadet Championships. Their game was a draw. Photo Nina Patel
Ben Li (MI), 15, and Carissa Yip (MA), 13, tied for first at the US Cadet Championship, held in Manchester, New Hampshire (Aug 17-21) and are recognized as co-champions. This makes Yip the first girl in history to win a US Chess Cadet Championships, a tournament that dates back to 1986. The invitational event, open to players Under the age of 16 was directed by US Chess organizer of the Year and IA Alex Relyea. The festivities kicked off with a blitz tournament that also served as tiebreaker. FM Trung Nguyen won the blitz, while Li placed 4th, and Yip 6th. Li wins a four-year scholarship to UMBC on tiebreak.
Yip and Li with tournament organizer Alex Relyea, Photo Nina Patel 
Ben Li said that the tournament was well organized and had a welcoming atmosphere.  His most memorable game was against Albert Lu, which "I fought back from losing to win a position of three passed/doubled pawns vs. a rook."
[pgn]

[Event "US Cadet Championship"]
[Site "Manchester, NH"]
[Date "2017.08.19"]
[Round "4.5"]
[White "Li, Ben"]
[Black "Lu, Albert"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2305"]
[BlackElo "2323"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:52:03"]
[BlackClock "0:01:41"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. a3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. e3
Nc6 9. Qc2 Re8 10. Bg5 d4 11. O-O-O e5 12. Nd5 b5 13. Nxf6+ gxf6 14. cxb5 Na5
15. exd4 Bxd4 16. Bd2 Bg4 17. Bxa5 Qxa5 18. Nxd4 exd4 19. Bc4 Rac8 20. Kb1 Bxd1
21. Rxd1 Re1 22. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 23. Ka2 Kg7 24. Qb3 Qxf2 25. Bxf7 Qe3 26. Qd5 Qe5
27. Qb3 Qe3 28. Qd5 Qe5 29. Qb3 Rd8 30. Bc4 Qxh2 31. g3 d3 32. Qb4 Qe2 33. Qc5
Qe5 34. Qxa7+ Kh6 35. Qb6 Qd4 36. Qxd4 Rxd4 37. Bb3 d2 38. a4 d1=Q 39. Bxd1
Rxd1 40. b6 Rd8 41. a5 Rb8 42. b4 Kg5 43. b5 Kg4 44. Kb3 Kxg3 45. Kb4 f5 46. a6
f4 47. a7 Rf8 48. b7 f3 49. b8=Q+ Rf4+ 50. Qxf4+ 1-0

[/pgn]
Li has one IM norm and intends to keep working on the title.
In the round two head to head between Yip and Li, Li found a cute swindle in a lost position to change the course of the tournament:
Position after 53. Kg1?
Black to Move
Show Solution
[pgn] [Event "US Cadet Championship"]
[Site "Manchester, NH"]
[Date "2017.08.18"]
[Round "2.5"]
[White "Yip, Carissa"]
[Black "Li, Ben"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C84"]
[WhiteElo "2187"]
[BlackElo "2305"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/8/5pR1/4pP1k/1P2P1p1/P5B1/1r3K2/8 w - - 0 53"]
[PlyCount "10"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:39:54"]
[BlackClock "0:25:26"]53. Kg1 Rg2+ 54. Kf1 Rxg3 55. Rxf6 Rxa3 56. Re6 Kg5 57. Rg6+ Kh5 1/2-1/2
[/pgn]
Ben Li lost one game to Christopher Shen, who ended in clear third place, Photo Nina Patel 
 
Yip said the best thing about the Cadet was facing a strong player nine rounds in a row. Yip annotated the following victory over her friend Emily Nguyen, which she called her favorite of the event:
[pgn][Event "US Cadet Championship"]
[Site "Manchester, NH"]
[Date "2017.08.20"]
[Round "6.3"]
[White "Yip, Carissa"]
[Black "Nguyen, Emily"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B43"]
[WhiteElo "2187"]
[BlackElo "2110"]
[Annotator "Yip"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Bd3 Nf6 7. f4 {The
usual move is 0-0 but playing f4 forces d6, restricting Black's options} d6 8.
Qe2 b5 $6 {Nbd7 would be better, stopping e5, which was the whole point of Qe2}
9. e5 dxe5 (9... Nfd7 {was best, although this position already isn't that good
} 10. exd6 Bxd6 11. a4 b4 12. Nd5 Qd8 13. Nxe6 fxe6 14. Qxe6+ Be7 15. Bc4 {
where White gets a strong attack}) 10. fxe5 Nfd7 $4 {Ng8 or Nd5 is a lot
better than this move, but white already has a huge advantage} 11. Be4 $4 {
A mistake. Much better was Nxe6 right away} (11. Nxe6 $3 fxe6 12. Qh5+ Kd8 13.
Bg5+ Be7 14. Bxe7+ Kxe7 15. Qh4+ Ke8 16. Bg6+ hxg6 17. Qxh8+ Nf8 18. O-O-O {
All of Black's pieces are all restricted and the king is weak. White has a
demolishing attack with ideas of putting the rooks on the open files and
somehow getting the knight to d6}) 11... Bb7 12. Nxe6 $6 {Now this tactic
doesn't work} fxe6 13. Qh5+ Kd8 $4 (13... g6 $1 {is the only move here,
allowing the king to run to c8, and Black is just up a piece} 14. Bxg6+ Kd8 15.
Bg5+ Kc8 {and the bishop blocks the queen from going to e8}) 14. Bg5+ {Now the
king can't run because Qe8 would be mate} Be7 15. Bxe7+ Kxe7 16. Qh4+ Ke8 17.
Bxb7 Qxb7 18. Ne4 {The whole point of Be4 before Nxe6 was to get to this
position where the knight can go to d6 now where it completely dominates
Black's position} Qb6 19. Nd6+ Kf8 20. Rf1+ $4 {I actually saw the winning
variation with Qf4 and I was planning to play that, but my brain stopped
working for a second and I accidentally played Rf1 first. Luckily, its still
winning} (20. Qf4+ Ke7 21. Qg5+ Kf8 22. Rf1+ Kg8 23. Rf7 g6 24. Qh6 Qg1+ 25.
Ke2 Qxg2+ 26. Ke3 {and no more checks}) 20... Kg8 21. Qf4 h6 22. Ne8 {
threatening Qf7} Kh7 23. Qe4+ Kg8 24. O-O-O {Black has no moves and can't stop
me from either taking on a8 or mating} Ra7 {Trying to keep the material
advantage} 25. Qg6 Qe3+ 26. Kb1 Qxe5 27. Nf6+ Qxf6 (27... Nxf6 28. Rd8+ {
is the point}) 28. Rxf6 {And Black is just down a queen with mate to come} 1-0[/pgn]
Carissa Yip and Emily Nguyen, Photo Nina Patel
Yip gave a shout out to Edward Song (co-champ at the Denker), for helping her with prep and to IM Craig Hilby, for being her most genuine male friend. Carissa said she had a great time with her friends at the Cadet, from Clash Royale to pizza. And of course, bughouse. https://twitter.com/relyeachess/status/899802036597911554
Find more information on the Cadet on the official website, where you can download a pgn file with all the games.

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