Liang and Yip Lead Heading to US Junior Money Rounds

Awonder Liang, Photo Austin Fuller
Grandmaster Awonder Liang broke through as the clear leader in the US Junior Championship (Saint Louis, July 11-21), despite a massive six way logjam at the start of round seven. Liang defeated Alex Bian in round seven, while the other leaders drew or lost.

[Event "USA-ch Juniors 2018"]
[Site "Saint Louis"]
[Date "2018.07.19"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Liang, Awonder"]
[Black "Bian, Alex"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A04"]
[WhiteElo "2569"]
[BlackElo "2291"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2018.07.12"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceTitle ""]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceQuality "1"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. c3 Qb6 6. e4 d6 7. Re1 e5 8. Na3
Nge7 9. d4 exd4 10. cxd4 Nxd4 11. Nxd4 Bxd4 12. Nc4 Qa6 13. Bf1 Be6 14. Be3
Bxc4 15. Bxd4 O-O 16. Bf6 Bxf1 17. Qd2 d5 18. Bxe7 Rfe8 19. Bxc5 Bd3 20. exd5
Qc4 21. d6 Bf5 22. Bd4 Qd5 23. Qf4 Re4 24. Rxe4 Qxe4 25. Qxe4 Bxe4 26. Bf6 Bc6
27. Rc1 1-0[/pgn]
Awonder looks to repeat as US Junior Champion, while his rivals have two rounds to stop him and earn the coveted spot into the 2019 US Championship.
Photo: Austin Fuller
Meanwhile, Carissa Yip maintained a half point lead in the US Junior Girls Championship. Yip was leading by even more at the halfway point, but she lost to Sophie Morris-Suzuki in round six, blasting the chances wide open in the Girls. Carissa is now half a point ahead of Jennifer Yu and Emily Nguyen, with a US Women's Championship spot at stake. Follow round 8 at 1 p.m. CDT on July 20, and round 9 at 11 AM CT (to make time for a potential playoff) Watch games and commentary by GM Robert Hess and Tatev Abrahamyan.  In addition, follow the Saint Louis Chess Club Twitter account (@STLChessClub) for live updates by Vanessa West on-site from Saint Louis. Ask questions, make predictions, and share opinions using the official U.S. Junior Championship hashtag: #USJuniorsChess

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