Awonder Liang and Carissa Yip Victorious in US Juniors

Grandmaster Awonder Liang, Photo Austin Fuller
Awonder Liang repeated as US Junior Champion in Saint Louis, once again earning the coveted spot to the big dance, the US Championship. Liang told CLO that the spot was his main goal, but the $6,000 first prize was also a big motivation. His favorite game was his win against IM Praveen Balikrishnan, and he told US Chess that the tournament is particularly tough because the US Junior games tend to be volatile and unpredictable.

[Event "U.S. Junior Championship"]
[White "Balakrishnan, Praveen"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E69"]
[WhiteElo "2411"]
[BlackElo "2569"]
[PlyCount "140"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[WhiteTeam "United States"]
[BlackTeam "United States"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "USA"]
[BlackTeamCountry "USA"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. e4
c6 9. h3 a5 10. Be3 exd4 11. Nxd4 Re8 12. Qc2 Nc5 13. Rad1 Nfd7 14. b3 Qb6 15.
Rb1 Qc7 16. a3 Ne5 17. f4 Ned7 18. Bf2 h5 19. b4 axb4 20. axb4 Ne6 21. Rfd1
Bxd4 22. Bxd4 h4 23. Bf2 hxg3 24. Bxg3 Ng7 25. Qd2 Nb6 26. Bf1 Be6 27. f5 Bxc4
28. Bxd6 Qd8 29. fxg6 fxg6 30. Bg2 Bf7 31. Qh6 Nd7 32. Rf1 Qb6+ 33. Rf2 Qd4 34.
Qd2 Qxd2 35. Rxd2 Ne5 36. Bxe5 Rxe5 37. Rd7 b6 38. Rf1 Be8 39. Rb7 b5 40. Ne2
Rd8 41. Ra1 Nh5 42. Raa7 Rd2 43. Bf3 Nf6 44. Re7 Rxe7 45. Rxe7 Kf8 46. Rc7 Nd7
47. Rxc6 Ne5 48. Rc3 Bf7 49. Nf4 Bc4 50. Nd5 Kg7 51. Bg2 Kh6 52. Bf1 Rd1 53.
Ne3 Rb1 54. Kf2 Bxf1 55. Nxf1 Rxb4 56. Nd2 Ra4 57. Ke3 b4 58. Rc5 Nf7 59. Rb5
Ng5 60. h4 Ne6 61. h5 Ra3+ 62. Kf2 Rd3 63. Nf1 b3 64. Rb6 Nc5 65. Ng3 Na4 66.
Rxg6+ Kh7 67. Ne2 b2 68. Rg1 Ra3 69. e5 Ra1 70. e6 Rxg1 0-1

Awonder will be headlining the opening festivities at the US Open in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, where he'll give a simultaneous exhibition for 23 participants in a trio of opening events: the Denker, Barber, the National Girls Tournament of Champions.
GM Awonder Liang with IM Praveen Balakrishnan and Abel Liang, Photo Jen Shahade 
But first, he enjoyed some blitz and kibitzing post-victory, on a spectacular late summer afternoon in the Central West End.
GM Awonder Liang vs. IM Greg Shahade, Photo Jen Shahade
Carissa Yip also maintained her lead in the final round of the US Junior Girls Championship, to win the title and the automatic seed to the 2019 US Women's Championships (though she would almost surely qualify by rating regardless.)
Carissa Yip against Jennifer Yu in the final round of the US Junior Girls Chess Champs, Photo Austin Fuller 
Key to her victory: this tricky win over Maggie Feng in round seven. What did Maggie miss after playing 27. Qf3?

Black to Move

Show Solution
27...Rxd3! wins a key pawn since 28. Qxd3 Bxc4  
Full game below:

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.07.21"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Feng, Maggie"]
[Black "Yip, Carissa"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A05"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[SourceDate "2018.07.21"]
[SourceVersionDate "2018.07.21"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O e6 5. d3 Be7 6. e4 d6 7. Na3 a6 8. c4 b4
9. Nc2 a5 10. Nd2 e5 11. f4 Nbd7 12. Nf3 O-O 13. Kh1 Re8 14. Be3 Bf8 15. Qd2 c6
16. Rae1 Qc7 17. Bg1 Rad8 18. Re2 Ba6 19. b3 d5 20. exd5 cxd5 21. fxe5 dxc4 22.
bxc4 Nxe5 23. Nxe5 Rxe5 24. Bd4 Rh5 25. Bxf6 gxf6 26. Qe3 Re5 27. Qf3 Rxd3 28.
Qg4+ Rg5 29. Qe4 Qxc4 30. Rfe1 Qxe4 31. Bxe4 Rc3 32. Rd2 Re5 33. Bg2 Rxc2 34.
Rxe5 Rc1+ 35. Bf1 fxe5 36. Kg2 Bxf1+ 37. Kf2 Bc4 0-1[/pgn]
Emily Nguyen, Jennifer Yu and Carissa Yip, the top three finishers in the US Junior Girls Championship, Photo courtesy Nguyen and Annie Wang
Find more games and details on Look for more details on the games of #USJuniorsChess in a tactical wrap-up by Vanessa West this week.

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