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.

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

Full game below:

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.


  1. Isn’t Carissa Yip the official American entrant in the World Junior Girl’s Championship? If she wins that event she becomes a Woman Grandmaster automatically.

    • It is my understanding that the World Junior U20 Championship will be held Sept. 4-16 in Kocaeli-Gebze, Turkey.

        • Seven American youths have won the World Junior (Under 20) Championship since its inception in 1951: William Lombardy 1957, Mark Diesen 1976, Yasser Seirawan 1979, Maxim Dlugy 1985, Ilya Gurevich 1990, Tal Shaked 1997, Jeffery Xiong 2016.

          • Didn’t the US have a number of winners in 1976? As I recall without a separate section/event for girls, the top female finisher was crowned as the Girls U-(whatever)age group. So the top U20 female finisher was considered to be the Girls U20 Champion, although I don’t think that was an US player. I do believe the U8 Girls champion that year was from the US. I believe there was a chess life cover with the dozen or so medalists.

          • Julio Kaplan(then representing Puerto Rico)won the World Junior Championship in 1967. Puerto Rico while currently part of the United States(and frequently mentioned as a contender for “state#51”)is a separate entity from the 50 states for international chess purposes.

  2. Carissa is registered as a Denker participant in the upcoming event this weekend. The only female player to win this event was Abby Marshall(VA). What a great opportunity!

  3. GM Awonder Liang will do a free simul for Denker, Barber and National Girls Champion participants before the Opening Ceremony at the US Open site in Middleton, WI this weekend as indicated in the above article. The participants are in for some big surprises not just from Awonder, but the organizers as well.

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