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.