Liang wins Junior in Playoff; Yip takes Girls, Shabalov wins Senior

Final Update: (note updates are in reverse order)

Awonder Liang has won the 2019 U.S. Junior Championship, earning a $6000 first place purse and a $10,000 scholarship to the college of his choice, courtesy of the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess.

Carissa Yip is the 2019 Girls Champion, winning $3000 and also taking home a $10,000 scholarship from the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess.

And finally, Alex Shabalov has won the inaugural Senior Championship. He walks away with a cool $12,000 first place prize.

You can relive all the action at, and CLO will have a full report up here tomorrow.

5:40 Update:

Liang wins the 2019 Junior and the $10,000 scholarship!

5:28pm Update:

Checa is giving it his all in the second game, sacrificing the exchange with 25. Rxd5 exd5 26.Nd4!

5:12pm Update:

Liang wins the first game with a sham rook sac that ends up winning the queen. Checa will have to win on demand to force the Armageddon game!

5:01pm Update:

And we’re off with the Checa-Liang playoff!

LIang-Checa start the playoff! (photo Eric Rosen)

Liang has White in the first game, and the game has moved into Winawer 4. e5 b6 waters. Saint Louis Chess Club founder Rex Sinquefield is parked in his usual spot here on the first floor of the Club, directly in front of the big screen that is showing the live broadcast.

Also here: Veronika Zilajeva, Var Akobian, Jaan Ehlvest, and Alex Yermolinsky. (In order of proximity to Your Humble Writer.)

4:25pm Update:

Zilajeva knows the right technique and has checkmated Rachael Li in 131 moves!

4:20pm Update:

We’re 40 minutes from the Checa-Liang playoff. Who will get first place and the $10,000 scholarship from the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess?

Christiansen has just defeated Benjamin in a long, complex ending. The Zilajeva-Li game is the only one remaining, and Zilajeva is still trying to mate Li with knight and bishop against king.

3:20pm Update:

Lots of results are in:

In the Junior, Hilby defeated Vaidya, and Sheng won against Yu. Liang and Tang drew, as did Burke and Jacobson, and Niemann and Checa.

Four games are over in the Girls: Samadashvili-Cervantes was drawn, as was Nguyen-Yip. Rochelle Wu defeated Maggie Feng, and Agata Bykovtsev took the full point against Rui Yang Yan. The Zilajeva-Li game is ongoing.

Only Benjamin-Christiansen is still going in the Senior Championship. Shabalov drew with Ehlvest, as did Kaidanov and Fishbein. Max Dlugy continued his second-half rebirth with a win over Yermolinsky, while Goldin won his final round game against Novikov.

2:44pm Update:

Carissa Yip drew her game against Emily Nguyen, making her the 2019 U.S. Girls Junior Champion and earning her a seat in the 2020 U.S. Women’s Championship. She has also earned the $10,000 scholarship from the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess. Congratulations to Carissa!

2:36pm Update:

Liang-Tang is drawn. Checa and Liang will contest a playoff at 5pm CDT!

2:07pm Update:

Shabalov-Ehlvest is drawn, and my prediction has come true. Alex Shabalov is the 2019 U.S. Senior Champion!

2pm Update:

Nicolas Checa has drawn with Hans Niemann, opening the door for Awonder Liang to capture the 2019 U.S Junior Championship with a win over Andrew Tang. Currently the Liang-Tang game is ongoing, with Black perhaps holding a slight edge in a complex position. If Liang and Tang draw, Checa will go to tiebreaks with Liang at 5pm CDT.

Meanwhile, Carissa Yip is in a difficult position against Emily Nguyen. Yip leads the Girls field by a full point, but a loss to Nguyen would allow either Rochelle Wu or Rui Yang Yan to force a playoff for first place.

Alex Shabalov, who also has a full point lead over the field in the Senior Championship, currently plays Jaan Ehlvest, and the game has a fairly balanced position on move 29. I would not be surprised if a draw occurs at or shortly after move 30.


  1. Go Liang!!! Impressive that he won both his playoff games. What an amazing playoff, I definitely didn’t think it was going to be this one-sided.

  2. FABULOUS COVERAGE BY US CHESS OF FANTASTIC TRIAD TOURNEYS UNDER ONE ROOF..SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED 30 YEARS AGO… NEXT ALL TOURNEYS MUST BE MOVED TO ONE HOUR FLAT PER GAME..NO LEAVING THE BOARD EVER DURING THE GAME …AND KNOCKOUT TWO GAME a day MATCHES PERMIT 32 PLAYERS in all categories FROM ALL OVER THE NATION TO PLAY FOR ALL TITLE EVENTS in 5 days flat …Fraud by draw offers simply must be banned totally/only the referee can declare a draw/.. and all round 1-1 daily round ties are ended immediately with a sudden death lose and go home playoff Armageddon game. One more note..the games of this tourney convention are often wild west thrillers. Play over them . You will not be sorry. Finally wave goodbye to many of the incredible players of generations who gave us this fierce event..As pointed out by Grandmaster Ehlvest ..we cannot even feed and provide for the great players we already have …and do not really care ..they join shadows Patrick Wolff/Stuart Rachels/ Pickett/ and hundreds of unknown masters gone from chess all over the world … vanishing in their prime. Not so for tennis/golf/soccer and many other far less popular world sports…Wait until next year will never cut it. They are gone now . Jude Acers/ New Orleans

  3. Do Mr. Liang, Ms. Yip and Mr. Shabalov get expenses paid to the World Junior Championship, the World Women’s Junior Championship, and the World Senior Championship?

  4. @Magic_Knight
    I did not find the playoff one-sided at all. Awonder did play a nice first game, but Nicolas had chances to equalize in the second. (He also declined a repetition around move 40 since he needed to win.)

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