Jennifer Yu of Virginia earned a bronze medal and an IM norm at the World Junior Girls (Under 20) Championship in Tarvisio, Italy (Nov 12-26). Yu went into the final round just a half point behind first, and facing IM Zhansaya Abdumalik, a player that US readers may remember from Jamaal Abdul-Alim’s report on the 2017 World Open, where Abdumalik had an outstanding performance.
A win would clinch gold for Yu, so she had just one result on her mind. She told US Chess, “She offered me a draw, but I didn’t take it because I wanted to push for a win.”
Yu’s favorite game was her win against Jiner Zhu of China. “It was an important round for me, because it was right after the rest day and I played against her three years ago in the World Youth in South Africa.” Jennifer had won the 2014, and ultimately earned a gold medal, becoming the first American girl to do so in 27 years.
In this game, she decided to change her normal openings. “It was quite a different style for me, and I learned the Modern in a few hours. The game ended up being drawish but I liked my practical choice of giving up an exchange for massive compensation in the endgame.”
Jennifer Yu also had plenty of good times in Tarvisio, Italy with her friend Emily Nguyen, who also represented the US. In addition to fierce chess battles, the US delegation also learned some important lessons about Italian culture and cuisine. Yu said she enjoyed eating Italian every meal, “Pizza is definitely better there. The sauce to cheese to dough ratio is on point.”
Emily ended the tournament on a high note, with a victory to give her 6/11, while Grandmaster Awonder Liang finished with 7/11.
Aryan Tari of Norway won the Open section, a feat that was reported on chess.com, and which he, and the World Champion memorably tweeted on:
Thanks everyone, really happy to be the 2nd world champion from Norway😀!!
— Aryan Tari (@aryan_tari) November 25, 2017
The amazing @aryan_tari is the new junior world champion!! Kept his cool in a difficult position in the last round-the mark of a champion
— Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) November 25, 2017