Checa, Sheng, Shabalov, and Wu Lead in Saint Louis

The fields continue to slowly sort themselves out after yesterday’s Round 3 at the U.S. Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships.

Nicolas Checa and Joshua Sheng both won to move to 2.5/3 and shared first in the Junior, with Sheng beating Round 2 leader Awonder Liang in the process. Rochelle Wu won her third game out of three to stand alone at the top of the Girls Championship, and Alex Shabalov lept to first in the Senior after he won against Novikov while Larry Christiansen fell to Alex Yermolinsky.

With today’s fourth round underway as this goes to press, here’s a recap of yesterday’s Round 3 action.


courtesy STLCC

Joshua Sheng, playing the black pieces against top-seed Awonder Liang, took advantage of Liang’s time trouble to grab a pawn and win their game.

Checa and Kraai (photo Crystal Fuller)

Nicolas Checa, also playing black, had the day’s second decisive result in the Junior, defeating Jennifer Yu in a wild game. Yu gave up a piece for three pawns on move 14 and the ensuing positions were difficult for both sides to play. Her rook became passive in the endgame, and Checa picked up her pawns and the game.

The remaining three games – Jacobsson-Vaidya, Tang-Niemann, and Hilby-Burke – were drawn. This left Checa and Sheng in the lead after three rounds with 2.5/3, followed by Liang, Burke, and Jacobson, all at 2/3.


courtesy STLCC

The Girls Championship continues to feature fighting chess, with four decisive results out of five. Rochelle Wu continued to ride her luck in her win against Agata Bykovtsev, moving to 3/3 and maintaining her spot at the top of the field. Bykovtsev had chances to win in the middlegame, but she mishandled her position after Wu’s knight sacrifice and resigned in the face of checkmate.

Martha Samadashvili (photo Austin Fuller)

Martha Samadashvili had the move of the round in her victory over Veronika Zilajeva. Zilajeva had a strong advantage for most of the game, and appeared to be on her way to the winner’s circle. Samadashvili’s desperate counter-attack bore fruit, however, and Tatev Abrahamyan described her 39th move as “level 40 Puzzle Rush” material.

Yip-Yan (photo Crystal Fuller)

Wu is in clear first at 3/3, followed by Carissa Yip (2.5/3), who drew against Rui Yang Yan and is alone in second place. Yan and Emily Nguyen (who won against Maggie Feng) are tied for third with 2/3. In the remaining game, Thalia Cervantes got her first win of the event, defeating Rachael Li.


courtesy STLCC

Alex Shabalov downed fellow World Seniors teammate Igor Novikov in a very sharp Najdorf. At 2.5/3, Shabalov heads into today’s round four action in clear first place.

Larry Christiansen dropped to second place at 2/3, having lost a fine game to Alex Yermolinsky. Yermo is part of a five person pack, including Kaidanov, Benjamin, Goldin, and Fishbein, who are all tied for third place with 1.5/3.

Shabalov and Yermolinsky had the two wins of the round in the Senior. The other games – Goldin-Ehlvest, Kaidanov-Dlugy, and Fishbein-Benjamin – were all drawn.

The 2019 Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships will be contested daily from July 10th-20th at the Saint Louis Chess Club, with a rest day on July 1th. Rounds start at 1pm CDT, except for July 20th, when play begins at 11am.

US Junior/Senior/Girls Quick Links: 

Official STL Chess Club YouTube

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Pairings & Results US Junior

Pairings & Results US Senior

Pairings & Results US Girls 

Winners of the US Junior Championship and US Junior Girls Championship will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to be used at the institution of his or her choice. The scholarship is generously jointly funded by the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess.


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