Round 7: Major Moves Made, and Leaders Take Losses

The players came ready to rumble on Thursday at the 2022 Juniors and Senior Championships.

No fewer than 13 of 15 of the seventh round games were decided decisively, and the two draws could easily have been easily decisive as well. IM Igor Khmelnitsky had a winning advantage for a long time, but GM Alexander Shabalov showed “tenacious d” and held the balance. And in the Juniors battle between IM Balaji Daggupati and IM Carissa Yip, Balaji held an advantage, but was unable to convert.

However, the real story on Thursday was what happened to our leaders!


U.S. Girls Juniors


WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki held a commanding two-point lead going into Thursday’s action, thanks to their perfect 6/6 score. However, 2019 U.S. Women’s Champion FM Jennifer Yu took her chances against Morris-Suzuki, winning a key game to keep the leader within arm’s length.



Meanwhile, FM Rochelle Wu joined the chase with a win over WFM Gracy Prasanna, as did FM Thalia Cervantes Landeiro with her victory over WIM Ellen Wang.


2022 Girls Jr Rd7 Standings
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios


With a one-point lead and two rounds to go, you’d think that Morris-Suzuki has to be the favorite to take the title. But one point is not two points, which was Morris-Suzuki’s cushion before Thursday’s play.

Now three experienced players (Yu, Wu, and Cervantes Landerio) are in the hunt for the title. And Cervantes Landeiro has a key final-round game against Morris-Suzuki, which could very well help decide who our champion will ultimately be.

In other games: FM Ruiyang Yan fought her way back to an even score in the tournament with a win over WFM Anne-Marie Velea. And, after a slow start, FM Alice Lee has won her third game in a row by besting WFM Zoey Tang.


U.S. Juniors

The Junior section also saw significant tightening on Thursday.


Yoo versus Brodsky, Round 7
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Yoo versus Brodsky (courtesy SLCC / C. Fuller)


GM Christopher Yoo fell to IM David Brodsky, and this result is important for two reasons. First, Brodsky inches closer to his GM title, as he needs just two rating points to break 2500 — he already has the norms. And with the loss Yoo’s lead is reduced from one and a half points to just one half-point entering Friday’s penultimate round.



Lurking in second place is GM Andrew Hong, who needed just 21 moves as Black to win over GM Brandon Jacobsen.



GM Abhimanyu Mishra is still in the mix at 4/7 after suffering a loss to IM Justin Wang today. But the world’s youngest GM will have a shot to shake up the leaderboard in a crucial game against GM Christopher Yoo in Friday’s round eight.


2022 Jr Rd7 Standings
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios


Other results: GM Awonder Liang capitalized on the chances given by his opponent Pedro Espinosa, while Daggupati and Yip drew as mentioned above.


U.S. Seniors

2022 Senior Rd7 standings
Image Caption
courtesy SLCC / Spectrum Studios


What was three is now one.

After some tightening at the top of the table, the Senior has a clear leader heading into the final two rounds.


GM Larry Christiansen
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GM Larry Christiansen (courtesy SLCC / Crystal Fuller)


GM Larry Christiansen converted a bishop versus knight ending against GM Igor Novikov while his main competitors lost their games.



GM Vladimir Akopian was able to grind down GM Maxim Dlugy in a beautifully played bishop versus knight ending.



And GM Gregory Kaidanov was able to grab the full point point against co-leader GM Dmitry Gurevich by taking advantage of the lack of harmony in Gurevich’s position.

In the final decisive result of the day, new Chess Life columnist GM Joel Benjamin is off the schneid. After winning a pawn in the middlegame, Joel was able to convert his material advantage against his longtime friend GM Nick de Firmian.

Quick Links:

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Annotated games from US Chess (lichess study)