Two Rounds to Go in U.S. Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships

Paths to the 2019 U.S. Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships are narrowing as today’s Round 8 action kicks off at 1pm CDT. Nicolas Checa continues to lead in the Junior with 6/7, having already played his two closest competitors, Awonder Liang (5.5) and Joshua Sheng (5), and defeating the latter yesterday. Carissa Yip is also at 6/7, leading the Girls Championship by half a point over Rochelle Wu (5.5) and Rui Yang Yan (5). The Senior Championship is more tightly bunched, with Gregory Kaidanov and Alex Shabalov sharing the lead with 4.5/7. Three players – Joel Benjamin, Alex Goldin, and Igor Novikov – trail them by half a point at 4/7. Here’s a look at yesterday’s Round 7 results. JUNIORS

courtesy STLCC

Nicolas Checa continued to show his excellent technique, conjuring a win from what looked like a fairly even position against Joshua Sheng.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Sheng, Joshua"] [Black "Checa, Nicolas"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C07"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. Ngf3 cxd4 6. Bc4 Qd6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nb3 Nc6 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 11. Re1 Qc7 12. Bf1 Be7 13. Qf3 O-O 14. Bf4 Bd6 15. Bxd6 Qxd6 16. Rad1 Qb6 17. Qb3 Qc7 18. Nf3 Bd7 19. Ne5 Rfd8 20. Nxd7 Rxd7 21. Rxd7 Qxd7 22. Qd3 Qxd3 23. Bxd3 Kf8 24. a4 a5 25. Re5 b6 26. Rb5 Nd7 27. Kf1 Ke7 28. Ke2 Kd6 29. Rg5 g6 30. Bb5 Nc5 31. Rg4 e5 32. c3 e4 33. Rh4 h5 34. f3 Ke5 35. Ke3 exf3 36. gxf3 Ra7 37. Rd4 g5 38. h4 f6 39. Be8 Re7 40. Bxh5 Rh7 41. Be8 Rxh4 42. b4 Ne6 43. Rxh4 gxh4 44. Bd7 Nf4 45. Kf2 axb4 46. cxb4 Nd3+ 47. Ke3 Nxb4 48. f4+ Kd6 49. Bh3 Nd5+ 50. Kf3 Nc3 51. Kg4 Nxa4 52. Kxh4 b5 53. Kg4 Nc3 54. Bf1 b4 55. Kf5 Ke7 56. Bc4 Nb1 0-1 [/pgn]
Checa’s win kept him in first place after, earlier in the round, Awonder Liang defeated Brandon Jacobson to (temporarily) vault ahead of Checa in the standings.

Liang-Jacobson (photo Crystal Fuller)

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Liang, Awonder"] [Black "Jacobson, Brandon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B23"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Bd7 5. b3 Nf6 6. Bb2 e5 7. Qd2 Bc6 8. f3 Be7 9. h4 h5 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. Kb1 Qa5 12. Nh3 Qc5 13. Nf2 a6 14. g3 Qa7 15. f4 O-O 16. Bh3 b5 17. g4 hxg4 18. Nxg4 Nxe4 19. Nxe4 Bxe4 20. Rhg1 Rac8 21. Ne3 f5 22. Bg2 Rf7 23. Bxe4 fxe4 24. Nd5 Bf8 25. h5 e3 26. Nxe3 Rxf4 27. h6 Nf6 28. hxg7 Bxg7 29. Qxd6 Qf7 30. Qxe5 Ng4 31. Nxg4 Bxe5 32. Nxe5+ 1-0 [/pgn]
In other results, Andrew Tang defeated Atulya Vaidya, Craig Hilby won against Jennifer Yu, and John Burke drew with Hans Niemann. Today’s pairings: Vaidya (2.5) – Niemann (3), Checa (6) – Burke (3), Jacobson (3.5) – Sheng (5), Yu (0.5) – Liang (5.5), Tang (3.5) – Hilby (2.5) GIRLS

courtesy STLCC

Carissa Yip continued her strong showing with an interesting victory over Martha Samadashvili, winning the exchange in the late middlegame and converting her material advantage in 67 moves.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Girls Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Samadashvili, Martha"] [Black "Yip, Carissa"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C50"] [PlyCount "134"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. Nbd2 d5 7. exd5 Nxd5 8. Ne4 Be7 9. O-O a6 10. a4 Bf5 11. Re1 Bg6 12. a5 Qd7 13. Ng3 b5 14. axb6 Nxb6 15. Rxa6 Nxc4 16. Rxa8 Rxa8 17. dxc4 Qxd1 18. Rxd1 Ra1 19. Re1 Bd3 20. b3 f6 21. Be3 Ra3 22. Rd1 Bc2 23. Rd7 Ra1+ 24. Nf1 Bd6 25. g4 Bd1 26. Kg2 e4 27. N3d2 Bxg4 28. Rxd6 cxd6 29. Nxe4 Na5 30. Nfd2 Nb7 31. Bf4 Rd1 32. f3 Bf5 33. Kf2 Bxe4 34. Nxe4 Kf7 35. Ke2 Rb1 36. b4 Ke6 37. Nd2 Rb2 38. Kd1 g5 39. Be3 Ra2 40. Kc1 Ra1+ 41. Nb1 Ra2 42. Nd2 Ra1+ 43. Nb1 Kf5 44. Kb2 Ra8 45. Na3 Re8 46. Nc2 Ke6 47. Kb3 Kd7 48. Bd4 f5 49. Ne3 f4 50. Nd5 Re2 51. h3 Rh2 52. Nf6+ Kc8 53. Ne4 h6 54. Nf2 Nd8 55. Ka4 Nc6 56. Ne4 Rxh3 57. Nxd6+ Kd7 58. Ne4 Rxf3 59. b5 Nxd4 60. cxd4 Re3 61. Nc5+ Kc7 62. Na6+ Kb7 63. Nc5+ Kc7 64. Na6+ Kc8 65. c5 f3 66. c6 f2 67. b6 Re7 0-1 [/pgn]

Rochelle Wu at the 'big board' (photo Austin Fuller)

Rochelle Wu  chose a ‘path less traveled’ with 11. Qc2 in the Exchange Grunfeld, and was rewarded with a win over Thalia Cervantes. Cervantes appears to have miscalculated on move 26, after which Wu’s piece activity was too much for Cervantes to overcome.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Girls Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Wu, Rochelle"] [Black "Cervantes, Thalia"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D85"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Be3 O-O 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Qc2 Nd7 12. d5 Qc7 13. Rad1 Rad8 14. c4 e6 15. Bg5 Rc8 16. Nd2 Rfe8 17. dxe6 fxe6 18. f4 Nb8 19. e5 Nc6 20. Nf3 Bf8 21. h4 Be7 22. Qb1 Bxg5 23. Nxg5 Nd4 24. Bd3 Qe7 25. Rf2 Rf8 26. Be4 Rxf4 27. Rxf4 Ne2+ 28. Kh2 Nxf4 29. g3 Bxe4 30. Qxe4 Nh5 31. Rd6 Ng7 32. Qd3 Rf8 33. Rd7 Qe8 34. Ne4 Qb8 35. Nf6+ Kh8 36. Qe3 Rxf6 37. exf6 Nf5 38. Qe5 1-0 [/pgn]
Emily Nguyen, who was tied for second place heading into yesterday’s games, suffered a heartbreaking loss to Rui Yang Yan when she blundered in a better position. The win pushes Yan into clear third place.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Girls Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Nguyen, Emily"] [Black "Yang Yan, Rui"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E12"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r5/2B3p1/p3k2p/2p5/4b3/P3P2P/1P1R2P1/6K1 w - - 0 41"] [PlyCount "36"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 41. Rd6+ $2 (41. Ba5) (41. Bb6) (41. Bd8) 41... Ke7 {One of the pieces has to fall.} 42. Rxa6 Rxc7 43. Ra4 Bd5 44. Rg4 Ke6 45. Kf2 Ke5 46. Ke2 Be6 47. Ra4 Rb7 48. b4 c4 49. Ra5+ Ke4 50. Ra6 Bd5 51. Rg6 Rc7 52. b5 c3 53. Kd1 Bb3+ 54. Kc1 Rd7 55. Rg4+ Ke5 56. Rd4 Rxd4 57. exd4+ Kxd4 58. b6 Bd5 0-1 [/pgn]
In the two remaining games, Maggie Feng won against Rachael Li, while Agata Bykovtsev took the full point in her match against Veronika Zilajeva. Today’s pairings: Cervantes (3.5) – Bykovtsev (2.5), Yan (5) – Zilajeva (1), Li (0.5) – Nguyen (4.5), Yip (6) – Feng (3), Wu (5.5) – Samadashvili (3.5) SENIORS

courtesy STLCC

Gregory Kaidanov made it two in a row with his win over Alex Goldin. Kaidanov forced Goldin to sacrifice his queen for a knight and rook on move 29, and try as he might, Goldin’s defensive efforts were insufficient to save the game.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Kaidanov, Gregory"] [Black "Goldin, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A05"] [PlyCount "103"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O b6 5. c4 Bb7 6. b3 Be7 7. Bb2 O-O 8. e3 c5 9. Nc3 dxc4 10. bxc4 Nc6 11. Qe2 Qc7 12. Ne1 Rfd8 13. f4 Nb4 14. a3 Bxg2 15. Qxg2 Nc6 16. g4 Ne8 17. d3 a6 18. f5 Bg5 19. Kh1 Nd6 20. Nf3 Bf6 21. e4 Ne8 22. fxe6 fxe6 23. e5 Bxe5 24. Ng5 Nd4 25. Nce4 h6 26. Bxd4 hxg5 27. Bxe5 Qxe5 28. Rae1 Ra7 29. Nf6+ Qxf6 30. Rxf6 Nxf6 31. Qc6 Rxd3 32. Qxb6 Rf7 33. Qxe6 Rxa3 34. Rd1 g6 35. Rf1 Kg7 36. Qe5 Rd3 37. Qxc5 Rdd7 38. Qxg5 Rd4 39. h3 Rxc4 40. Qe5 Re4 41. Qc3 g5 42. Rf5 Kg6 43. Qd2 Nh7 44. Rxf7 Kxf7 45. Qd5+ Re6 46. Qf5+ Nf6 47. Qxg5 Re1+ 48. Kg2 Re2+ 49. Kf1 Rf2+ 50. Ke1 Rf3 51. Qh6 Rg3 52. Qf4 1-0 [/pgn]
Kaidanov’s co-leader, Alex Shabalov, drew a relatively short game against Alex Yermolinsky after the two repeated moves.

Shabalov-Yermolinsky (photo Crystal Fuller)

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.2"] [White "Shabalov, Alexander"] [Black "Yermolinsky, Alex"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A13"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. b3 Nf6 4. g3 c5 5. Bg2 d4 6. e3 Nc6 7. exd4 cxd4 8. O-O Be7 9. d3 O-O 10. Re1 Nd7 11. Ba3 a5 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Nbd2 Nc5 14. Ne4 Nxe4 15. Rxe4 Rd8 16. a3 f6 17. Qc2 e5 18. Nd2 Be6 19. Ree1 Rac8 20. Qb2 Rb8 21. Rab1 Qd7 22. Ne4 Bh3 23. Bh1 b5 24. Nc5 Qd6 25. Ne4 Qd7 26. Nc5 Qd6 27. Ne4 Qd7 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
Max Dlugy got on the scoreboard with his first win of the tournament, defeating Larry Christiansen and proving once again that the London is a fighting opening!

A happy Max Dlugy. (photo Austin Fuller)

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.18"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Dlugy, Maxim"] [Black "Christiansen, Larry"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A45"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 e6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nd2 d5 6. Ngf3 Bd6 7. Bg3 O-O 8. Bd3 b6 9. Qe2 Bb7 10. Rd1 Re8 11. e4 Be7 12. e5 Nh5 13. a3 a5 14. Nf1 g6 15. Ne3 Qc8 16. h4 Ba6 17. Bh2 Bxd3 18. Rxd3 Ng7 19. Ng4 Nf5 20. h5 cxd4 21. cxd4 gxh5 22. Nf6+ Bxf6 23. exf6 Kh8 24. Bf4 Rg8 25. Ng5 Rxg5 26. Bxg5 h4 27. Qh5 Qg8 28. Rh2 Ncxd4 29. Bxh4 Rc8 30. Bg5 Qg6 31. Rdh3 Qxh5 32. Rxh5 h6 33. Bxh6 Kh7 34. Be3+ Kg6 35. Rh6+ Nxh6 36. Rxh6+ Kf5 37. Bxd4 b5 38. Kd2 b4 39. axb4 axb4 40. b3 1-0 [/pgn]
Fishbein-Ehlvest and Novikov-Benjamin were both drawn. Today’s pairings: Ehlvest (3) – Benjamin (4), Christiansen (3) – Novikov (4), Goldin (4) – Dlugy (2), Yermolinsky (3.5) – Kaidanov (4.5), Fishbein (2.5) – Shabalov (4.5


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 16th. 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 Live on uschesschamps.com  Pairings & Results US Junior Pairings & Results US Senior Pairings & Results US Girls 

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