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.
Nicolas Checa continued to show his excellent technique, conjuring a win from what looked like a fairly even position against Joshua Sheng.
Sheng-Checa (photo Crystal Fuller)
Sheng-Checa (photo Austin Fuller)
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)
In other results, Andrew Tang defeated Atulya Vaidya, Craig Hilby won against Jennifer Yu, and John Burke drew with Hans Niemann.
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.
Carissa Yip (photo Crystal Fuller)
Martha Samadashvili (photo Crystal Fuller)
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.
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.
Emily Nguyen (photo Austin Fuller)
Rui Yang Yan (photo Crystal Fuller)
Rui Yang Yan talks to Jesse Kraai (photo Crystal Fuller)
In the two remaining games, Maggie Feng won against Rachael Li, while Agata Bykovtsev took the full point in her match against Veronika Zilajeva.
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.
Kaidanov-Goldin (photo Crystal Fuller)
“Can you believe these moves?” (photo Crystal Fuller)
Kaidanov’s co-leader, Alex Shabalov, drew a relatively short game against Alex Yermolinsky after the two repeated moves.
Shabalov-Yermolinsky (photo Crystal Fuller)
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)
Fishbein-Ehlvest and Novikov-Benjamin were both 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 16th. Rounds start at 1pm CDT, except for July 20th, when play begins at 11am.