World Juniors: Yip Leads Girls, Niemann Close Behind in Open

The 2023 FIDE Junior Chess Championships are officially past the halfway point, with six rounds played and five more to follow. IM Carissa Yip leads the Girls Under-20 section with a 5½/6 score.


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Yip at work (courtesy David Llada/FIDE)


The top-rated Yip, who is playing her last Junior event having turned 20 earlier this month, started off the event with three straight wins. After a pair of tactical finishes, she switched gears to a positional Catalan win in round three.



Returning to her favored King's Indian Defense in round four, her opponent allowed her to open the center with a ... d6-d5 break that led to clarity and a relatively uneventful draw.



From here, Yip was set on producing a more colorful game, returning to one of her pet openings for the third time this year. 



Yip then defeated her co-leader on the black side of another King's Indian in the sharpest game of her tournament. 



Tonight, Yip plays Swiss WIM Sofiia Hryzlova with the white pieces. Full pairings are available here, and games can be followed live on and

Top-ranked GM Hans Niemann is in a group of 14 players with 4½/6 that trail the six co-leaders by a half-point. Fellow Americans IM Kirk Ghazarian, IM Andy Woodward, and IM Josiah Stearman are in a large group with 4/6. 


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Niemann at the drawing of lots during the opening ceremony (courtesy David Llada/FIDE)


The tournament heated up when Niemann was paired against his compatriot Woodward in the third round. Armed with good prep in a sharp King's English gambit, Woodward managed to seize the initiative as Black and take control of the game relatively quickly. 



The great result for the 13-year-old Woodward should excite fans of American chess looking to see who will join GM Abhimanyu Mishra as part of the next generation. 


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Woodward made waves with his upset of Niemann in their third-round clash (courtesy David Llada/FIDE)


Woodward lost to French GM Marcàndria Maurizzi in the fourth round, but bounced back in round five with a win over Peruvian IM Diego Flores Quillas in a remarkably complex Najdorf where activity mattered more than material.



In round six, Woodward's loss to Hungarian IM Gleb Dudin came down to one misguided decision. 



Niemann reared back after his loss with two straight wins, including this accurate takedown of a King's Indian Defense, before yielding a draw in round six.



Ghazarian was the last unbeaten American standing, winning his first three games before drawing rounds four and five. His third win, against second-seeded German GM Frederik Svane, was a particularly adept takedown of Svane's ambitious Benoni.



Ghazarian is still in the hunt, but his sixth-round loss to Indian GM Pranav Anand put a damper on his momentum. 



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Ghazarian was the "last American standing," going undefeated through five rounds (courtesy David Llada/FIDE)


With a pair of draws against Australian IM Cameron McGowan in round two and Bulgarian GM Momchil Petkov in round four, Stearman was knocked back a peg in round five by losing to Indian IM Sharma Dushyant. But he is very much still in the thick of things, as evidenced by his smooth bounce-back victory over IM Dante Beukes.



Games for both sections begin at 5:00 p.m. CDT. Full pairings for round seven of the open are available here. Live games can also be followed on and