Two Alexes reigned in Northfield, Minnesota, the site of the US Junior Open and US Senior Open from July 21-23. Our new US Senior Open Champion, Alex Yermolinsky, and our new US Junior Open Champion, Alex Bian, both followed similar paths to victory in the prestigious pair of tournaments.
Alex Yermolinsky won with 5.5/6 after notching a critical penultimate round victory over fellow Grandmaster Dmitry Gurevich and following it up with a final round win over NM Mark Dejmek. See full standings on chessweekend.com.
In the US Junior Open, Alex Bian (IL) won his favorite game of the tournament in round five, a quick victory that brought him to 4.5/5.
In round six, Bian was still facing an uphill battle against Grant Xu, who entered the round with a perfect 5-0. Bian needed the win.
“Going into the final round, I spent around two hours preparing. The time still didn’t feel like it was enough, and I went into the round not completely sure of my preparation. As it turns out, he played into a completely different opening altogether, one that I knew very little theory in.”
Bian explains that Xu was surprised by the move c5 after Kd6, and lost hope in his position, which is why he missed Qb8 despite being up 45 minutes to 2.
“How I feel now is sort of surreal; qualifying for the Junior Closed is a huge honor. (But) I can’t afford to keep celebrating, since I have two more upcoming tournaments coming up, the Potomac Open and the 118th US Open in Norfolk, VA. ”