Yip Overtakes Wu in Girls; Sheng Joins Checa in Junior Lead

Once again two-thirds of the games played in Wednesday’s Round 6 action at the U.S. Junior, Girls, and Senior Championships featured decisive results, setting up some key matchups as today’s Round 7 gets under way. Nicolas Checa entered yesterday’s play in clear first place in the Junior. He drew with Awonder Liang, and today he plays Joshua Sheng, who grabbed a share of the lead by winning over Hans Niemann. Carissa Yip vaulted into first place in the Girls with her victory over Rochelle Wu. Yip plays Martha Samadashvili in Round 7, while Wu and Emily Nguyen, who are tied for second place, are paired with Thalia Cervantes and the surging Rui Yang Yan, respectively. Co-leaders Alex Shabalov and Alex Goldin split the point their Round 6 matchup, the only draw of the day in the Seniors Championship. They retain their co-leadership position heading into today’s play, when Shabalov meets Yermolinsky and Goldin faces Kaidanov. JUNIORS

courtesy STLCC

The game between leader Checa and second-place Liang appeared, at first blush, to be headed into treacherous waters with Liang essaying the Dutch and Checa responding with the Bg5 system. After Checa neglected to capture the knight on f6 – thematic in these lines – to keep the game more sedate and ‘in control,’ the game quickly burned out and the players agreed to a draw after 30 moves.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.17"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Checa, Nicolas"] [Black "Liang, Awonder"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A80"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg5 d5 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 h6 6. Bf4 g5 7. Bg3 Bg7 8. Nb5 Na6 9. c4 O-O 10. Bd3 c6 11. Nc3 Nc7 12. O-O Nce8 13. Qc2 Nd6 14. cxd5 cxd5 15. Nb5 Nxb5 16. Bxb5 Bd7 17. Bd3 Qb6 18. Bc7 Qb4 19. a3 Qe7 20. Rfc1 Rfc8 21. Qd1 Ba4 22. Qxa4 Rxc7 23. Rc2 a6 24. Rac1 Rac8 25. Ne5 Rxc2 26. Rxc2 Rxc2 27. Qxc2 Qd8 28. g3 Nd7 29. Nf3 Bf8 30. Ne5 Nxe5 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
This gave Joshua Sheng a chance to catch up with Checa after his win over Hans Niemann. Niemann’s reverse Benoni went wrong in the early middlegame, and his position had too many holes to save the game.
[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Junior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.17"] [Round "6.2"] [White "Niemann, Hans Moke"] [Black "Sheng, Joshua"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A09"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 e5 5. d3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Bxd2+ 7. Nbxd2 a5 8. a3 a4 9. b4 axb3 10. Qxb3 Nf6 11. O-O Nd7 12. Ne1 O-O 13. Qb5 Ra6 14. f4 Rb6 15. Qd5 Rb2 16. Nef3 Ne7 17. Qa5 b6 18. Qa4 exf4 19. Qd1 Nc5 20. gxf4 Nf5 21. Qc1 Na4 22. Rf2 Ne3 23. Ne1 Ng4 24. Rf1 Qe7 25. Ne4 Rxe2 26. Ng3 Nc3 27. Nf3 Bb7 28. h3 Ne3 29. Rf2 Rxf2 30. Kxf2 Qd6 0-1 [/pgn]
Sheng had the only win of the round. The three remaining games – Vaidya-Burke, Yu-Tang, and Jacobson-Hilby – were all drawn. Today’s Pairings: Tang (2.5) – Vaidya (2.5), Hilby (1.5) – Yu (0.5), Liang (4.5) – Jacobson (3.5), Sheng (5) – Checa (5), Burke (2.5) – Niemann (2.5). GIRLS

courtesy STLCC

One of the refreshing aspects of this set of Championships is the camraderie that the players feel with one another. And so it is with Carissa Yip and Rochelle Wu, friends away from the board, but fierce competitors on it. Yesterday saw the critical matchup between first-place Wu and second-place Yip. https://twitter.com/IMCryptochess/status/1151376278852952070 Wu chose the Sveshnikov for her key matchup with Yip, deviating from recent practice with her 9. … Nf5 (instead of 9. … Ng6). With weakish dark squares around her king, Wu lashed out with 24. … f5, appearing to force a draw by repetition after 25. Nf6+ Kg7 26. Nh5+. 26. … Kg8 would indeed have forced Yip to take the draw, but Wu’s disdain for shared points overrode the advice of her better angels, leading her to play the dubious 26. … Kh8. Yip did not miss her chance, responding with 27. Qh7! and winning the game in short order.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Girls Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.17"] [Round "6.5"] [White "Yip, Carissa"] [Black "Wu, Rochelle"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B34"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8. exd5 Ne7 9. c4 Nf5 10. Bd3 g6 11. O-O a6 12. Bg5 Be7 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Nc3 O-O 15. Re1 Qc7 16. Rc1 Nd4 17. b4 b6 18. Qd2 Bf5 19. Bxf5 Nxf5 20. Ne4 Nd4 21. c5 dxc5 22. bxc5 bxc5 23. d6 Qb6 24. Qg5 f5 25. Nf6+ Kg7 26. Nh5+ Kh8 (26... Kg8 $11) 27. Qe7 $1 gxh5 28. Qxe5+ Kg8 29. Qg3+ Kh8 30. Qe5+ Kg8 31. Qg3+ (31. Qd5+ Kh8 32. Rxc5) 31... Kh8 32. Re7 Nf3+ (32... Rf7 $5 33. Qe5+ (33. Rxf7 $2 Ne2+) 33... Kg8 34. Qd5 Raf8 {and Black is hanging on, although not by much.}) 33. Qxf3 Qxd6 34. Rce1 h4 $2 35. R1e6 (35. R1e6 Qd2 36. Rxh7+ Kxh7 37. Qh5+ Kg8 38. Rg6+ {and mate is inevitable.}) 1-0 [/pgn]
All of the Round 6 games in the Girls section were conclusive, with perhaps the most notable being Rui Yang Yan’s 34 move demolition of Maggie Feng’s French Defense. Feng tends to stick to her favored lines, allowing Yan to prepare their opening through at least move 24.
[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Girls Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.17"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Yang Yan, Rui"] [Black "Feng, Maggie"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C18"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. Qg4 O-O 8. Bd3 Nbc6 9. Qh5 Ng6 10. Nf3 Qc7 11. Be3 c4 12. Bxg6 fxg6 13. Qg4 Qf7 14. Ng5 Qe8 15. h4 h6 16. Nh3 b5 17. Qe2 a5 18. g4 Bd7 19. h5 gxh5 20. g5 hxg5 21. Nxg5 g6 22. Kd2 b4 23. Rag1 bxc3+ 24. Kxc3 Qe7 25. Ne4 Qxa3+ 26. Kd2 Qb4+ 27. Nc3 Kf7 28. Rxg6 Ke8 29. Rg7 Nd8 30. Rb1 Qa3 31. Qxh5+ Nf7 32. Bg5 Bc6 33. Qg6 Bd7 34. Nb5 c3+ 35. Kd1 1-0 [/pgn]
In other results, Emily Nguyen picked up a key victory over Agata Bykovtsev, thrusting her into a tie for second place as today’s Round 7 starts. Thalia Cervantes continued her good showing with a win over Veronika Zilajeva, and Martha Samadashvili ground down Rachael Li in a long endgame. Today’s Pairings: Wu (4.5) – Cervantes (3.5), Samadashvili (3.5) – Yip (5), Feng (2) – Li (0.5), Nguyen (4.5) – Yan (4), Zilajeva (1) – Bykovtsev (1.5). SENIORS

courtesy STLCC

All eyes were on the game between co-leaders Alex Goldin and Alex Shabalov, and the players did not disappoint, taking a complex opening into an imbalanced endgame where Goldin had a knight for three pawns. He was able to win Shabalov’s dangerous passed a-pawn, but the resulting positions were solid enough for Shabalov to hold the draw without too much trouble.

[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.17"] [Round "6.4"] [White "Goldin, Alexander"] [Black "Shabalov, Alexander"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A48"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nbd2 Bg7 4. e4 O-O 5. e5 Ne8 6. Bc4 c5 7. dxc5 Nc6 8. O-O Nxe5 9. Nxe5 Bxe5 10. Re1 Qc7 11. Qe2 Bxh2+ 12. Kh1 d5 13. Bxd5 Nf6 14. Bf3 Bf4 15. Nb3 Bxc1 16. Raxc1 Re8 17. Qe5 Qxe5 18. Rxe5 Rb8 19. Na5 Nd7 20. Rd5 e6 21. Rxd7 Bxd7 22. Bxb7 Rxb7 23. Nxb7 Rb8 24. Na5 Rxb2 25. c6 Bc8 26. Rd1 Ba6 27. Rd8+ Kg7 28. c4 Rxa2 29. Nb3 Rc2 30. Nc5 Rxc4 31. Nxa6 Rxc6 32. Nb4 Rc1+ 33. Kh2 a5 34. Na6 Rc6 35. Nb8 Rb6 36. Rc8 a4 37. Nd7 Rb2 38. f3 a3 39. Ra8 a2 40. Ne5 g5 41. Nd3 Rc2 42. Nb4 Rc4 43. Nxa2 e5 44. Ra5 f6 45. Ra3 e4 46. fxe4 Rxe4 47. Nc3 Re5 48. Nd1 h5 49. Nf2 Kg6 50. Ra6 Re3 51. g3 Kf5 52. Kg2 Kg6 53. Rd6 Kf5 54. Rb6 Kg6 55. Rd6 Kf5 56. Nd1 Ra3 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]
In the other Senior results, all decisive: Igor Novikov defeated Jaan Ehlvest, Joel Benjamin downed the struggling Max Dlugy, Gregory Kaidanov got his first win of the event over Larry Christiansen, and Alex Yermolinsky won in 97 moves over Alex Fishbein. Yermo’s last move won Fishbein’s knight, so we can forgive him for missing a mate-in-two!
[pgn] [Event "2019 U.S. Senior Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.07.17"] [Round "6.5"] [White "Yermolinsky, Alex"] [Black "Fishbein, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E94"] [Annotator "Hartmann,John"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3n3k/8/3N1K1P/8/4B3/8/8/8 w - - 0 97"] [PlyCount "1"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 97. Ke7 (97. h7 Ne6 98. Nf7#) 1-0 [/pgn]
Today’s Pairings: Fishbein (2) – Ehlvest (2.5), Shabalov (4) – Yermolinsky (3), Kaidanov (3.5) – Goldin (4), Dlugy (1) – Christiansen (3), Novikov (3.5) – Benjamin (3.5).

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  Winners of the US Junior Championship and US Junior Girls Championship will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to be used at the institution of his or her choice. The scholarship is generously jointly funded by the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The Junior and Girls events do not split their respective College/University scholarships if there is a tie at the end. Now is the time for everyone to play for the win.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Yip Overtakes Wu in Girls; Sheng Joins Checa in Junior Lead – With weakish dark squares around her king, Wu lashed out with 24. […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

In 2006 All Senior Championship participants, (except Ehlvest) played in USA Championship. In addition, our commentators Jesse Kraai, and Tatev Abrahamyan also played in 2006 US Championship as did twitter feeder Joshua Friedel.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I love how well the blue Andover A cap goes with US Chess wear, Carissa :) You are a champion.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

There were two cute-looking stalemate possibilities in the final position of Yermolinsky-Fishbein. 98...Nf7 99 Kxf7 is one. The other is 98...Nxf7 99 Nxf7 Kg8 100 h7 Kg7 101 h8R is the other

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