2018-07-16

U.S. Junior Championships - Round 4 Recap



by Vanessa West


For the first time, we have a clear leader in the Girls’ section while Advait Patel has extended his lead in the Juniors section by defeating his closest rival.

Read the full recap >
U.S. Junior Championship

The game of the day was the battle between the leader, Advait Patel, and Alex Bian, who trailed by just half a point when the day began. With the pawn break 20...d5, Patel built up considerable pressure in the center. After a couple inaccurate moves by Bian, Patel cracked through on the kingside, and Bian’s position collapsed.
Akshat Chandra continued his comeback by defeating a second fellow grandmaster in a row. After a tactical inaccuracy by Andrew Tang, Chandra gained two pieces for a rook and then an extra pawn. The resulting position was a matter of technique, and he won cleanly. Chandra now joins the tie for 2nd.

Defending Champion Awonder Liang won his first game of the tournament today against Wild Card Annie Wang. Liang obtained an advanced passed d-pawn when Wang decided to trade her bishop for his octopus knight on d6. Eventually, the pressure created by the passer and Liang’s active pieces overcame Wang’s position.

Praveen Balakrishnan began as an interesting Scotch game but liquidated to an endgame by move 21. Though the players tried to make progress for a while, they eventually agreed to a draw in a level rook ending.
Ruifeng Li vs. Mika Brattain reached a closed but fascinating middlegame with knights of both sides fighting for strong outposts on c4, d5, d6, and even b7. Though Li had an advantage when he gained extra kingside space by pushing his f-pawn to f5, Brattain defended well. After many exchanges, the two agreed to a draw.

As we near the halfway mark, Advait Patel now leads the Junior section by a full point. He also has great chances of maintaining his lead as he has the white pieces against a lower rated player tomorrow.

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

The Girls’ section was a massacre for the black pieces. Players on the white side obtained 4.5 out of 5 points today.

Tournament leaders Carissa Yip and Emily Nguyen faced their closest rivals, Thalia Cervantes and Jennifer Yu, who trailed by half a point heading into the round. Yip found a nice tactical opportunity against Cervantes, using a discovered attack and then a double attack to end up two pawns ahead. Cervantes resigned just eight moves later.
Jennifer Yu and Emily Nguyen had an interesting bishop pair vs. knight pair middlegame struggle. The bishops gained the upper hand as the position opened up, and Yu won two pawns, which she converted without too much trouble. This victory brings Yu to clear 2nd, trailing Yip by only half a point.
Maggie Feng vs. Sophie Morris-Suzuki featured a bishop vs. knight imbalance where Feng had an outside passed a-pawn, and Morris-Suzuki had a kingside majority. This classic struggle was disrupted when Morris-Suzuki tried a hyper-aggressive but inaccurate knight sacrifice to open up Feng’s king. Feng defended precisely and won with her extra material.

Martha Samadashvili scored her first win today against Nastassja Matus with the Maroczy Bind  against the Sicilian Defense. Play was fairly equal until Nastassja blundered with 24...Ra2??, allowing Samadashvili to win a piece with a backrank tactic.

The one peaceful result was Rochelle Wu vs. Sanjana Vittal. Wu gained the bishop pair and expanded in the center, but Vittal’s kingside pressure won her a pawn. Vittal had an advantage when the players agreed to a draw.

Don’t miss round 5. Tomorrow is the last round before the rest day, so the players are likely to go all-out for the win!
Watch all the action LIVE at
USChessChamps.com

Photos courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller. 

Saint Louis Chess Club  |  Building Champions

The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Copyright © 2018 Saint Louis Chess Campus, All rights reserved.

Watch the games of the U.S. Junior Championship and U.S. Girls Championship with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.

2018-07-15

U.S. Junior Championships - Round 3 Recap


by Vanessa West


Seeing the all-decisive round 2 in the Girls’ section yesterday, the Junior section joined the action today with 4 victories out of 5 games. While the Girls’ section overall was more peaceful, the Nastassja Matus vs. Sophie Morris-Suzuki king hunt game featured enough excitement for the whole group!

Read the full recap >
U.S. Junior Championship

The game of the day was IM Praveen Balakrishnan’s upset win over GM Andrew Tang. Tang went all-out to trap Balakrishnan’s queen, but Balakrishnan was able to obtain three minor pieces in exchange. In the resulting position, Balakrishnan had a clear advantage because of his well-placed pieces and lack of weaknesses, which he gradually converted into a victory.
The middlegame of GM John Burke vs. FM Alex Bian was a fascinating battle of ideas, especially when Bian found the maneuver 22...Qh8!?, allowing the queen to contribute to his queenside pressure while stabilizing his kingside. However, Bian blundered later with 33...Kf8?, allowing Burke to play 34. Be6!, setting up the eventual but unstoppable threat of a heavy piece reaching g8 for checkmate.

In Akshat Chandra vs. Ruifeng Li, Li began the game in his usual style with the unorthodox 1...Nc6, surprisingly allowed a transposition into the Ruy Lopez, and then returned to his unconventional ways with 4...g6. The unusual opening play led to a better pawn structure for Chandra, which he converted seamlessly.
Annie Wang vs. Mika Brattain featured an unusual King’s Indian Defense where Black ended up with an isolated queen pawn. Brattain used his greater piece activity to gain a pawn, and he eventually converted a hard-fought endgame into a win.

Advait Patel vs. Awonder Liang ended in a fairly quick draw, allowing Patel to reach 2.5 points and become the sole leader of the championship.

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

The game of the day was Nastassja Matus vs. Sophie Morris-Suzuki, which featured a wild king hunt while three queens were on the board!
Even though she entered the round with two previous losses, Morris-Suzuki played bravely for the win. In a reverse Sicilian, she sacrificed two pawns to create pressure on Matus’s king in the center. Though her king was in danger, Matus focused on her queenside counterplay, eventually promoting to an extra queen. Despite the vast material imbalance, Morris-Suzuki’s king attack raged on, and she had an opportunity for a draw by perpetual check. She courageously went for the win but overlooked how Matus’s king could escape. When Morris-Suzuki ran out of checks, Matus’s two queens finally had their say.

Jennifer Yu played an excellent attacking game against Sanjana Vittal, achieving a dream octopus knight on d3, which gave her control over the entire board.
After so many decisive games yesterday, the rest of the Girls’ section ended with peaceful draws. Rochelle Wu had great attacking chances against Maggie Feng from the opening, but the attack fizzled out after a queen trade. In the endgame, it was Feng who had chances to press her slight advantage when the two decided to repeat the position. Thalia Cervantes pressed against Martha Samadashvili for over 80 moves but the game eventually liquidated into a bishop and rook vs. bishop and rook. Emily Nguyen and Carissa Yip drew to retain their half point lead over the field. Tune in tomorrow to see if we’ll finally have a clear leader.
Watch all the action LIVE at
USChessChamps.com

Photos courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller. 


Saint Louis Chess Club  |  Building Champions

The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Copyright © 2018 Saint Louis Chess Campus, All rights reserved.



Watch the games of the U.S. Junior Championship and U.S. Girls Championship with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.

2018-07-14

Orbis GM and IM tournaments 2018

Orbis GM and IM tournaments 2018 are a 10-player round-robin tournaments taking place between 14 and 20 July 2018 in Paracin, Serbia. Players receive 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes to the end of the game, plus a 30-second increment starting from move one.

Official site

Schedule:
Round 1 2018/07/14 16:30
Round 2 2018/07/15 10:00
Round 3 2018/07/15 16:30
Round 4 2018/07/16 16:30
Round 5 2018/07/17 16:30
Round 6 2018/07/18 10:00
Round 7 2018/07/18 16:30
Round 8 2018/07/19 16:30
Round 9 2018/07/20 10:00

Watch the games of the Orbis GM tournament 2018 and Orbis IM tournament 2018 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.


U.S. Junior Championships - Round 2 Recap


by Vanessa West


Round 2 of the U.S. Junior Championships was a round of many surprises. Three underdogs, Annie Wang, Alex Bian, and Rochelle Wu, won upset victories over tournament favorites.

Read the full recap >
U.S. Junior Championship

FIDE Master Alex Bian played the game of the day when he gained his second grandmaster upset win in a row with his cool-headed defensive skills. GM Andrew Tang inaccurately gave up a piece to open up Bian’s kingside. Though his king was under pressure, Bian retained his extra material and defended precisely to secure the victory.
Annie Wang achieved an even bigger upset in terms of rating against top seeded Ruifeng Li. Li won a pawn in the middlegame, but Wang focused on gaining compensation through piece activity. On move 33, Li shockingly blundered, allowing a backrank tactic that Wang had no trouble finding. This win is Wang’s second ever victory over a grandmaster. On the other hand, for the second year in a row, Li enters the tournament as the top ranked player and begins with a half point out of 2. Can he recover in the following rounds?
Mika Brattain vs. Advait Patel began as a thrilling King’s Indian Attack position where Brattain actually had to “un-castle” his king, bringing it back into the center to evade Patel’s immense kingside pressure. Brattain’s king managed to survive a very complicated middlegame, running to the queenside, and the players found themselves in an imbalanced but level ending. Patel had two knights and a doubled isolated extra pawn while Brattain had a bishop and knight. In time trouble, Brattain missed the best endgame defense, and Patel gained the full point.

Praveen Balakrishnan vs. Akshat Chandra was a topsy-turvy Benoni struggle. Despite the heavily dynamic middlegame, play eventually fizzled out into a draw when several pieces were liquidated.

Today’s grandmaster matchup, Awonder Liang vs. John Burke, went into a level rook and bishop endgame fairly early on the 24th move. Though both players tried to make progress for a while, after a couple more exchanges, the players agreed to a draw.

Alex Bian and Advait Patel continue to be the unexpected leaders of the Junior section, each with perfect 2-0 scores.

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Competitors in the Girls’ section came to play for glory today—every single game was decisive!
The game of the day in the Girls’ section was definitely Rochelle Wu’s victory over Top Seed Jennifer Yu. Although Yu had an advantage for much of the middlegame, she underestimated Wu’s queenside counterplay. On move 38, Wu noticed a key possibility in 38...b3!, allowing her to bring her queen into the heart of Yu’s position and gobble up several weak pawns. Wu reached the rook endgame with three extra pawns and gradually converted into a victory.
In Carissa Yip vs. Sanjana Vittal, Vittal played actively, planting an “octopus knight” on d3, but the knight ended up pinned and poorly supported. Eventually Yip won the knight tactically and the game.

In her game against Nastassja Matus, Maggie Feng also achieved an octopus knight on d6. Her knight was well-supported though, and she used it to put pressure on her opponent’s queenside. Eventually, she gained an extra pawn—an outside passed a-pawn—which she gradually advanced down the board in the resulting queen ending. When Feng also gained considerable pressure on her opponent’s kingside pawns, there was no defense, and Matus resigned down four pawns in a king and pawn ending.
Sophie Morris-Suzuki vs. Thalia Cervantes was a balanced game until move 31, when Cervantes found a shot on the kingside, opening up Morris-Suzuki’s already somewhat loose kingside and quickly mating.

Martha Samadashvili vs. Emily Nguyen was level until they reached a king and pawn ending when Nguyen gained a more active king. As is often the case in these kinds of endings, that in itself was enough to win the game.

Next round, the tournament leaders, Carissa Yip and Emily Nguyen, are paired against each other. Get ready for an exciting matchup and possibly a sole leader by the end of tomorrow.

One thing is clear—It’s tough to be a top seed, and no one in this event should be underestimated!
Watch all the action LIVE at
USChessChamps.com

Photos courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller. 


Saint Louis Chess Club  |  Building Champions

The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Copyright © 2018 Saint Louis Chess Campus, All rights reserved.



Watch the games of the U.S. Junior Championship and U.S. Girls Championship with  computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.