America’s Rising Chess Stars Converge in Saint Louis

2018 U.S. Junior & U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships Set for the Saint Louis Chess Club


SAINT LOUIS (July 9, 2018) –  The skilled and competitive new generation of chess talent will compete for the U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior Chess Championship titles at the Saint Louis Chess Club July 11-21, 2018. The two 10-player fields are filled with young prodigies who are ready to test their mettle in 9 rounds of classical chess. For many of these players, the tournament will serve as a stepping stone to achieving such lofty goals as the Grandmaster titles, elite player status, and potentially World Championship competitions.

This year’s tournament includes an exciting opponent in the 2018 Junior field, as 16-year-old WIM Annie Wang will be competing against all male opponents. She secured the wildcard position in the tournament due to her spectacular second place finish against IM Nazi Paikidze during the playoff of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in April. Wang will be competing for the prize fund of more than $20,000 and a coveted spot in the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship, where she would compete against America’s big three: GM Wesley So, GM Hikaru Nakamura, and world championship contender, GM Fabiano Caruana. Alongside her in the field will be other talented juniors, including previous champions GM Akshat Chandra and defending champion GM Awonder Liang. 

“The U.S. Junior Championships are always a great opportunity for us to see what the future of chess looks like,” says Executive Director Tony Rich. “With Annie Wang as the wildcard and all the other young, yet seasoned players, the future of American chess is brighter than ever.”

The U.S. Girls’ Junior section also promises to offer exciting battles with previous U.S. Women’s Championship players FM Maggie Feng, WIM Emily Nguyen, and WIM Jennifer Yu. For many of these players, the tournament is an opportunity to improve their rating and prepare for future major tournaments. Although this tournament is fairly new, it has produced many players who have gone on to shine at major national and international tournaments, while others have taken the skills learned from chess to study at elite universities like Agata Bykovtsev at MIT. Along with winning the title, players will be up for the chance to win a piece of the more than $10,000 prize fund. 

Covering all the action will be the expert commentary team of WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and GM Robert Hess. The team will be providing game analysis daily starting at 1 p.m.For more information, visit www.uschesschamps.com.

NameInvitational Rating*QualificationHometown
GM Ruifeng Li2686RatingPlano, TX
GM Awonder Liang26532017 U.S. Junior ChampionMadison, WI
GM Andrew Tang2620RatingPlymouth, MN
GM John Michael Burke2608RatingBrick, NJ
GM Akshat Chandra2593RatingSaint Louis, MO
IM Advait Patel2592RatingMidwest City, OK
NM Mika Brattain2519RatingLexington, MA
IM Praveen Balakrishnan25022017 Denker ChampionCentreville, VA
FM Alex Bian24112017 U.S. Junior Open ChampionLincolnshire, IL
WIM Annie Wang2372WildcardLa Cañada, CA

NameInvitational Rating*QualificationHometown
WIM Jennifer Yu2423RatingAshburn, VA
FM Maggie Feng2355RatingDublin, OH
WIM-Elect Carissa Yip2344RatingAndover, MA
WIM Emily Nguyen2285RatingAustin, TX
WFM Thalia Cervantes2259RatingWebster Groves, MO
WCM Rochelle Wu22172017 National Girls Tournament of ChampionsDavis, CA
WFM Martha Samadashvili2196RatingAlbany, NY
WFM Nastassja Matus2183WildcardPlymouth, MN
WFM Sanjana Vittal2161RatingEast Windsor, NJ
Sophie Morris-Suzuki2155RatingNew York, NY
*Invitational ratings are calculated and certified by the USCF. The USCF is solely responsible for invitational ratings.

About the Saint Louis Chess Club
The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures. 

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.


Saint Louis Chess Club | Building Champions

4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108 | (314) 361-CHESS (2437)

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 & admissions policies, scholarship & loan programs, and athletic & other school-administered programs.
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Expect the games of the US Girls Championship 2018  and US Junior Championship 2018 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.