2019 U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

 For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Buffington
Marketing & Event Manager(314) 277-3930


2019 U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

Awonder Liang and Carissa Yip emerge victorious in U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships, while Alex Shabalov becomes first-ever U.S. Senior Champion


SAINT LOUIS (July 22, 2019) The national junior and senior chess championships have concluded in Saint Louis, the nation’s Chess Capital, with 16-year-old Awonder Liang taking home the U.S. Junior Championship, another 16-year-old, Carissa Yip, winning the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and U.S. Chess Hall-of-Famer Alex Shabalov beating out a field that included four other hall-of-famers to be crowned the first-ever U.S. Senior Champion.

Both the U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships have been mainstay events at the Saint Louis Chess Club for some time now, with this being the tenth and third year for each tournament respectively. 2019 marked the debut of the U.S. Senior Championship, which featured the top 10 players in the United States over 50 years old, including five U.S. Chess Hall of Famers. All three tournaments ran concurrently from July 10-20, 2019 and were broadcast live on www.uschesschamps.com.

These events marked a unique moment in bringing together the past and the future of chess for a celebration of the best in each age bracket, and with more than $80,000 in prizes on the line, both the prodigies and the legends brought their best. “To have these events bring in this caliber of talent indicates that American chess is in good hands,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “We started something special this year with the U.S. Senior Championships, and to have those legends play alongside these future stars in the juniors is unique and powerful.”

This victory marked the third consecutive U.S. Junior Chess Championship for Liang, who qualified again for the U.S. Chess Championship next year by doing so. This victory didn’t come easy, as a draw against Andrew Tang on the final day of competition forced a playoff between Liang and Nicolas Checa, which Liang won 2-0. “It’s a great feeling to know that I’m going back to the U.S. Chess Championship next year,” Liang said. “That field gets stronger every year, so having a chance to play among the best is only going to help me moving forward.”

Carissa Yip’s victory at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Chess Championship was her second in a row, and as the youngest-ever chess player to reach the title of Expert, it’s clear that she has a bright future ahead. With an invitation in-hand to next year’s U.S. Women’s Championship, she’s looking to make an even bigger splash next time around. “I’m already looking forward to 2020 and playing in the U.S. Women’s Championship,” Yip said. “There are so many talented women here in the U.S., and I feel like I made great progress here that will hopefully carry over to a bigger tournament.”

For Alex Shabalov, the U.S. Senior Championship was a great opportunity to not only reminisce, but keep his game fresh among the best players age 50 and above in the U.S. “This was a great tournament for everyone involved, and I hope they keep it going in 2020 and beyond,” he said. “It’s also amazing seeing the future of the sport play alongside us here.”

Next month, the Saint Louis Chess Club with host two more elite tournaments, the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz and the Sinquefield Cup. Each will feature ten of the world’s best players, including defending World Champion Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Championship runner-up Fabiano Caruana and 2019 U.S. Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura.

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.