2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship - Day 2 Recap


Top seed IM Carissa Yip scored a fantastic 2.5/3 points to overtake the lead during the second day of the 2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, starting with a big win over the previous tournament leader and #2 seed, IM Annie Wang. Carissa’s 4.5/6 for the tournament now gives her a half-point lead over Annie and the rest of the field going into  tomorrow’s final rounds. .

Joining Annie in second place was a somewhat surprising contender in WIM Rochelle Wu, who also scored 2.5/3 on the day, earning wins over WFM Martha Samadashvili and WCM Alice Lee. In the post-round interview Rochelle said she didn’t feel like she was playing that well, but instead “getting lucky, especially in the endgame”.

After the second day the current standings are as follows, and all of the games from the tournament can be viewed here.

Round 4

The first round of the day saw top seed IM Carissa Yip come back from being two pawns down to generate huge counterplay and eventually win against the tournament leader, IM Annie Wang.

A sharp middlegame arose in the game Wang-Yip--although White was able to win a few pawns, Black was eventually able to seize the initiative and win the game.

WIM Thalia Cervantes also won her game against WCM Ruiyang Yan, her third straight win in a row, slowly building up pressure in a Queen’s Gambit Declined before breaking through in the late middlegame. These wins allowed Thalia and Carissa to grab the lead with 3.0/4 points.

Round 5

The second round of the day saw the two leaders face off, as IM Carissa Yip and WIM Thalia Cervantes battled it out in a sharp Najdorf Sicilian. After some aggressive play from Black, Carissa was able to keep her cool, open the center and eventually break through to punish Black’s king, taking the clear lead with 4.0/5.

It was here where Carissa played 33.Nxd6+!, with idea 33...Bxd6 34.Qxg8+ Bf8 35.Qxf8+! Kxf8 36.Rh8# to win against WIM Thalia Cervantes.

Meanwhile, WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki found the nice trick 28.Re4! to upset one of the pre-tournament favorites, WGM Jennifer Yu:

The position after Sophie’s 28.Re4! which turned the tables against her opponent. After 28...fxe4 29.Qf7+ White won back the rook with a crushing attack.

Round 6

In the final round of the day tournament leader IM Carissa Yip tried to push for a win in a rook endgame against WIM Emily Nguyen but decided to settle for a draw soon thereafter. This allowed IM Annie Wang and WIM Rochelle Wu to shorten the lead with wins over WIM Thalia Cervantes and WCM Alice Lee.

The position after 16.d5!, which allowed IM Annie Wang to gain a serious positional advantage against WIM Thalia Cervantes.

The final rounds of the 2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior will take place tomorrow, Sunday October 11, with live coverage from WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Cristian Chirila starting at 12:50 PM CDT on USChessChamps.com, YouTube, and Twitch. Don’t miss the end of this thrilling event!