U.S. Juniors and Senior Championship: Day 3 Recap

More decisive action took place today in the 2021 U.S. Senior & Junior Championships as IM Annie Wang was the only player to maintain a perfect score, winning her third straight game in a row. GM Hans Niemann won an essentially flawless game against top rival GM Nicolas Checa, while GM Gregory Kaidanov remained the clear leader in the U.S. Senior.

Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. Each event features a 10-player round-robin format, with a time control of 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by an additional 30 minutes with a 30-second increment added from move one.

U.S. Senior Championship

Tournament leader GM Gregory Kaidanov played well to win an exchange and secure a large advantage against GM Melikset Khachiyan, but was ultimately not able to convert and eventually held to a draw. The only winner of the day was tournament wildcard IM Leonid Sokolin, who managed to win his second game in a row, defeating GM Alexander Shabalov with Black.

After losing in Round 1, IM Leonid Sokolin has bounced back with two straight wins. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Standings after Round 3

U.S. Junior Championship

A bloody Round 3: all five games finished decisively in the U.S. Junior

GM Hans Niemann played what can be considered an early contender for the ‘game of the tournament’, outplaying GM Nicolas Checa in fine attacking style in a French Defense with opposite sides castling. After Checa misplayed the early middlegame, Niemann was able to generate a quick but powerful attack against Black’s king, and found a crushing piece sacrifice to win in decisive fashion:

After 19.Nxg6!, opening up Black’s king and leading to a winning attack after 19...hxg6 20.Bxg6. The key line (as pointed out by Hans after the game) runs 20...fxg5 21.Qh6 Qf6 22.Rhg1 Re7 23.Rxd5!! exd5 24.Bh7+ Kf7 25.Bg8+!, winning the queen.

“Once I saw Rxd5”, said Hans, “I was like ‘oh, I’m going to win this tournament.” | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

IM Christopher Yoo kept pace with Niemann, winning a masterful positional game against IM Ben Li in order to stay tied for first with 2.5/3. Yoo obtained a large strategic advantage out of the opening and eventually converted a technical endgame with opposite colored bishops.

After Yoo’s 21.Nd2!, a fantastic maneuver planning to bring the knight to d6 (via e4 or c4).

Standings after Round 3

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Top seed IM Annie Wang continued her perfect campaign with a win over tournament wildcard Susanna Ulrich, demonstrating the power of opposite colored bishops in the middlegame:

Black’s king never made it out of the center in Wang - Ulrich, and White soon collected the full point.

The previous day’s co-leader and No 2. seed FM Thalia Cervantes could not keep up, losing a difficult game to WCM Ruiyang Yan.

The former U16 World Champion, IM Annie Wang is currently 3/3 | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

Standings after Round 3

Round 4 of the 2021 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships will take place tomorrow, July 19th, starting at 2:50 PM CDT. Catch all the action live with host Sharon Carpenter and grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan and Cristian Chirila on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.