U.S. Juniors and Senior Championship: Day 4 Recap


While GM Gregory Kaidanov and GM Hans Niemann continued to lead their sections, top seed in the U.S. Girls’ Junior, IM Annie Wang suffered a shock upset after slipping in a drawn endgame against WIM Rochelle Wu. This means all three tournaments are now wide open, with multiple players still well in contention after four rounds of play.

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 Kaidanov continued his good play today, defeating reigning champion GM Joel Benjamin after Benjamin went for a faulty piece sacrifice in a strategically complex King’s Indian Defense. Kaidanov accepted the sacrifice and was able to consolidate his position, never allowing his opponent any serious counterplay.

After 11...Bxg4?, a sacrifice which left Black without enough compensation after 12.fxg4 Nxg4 13.cxb5!, collecting even more material. 1-0, 30 moves

GM Kaidanov played a smooth game today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

GM Larry Christiansen stayed within striking distance of Kaidanov, defeating tournament wildcard IM Leonid Sokolin on the Black side of a Sicilian Rossolimo.

The three-time U.S. Champion scored his second win of the event today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Standings after Round 4

U.S. Junior Championship

In the U.S. Junior, GM Hans Niemann picked up his third straight win today, defeating IM Andrew Hong in fine positional style. Happy and confident about his play, Niemann is currently looking unbeatable in this year’s competition.

White had the two bishops, but Black’s knights were able to excel against White’s weakened structure. 0-1, 44 moves

 Will anyone be able to stop GM Hans Niemann? | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

The previous day’s co-leader IM Christopher Yoo looked to be winning at first against IM Justin Wang, but could not find the most accurate way to convert his extra exchange, and ended up drawing the game to fall a half-point behind.

Catching up to Yoo today was defending champion GM John Burke, who won his second straight game after some aggressive play in the Open Sicilian against IM David Brodsky:

17.g6! opened up Black’s king and gave White a powerful attack on the light-squares. 1-0, 32 moves

After starting out with two draws GM Burke has picked up the pace, winning two games in a row. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Standings after Round 4

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

In what was the most dramatic game of the day, top seed and leader, IM Annie Wang missed multiple winning chances before blundering in a drawn endgame against WIM Rochelle Wu. A complicated Queen’s Gambit Declined left IM Wang on the better side of a knight vs. bishop endgame, but after winning White’s bishop for several pawns it was only White who had winning chances in the end. One wrong move by the knight and WIM Wu seized her chance to win, as all of a sudden White’s pawns became too difficult for Black’s king and knight to deal with:

Here Black played 69...Nf1?, after which the knight was badly misplaced to deal with White’s passers. 0-1, 82 moves

Although she didn’t expect to win, WIM Wu is now tied for 1st. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

Wang’s loss allowed Wu to catch up with 3.0/4, and opened the door for WCM Ruiyang Yan to tie the leaders as well, as she won her second straight game today, defeating WCM Sheena Zeng:

After 24...Ke7!, bringing the second rook to the g-file with a decisive attack. 0-1, 27 moves

Standings after Round 4

Round 5 of the 2021 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships will take place tomorrow, July 20th, 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.