U.S. Juniors and Senior Championship: Day 2 Recap

 It was a decisive day of action in the 2021 U.S. Senior, U.S. Junior, & U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships as several winners from yesterday’s round were not able to win today, while GM Gregory Kaidanov, IM Annie Wang, and FM Thalia Cervantes all won their second round games to stay on a perfect 2/2.

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

Although early on it looked as though GM Larry Christiansen would win his second game, as he nursed an extra pawn and a large advantage against GM Alexander Fishbein, he ended up faltering in the endgame and giving away a half-point, allowing his opponent to escape with a draw.

GM Gregory Kaidanov managed to win his second game, thanks to a nice tactical shot he found in the middlegame against GM James Tarjan:

26.Nf7+! won the exchange for White, with the point 26...Rxf7 27.Bxf7 Rxd1 28.Qf8+! leads to mate.

“I feel good, first of all because I can play live chess again”, said a happy Kaidanov after the game.

Standings after Round 2

U.S. Junior Championship

In the U.S. Junior, GMs Hans Niemann and Brandon Jacobson were both able to win with Black, defeating IMs Praveen Balakrishnan and Andrew Hong in sharp encounters. Niemann’s win was somewhat messy, and a bit fortunate as Balakrishan declined a repetition to enter complications that were ultimately losing for him.

GM Niemann scored his first win after his opponent wrongfully declined a repetition. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

Yesterday’s winners GM Nicolas Checa and IM Christopher Yoo could only draw today, while Jacobson seized an opportunity to launch a decisive attack when his opponent allowed a powerful sacrifice to open the kingside:

Here Jacobson played 24...Bxd4!, leading to a mating attack after 25.Bxd4 Rxf4 which White was unable to defend.

Standings after Round 2

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Top seed IM Annie Wang survived a bit of a scare against WCM Sophie Morris-Suzuki, as she was strategically worse in a Classical Sicilian before managing to turn things around during mutual time-trouble in the ensuing complications.

46...e4! caused disruption in White’s position, eventually leading to an endgame win for the No. 1 seed.

IM Annie Wang was under serious pressure but was eventually able to turn the tables. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

Keeping pace with a perfect score was FM Thalia Cervantes, who won a clean strategic game against WCM Alice Lee, utilizing the power of the two bishops.

No. 2 seed FM Thalia Cervantes converted her second straight endgame win today. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

WCM Rochelle Wu also won, bringing her score to 1.5/2, thanks to a nice positional effort that culminated in a powerful queen sacrifice to decide the game:

Here Rochelle sacrificed her queen with 27.Qxf2!, leading to a winning endgame thanks to her powerful passed c-pawn.

Standings after Round 2

Round 3 of the 2021 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships will take place tomorrow, July 18th, 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.