2023 U.S. Juniors' and Senior Championship: Day 1 Recap

The 2023 U.S. Juniors and Senior Championships kicked off today with plenty of decisive action in all three events. In the Seniors, GM Melikset Khachiyan defeated top seed GM Vladimir Akopian to shake things up immediately, while former champions Kaidanov and Shabalov also started their campaigns with a victory.

In the Juniors', favorites GM Abhimanyu Mishra and GM Brandon Jacobson both managed to win their first round games, while IM-elect Alice Lee was one of three winners in the Girls' Junior.

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

The first decisive result took place between the 2021 U.S. Senior Champion, GM Gregory Kaidanov and two-time U.S. Champion GM Patrick Wolff, as Kaidanov castled kingside against Wolff’s Najdorf and built up a strong pawn storm on the queenside. which soon earned Kaidanov the win:

Kaidanov-Wolff: 20.c5! was the winning breakthrough, with idea 20...dxc5 21.d6! | 1-0, 33 moves

The defending champion GM Alex Shabalov also won his first game, defeating IM Douglas Root on the Black side of a Colle System. But the biggest victory of the round went to GM Khachiyan, who managed to neutralize GM Akopian’s exchange sacrifice and convert an eventual endgame:

Khachiyan-Akopian: 33.Rcd1! was the silent killer, forcing a rook trade on d8 next. |1-0, 38 moves

GM Khachiyan defeated his long-time friend and compatriot. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Reining U.S. Senior Champion GM Alex Shabalov got off to a nice start as well. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller


2023 U.S. Senior Championship - Standings after Round 1

U.S. Junior Championship

The U.S. Junior saw all five games finish decisively, with top seeds GM Mishra, GM Jacobson, and GM Hong all winning games against key rivals. Mishra was able to squeeze a full point out of a slightly better endgame against IM Arthur Guo, while Hong took advantage of a blunder that netted him two pieces for the rook. Meanwhile Jacobson went all out for the attack against IM Jason Liang, sacrificing a full rook while in heavy time pressure:

Liang-Jacobson: 32…Rxg2!? led to wild complications, eventually ending in Black's favor. | 0-1, 47 moves

Jacobson risked it all today, with his gamble paying off. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Top seed GM Abhimanyu Mishra started the tournament with a fine technical win. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

The biggest upset of the day took place at the hands of FM Arthur Xu, who stunned GM Balaji Daggupati with a nice attacking spree:

Xu-Daggupati: 37.Qxc8+! was the stylish finish, forcing 37…Bxc8 38.Ra7#

2022 U.S. Junior Open Champion FM Arthur Xu | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

2023 U.S. Junior Championship - Standings after Round 1

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

The Girls’ Junior saw wins with White by Tang, Wu, and Lee, while top seed IM Carissa Yip was held to a draw by Kelsey Liu. One of the pre-tournament favorites, IM-elect Alice Lee found a nice combination to reach an endgame with a winning passed pawn against WFM Gracy Prasanna:

Lee-Prasanna: 31.Rxa2! led to a decisive advantage for White after 31...Rxa2 32.Bc4 Raa6 33.b5!+- | 1-0, 43 moves

IM-elect Alice Lee has been on fire this year, having gained nearly 100 rating points since January 2023. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Also winning their games were FMs Zoey Tang and Rochelle Wu, with the latter exploiting a huge space advantage to defeat WIM Iris Mou:

Wu-Mou: 20.Nd4! was a fantastic move, preparing to sacrifice the exchange after 20...Bg5 21.Ne6!+- | 1-0, 29 moves

A smooth first round win for the #4 seed in the field, FM Rochelle Wu. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

2023 U.S. Girls's Junior Championship - Standings after Round 1

The 2023 U.S. Juniors’ and U.S. Senior Championships continue tomorrow, July 16th, starting at 1:15 PM CDT. Catch all the action live with grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Cristian Chirila, and Katerina Nemcova on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.