U.S. Juniors’ and Senior Championship: Day 5 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

GM Melik Khachiyan took the sole lead with 4.5/5 in the U.S. Senior after defeating his main rival GM Max Dlugy in today’s round. In the U.S. Junior GM Andrew Hong bounced back to share the lead with GM Abhimanyu Mishra and IM Arthur Guo, while IM-elect Alice Lee’s lead in the U.S. Girls Junior was cut to just half a point going into the rest day tomorrow.

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 key battle of the leaders, Khachiyan-Dlugy, featured a complex endgame that arose before the first time control. Playing with a knight against bishop, Khachiyan went all-in on the kingside, while Dlugy created several passed pawns on the queenside. Eventually Khachiyan’s activity paid off, as he won thanks to a powerful rook on the seventh:

Khachiyan-Dlugy: After 56.Rg7!, White was mating by force in the key variation: 56...d3 57.Rxg6 d2 58.Rg7! 1-0

A huge 4.5/5 heading into the rest day for Khachiyan. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Austin Fuller

Still within reach of Khachiyan’s 4.5/5 is Dlugy, who is a point behind, as well as Kaidanov and Shabalov, who are both on 3.0/5. Shabalov made up ground today with a big win over the top seed GM Vladimir Akopian:

Shabalov-Akopian: 39.h4! led to a quick breakthrough on the kingside. 1-0

All decisive games: three wins, two losses, for reigning champion GM Alex Shabalov. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Senior Championship - Standings after Round 5

U.S. Junior Championship

With three leaders (Mishra, Jacobson, and Guo) going into today’s round no one was able to break away from the pack. Guo missed a win against Stearman, while Mishra ran into a very well-prepared Liang to also only score a half-point. But co-leader Jacobson went down after blundering into mate in a difficult position against GM Balaji Daggupati:

Daggupati-Jacobson: 35…Nc6?? led to an abrupt finish after 36.Rh4+ 1-0

The results gave a chance for previous leader GM Andrew Hong to catch up and rejoin the leading group, which he managed with a clean win over Xu:

Xu-Hong: 29…Rxa2! was a nice way to capitalize on Black's activity. 0-1

Hong is back in the leaders group after a stumble in Round 4. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

2023 U.S. Junior Championship - Standings after Round 5

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

The critical match Wu-Lee ended in a draw after solid play by both sides left the players in a drawn king and pawn endgame. The peaceful result gave a chance for Yip and Tang to close the distance to Lee, both scoring victories to reach 3.5/5. Tang won after launching a successful kingside attack in a Queen’s Gambit Declined, while Yip executed a classic Ruy Lopez squeeze to defeat Prasanna:

Yip-Prasanna: After 41.Nc4, Black's position started to collapse. 1-0

Tang-Atwell: 39.Rxf7+! was a nice way to finish things off -- 39...Kxf7 40.e6+ 1-0

With four rounds to play, Yip will face Lee in Round 7. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

Still a half-point lead for Lee as the event crosses the halfway mark. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship - Standings after Round 5

The 2023 U.S. Juniors’ and U.S. Senior Championships continue Friday, July 21st, 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.