U.S. Juniors’ and Senior Championship: Day 6 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

GM Melik Khachiyan continued his stellar performance with another win in the U.S. Senior, bringing his score to 5.5/6 and extending his lead to two full points ahead of the field. Meanwhile GM Abhimanyu Mishra survived a lost endgame to stay tied for the lead in the U.S. Junior, while IM-elect Alice Lee kept her lead intact with a win in the U.S. 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

Khachiyan continued the “tournament of his life” with yet another win, this time over IM Douglas Root. After getting a small advantage in a Four Knights Scotch, Khachiyan managed to trade into a slightly better rook and pawn endgame. Root then opted to trade into a king and pawn endgame which turned out to be lost, with Khachiyan showing perfect technique to convert the full point:

Khachiyan-Root: 41…Rxd3? 42.Kxd3 left Black in a lost endgame. Instead 41...Re7 was the only chance to hold the game. | 1-0, 70 moves

With three rounds to go and two points ahead of the field, GM Melik Khachiyan has nearly clinched the title outright. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The only other winner of the round was top seed GM Vladimir Akopian, who scored an excellent victory against Dlugy after sacrificing a piece for multiple pawns in the endgame:

Dlugy-Akopian: After 19…bxc5, Black had two pawns and counting against White's bishop, with a huge advantage. | 0-1, 37 moves

2023 U.S. Senior Championship - Standings after Round 6

U.S. Junior Championship

There was no change to the standings as the leaders Mishra, Hong, and Guo all drawing their games to reach 4.0/6. While Hong and Guo didn’t face much trouble, Mishra found himself lost against Ghazharian and just managed to barely survive in a rook endgame.

An important escape for Mishra, who remains tied for first. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

Scoring a miniature win was IM Justin Wang, who took advantage of an opening blunder by Stearman to unleash a winning sacrifice:

Wang-Stearman: After 10...h5? 11.Bxg6! gave White a decisive kingside attack. | 1-0, 22 moves

IM Justin Wang | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Junior Championship - Standings after Round 6

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Tournament leader Alice Lee kept her half point lead after scoring a clean positional win over NM Kelsey Liu, moving to 5.0/6. While one of her main rivals, FM Zoey Tang, was able to keep pace with a victory over WGM Rochelle Wu, top seed IM Carissa Yip faltered, losing to FM Ruiyang Yan and falling to 3.5/6.

Lee-Liu 19.c5! allowed White to break through in the center. | 1-0, 34 moves

Lee will face IM Carissa Yip in a key Round 7 tomorrow. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Tang-Wu: 26.Qxc8!! was the start of a brilliant combination, winning after 26...Rxc8 27.Rxc8+ Nf8 28.Rxf8+! Kxf8 29.Bc5+ (and Ng5 next)

FM Zoey Tang is currently in clear second place with three rounds to play. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

2023 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship - Standings after Round 6

The 2023 U.S. Juniors’ and U.S. Senior Championships continues tomorrow, July 22nd, 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.