U.S. Juniors’ and Senior Championship: Day 8 Recap


by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

After drawing their games both GM Melik Khachiyan and IM-elect Alice Lee clinched national titles with a round to spare in the 2023 U.S. Senior and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships. Their victory was secured after they both reached 6.5/8 points, with their key rivals no longer able to catch them in the standings.


2023 U.S. Senior Champion - GM Melik Khachiyan

2023 U.S. Girls' Junior Champion: IM-elect Alice Lee


In the U.S. Junior, top seed GM Abhimanyu Mishra defeated FM Xu to reach leader IM Arthur Guo with 5.5/8, while GMs Hong, Jacobson, and Daggupati are just a half point behind going into the final round 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

With Khachiyan leading by 1.5 points going into the round, all eyes would be on his main rival, reigning champion GM Alexander Shabalov. Khachiyan drew rather quickly against Wolff, leaving Shabalov in a must-win situation. Shabalov did manage to generate chances against Gurevich, but was ultimately held to a draw, securing the title for Khachiyan.

This is Khachiyan's first ever national title. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Shabalov remains in clear second, half a point ahead of Akopian. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Senior Championship - Standings after Round 8

U.S. Junior Championship

In another must-win game Mishra faced FM Arthur Xu in a 4…Be7 Italian. Mishra had a small advantage out of the opening, which grew to a serious one after Xu allowed Mishra to grab a ton of space on the kingside. From there Mishra nicely exploited his space advantage in order to win an exchange, and eventually converted after a long defense.

Mishra-Xu: After 21.Nh4, White had a fantastic grip on the kingside, with Qf3 next. | 1-0, 58 moves

The win by Mishra put pressure on the previous round’s leader, Guo, to maintain his lead in the standings. Guo had to survive a lost position and then hold a pawn down endgame against IM Jason Liang, but managed to defend precisely and make the draw, keeping level with Mishra. 

Guo saved a critical half-point in today's game. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

In the meantime, GM Andrew Hong won a very complex struggle against Stearman, in which he was heavily down on the clock in a position with opposite sides castling. But it was Stearman who erred in the time scramble, allowing Hong to win multiple pawns and trade queens into a winning endgame.

Hong-Stearman After 31.Re3! (the only move)--despite an hour deficit on the clock, Hong defended extremely well. | 1-0, 42 moves

A big win for Hong, who remains in contention going into the final round. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

2023 U.S. Junior Championship - Standings after Round 8

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Tournament leader Alice Lee got surprised with a Von Hennig-Schara Gambit by WIM Iris Mou, and had to burn a lot of time in the opening to figure things out. Playing it safe, Lee allowed a number of exchanges, followed by a draw by repetition in the resulting endgame.

With a huge lead in the tournament, Lee made a practical decision to force a draw. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

With Lee at 6.5/8, FM Zoey Tang would need to score against top seed IM Carissa Yip in order to have a chance to catch up going into the final round. But it was not meant to be as Yip outplayed Tang in a King’s Indian Defense and ended up converting a decisive rook and bishop endgame, clinching the title for Lee.

Tang-Yip: After 27…Nb2!, White was left in huge trouble. | 0-1, 76 moves

Yip played spoiler today, and is now half a point behind second. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship - Standings after Round 8

The 2023 U.S. Juniors’ and U.S. Senior Championships continue tomorrow, July 24th, 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.