U.S. Juniors’ and Senior Championship: Day 9 Recap

by IM Kostya Kavutskiy

GM Abhimanyu Mishra became the 2023 U.S. Junior Chess Champion after drawing his last round game to reach 6.0/9 points, half a point ahead of four players who tied for second, GM Brandon Jacobson, GM Andrew Hong, GM Balaji Daggupati, and IM Arthur Guo.

Although GM Melik Khachiyan and IM-elect Alice Lee both clinched titles yesterday, second and third place were still very much in contention going into today’s round. In the U.S. Senior, second went to GM Alexander Shabalov (5.5/9), with GM Vladimir Akopian (5.0/9) earning third. 

Meanwhile in the U.S. Girls’ Junior, FM Ruiyang Yan (6.0/9) won her final game to finish clear second, while IM Carissa Yip and FM Zoey Tang (both 5.5/9) ended up tying for third place.

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

Despite Khachiyan having already secured tournament victory, the fight for second and third place was still on the table between Akopian and Shabalov, the latter having an extra half point going into the round. Shabalov forced a quick draw against Khachiyan, while Akopian tried for a win against Gurevich, although he was ultimately unsuccessful, leaving Shabalov in second place.

With the title decided, Shabalov opted for a draw to secure at least a share of second. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

Third place for GM Vladimir Akopian, playing in his second U.S. Senior. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Senior Championship - Final Standings

U.S. Junior Championship

With the U.S. Senior and U.S. Girls’ Junior already decided all eyes were on the U.S. Junior, with no less than five players in contention for first place. Top seed and co-leader Mishra played a hectic game against Daggupati, one of three players a half-point behind, which featured a very sharp Najdorf that ended up drawn by perpetual check:

Daggupati-Mishra: After 24…Qg6!?, Mishra sacrificed the bishop on a4, leading to huge complications after 25.Qxa4+ b5. | ½-½, 35 moves

1st place and a ticket to the U.S. Championship for Mishra. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

After a slow start, Daggupati closed out with 5/6. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

The draw would end up clinching the title for Mishra, as fellow co-leader IM Arthur Guo got into serious trouble against Ghazarian, going on to lose in a sharp middlegame with opposite colored bishops. In the meantime, the key matchup Jacobson-Hong was drawn, leaving both players, along with Guo and Daggupati finished tied for second place.

Guo-Ghazarian: After 27...Qb3, Black's initiative was too strong. | 0-1, 68 moves

Guo finished tied for second, though he clearly hoped for more. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Lennart Ootes

2023 U.S. Junior Championship - Final Standings

U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

With Alice Lee having clinched the event yesterday, the focus was on FMs Ruiyang Yan and Zoey Tang, who were vying for second place. Tang got in trouble and had to survive a worse position to draw against WIM Iris Mou, while Yan managed to score a full point against Prasanna, winning a technical endgame to secure second.

Prasanna-Yan: After 24…g4, Black would soon win the e5-pawn. | 0-1, 59 moves

Second place and an outstanding performance for FM Ruiyang Yan. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Crystal Fuller

Winning and catching up to tie for third place was top seed IM Carissa Yip, who turned a very dangerous position around to defeat WGM Rochelle Wu:

Yip-Wu: Here White decided matters with 37.Rxg7+! Bxg7 38.Qg4+-, winning the game.

After a rollercoaster event, Yip ended in shared third place. | Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club, Bryan Adams

2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship - Final Standings

Coming up next will be the Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX, taking place September 7-10 at the Saint Louis Chess Club. Tune in for live coverage on uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.