2022 U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

2022 U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

GM Christopher Yoo, FM/WGM Jennifer Yu, and GM Alex Shabalov emerge victorious in the U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Championships

SAINT LOUIS (July 18, 2022) – The national junior and senior chess championships have concluded in Saint Louis, the nation’s Chess Capital, with 15-year-old GM Christopher Yoo taking home the 2022 U.S. Junior Championship, 20-year-old, FM/WGM Jennifer Yu, winning the 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, and U.S. Chess Hall-of-Famer GM Alex Shabalov beating out a field that included five other hall-of-fame inductees to become the 2022 U.S. Senior Champion.

The U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior, and U.S. Senior Championships have been mainstay events at the Saint Louis Chess Club for some time now, with this being the thirteenth, sixth and fourth year for each tournament respectively. All three tournaments ran concurrently from July 6-16, 2022 and were broadcast live on www.uschesschamps.com and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.

Each event featured ten of the nation’s best junior and senior players to compete for approximately $130,000 in prizes and scholarships. “The caliber of talent we saw among these young players indicates that American chess continues to grow and thrive,” said Tony Rich Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “It was also thrilling to see these icons of American chess in action over the board again and we look forward to continuing to host the nation’s best here in Saint Louis once again next year.”

This victory marked the first win of the U.S. Junior Chess Championship for Yoo, who qualified for the 2022 U.S. Chess Championship this year by doing so. Yoo dominated the field throughout the event, though he suffered a loss in Round 7, he kept his cool throughout the entire competition and didn’t succumb to the mounting pressure. Ultimately he finished the tournament with a draw in the final round against wildcard IM Carissa Yip. He pocketed $12,000 in addition to a $10,000 scholarship, jointly supported by US Chess and Dewain Barber.  GM Andrew Hong finished second winning $8,000, while GM Abhimanyu Mishra and IM Balaji Daggupati shared 3rd place each winning $4,500.

The U.S. Girls’ Championship had a dramatic turnaround. After leading the entire tournament, WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki lost her final game against local favorite FM/WGM Thalia Cervantes. Having caught the leader, by winning the game, Thalia forced a playoff to decide the title of U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion. FM/WGM Jennifer Yu also won her final round making it a 3-player tie for first. The girls played a round robin with a time control of 10 minutes with 2 seconds delay. In a dramatic turn of events each girl scored a point, giving each of them a second chance to win the event. The second time around, it was Yu that won against both Morris-Suzuki and Cervantes. Jennifer Yu pocketed $6,000 in addition to a $10,000 scholarship, jointly supported by US Chess and Dewain Barber and a spot at this year’s U.S. Women’s Championship. Thalia Cervantes and Sophie Morris-Suzuki tied for second and took home $3,500 each.

In an incredible turn of events, and after 9 hard-fought rounds, 5 players tied for 1st in the Senior Championship. To determine the 2022 winner, the five participants played a mini-rapid tournament playoff. After the exciting initial playoff, the players with the highest amount of points (they both had scored 2.5/3) happened to have to face each other in the final round. The battle was between GM’s Larry Christiansen and Alex Shabalov. In the penultimate and final battle, it was Shabalov who won the game to take home the title of 2022 US Senior Champion and pocket $20,0000. GM’s Larry Christiansen, Vladimir Akopian, Maxim Dlugy and Dmitry Gurevich shared 2nd place and each won $9,000.

Next month, the Saint Louis Chess Club will host the final two stops on the Grand Chess Tour, the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz from August 25th through 30th and the Sinquefield Cup from September 1st through September 13th. Each tournament will feature ten of the world’s best players; more information about the upcoming events can be found on grandchesstour.org

About the Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures. 

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.


For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Buffington
Marketing & Event Manager
(314) 277-3930