2021 U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

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2021 U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

GM Hans Niemann, IM Annie Wang, and GM Gregory Kaidanov emerge victorious in the U.S. Junior, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Senior Championships

SAINT LOUIS (Wednesday, June 30) – The national junior and senior chess championships have concluded in Saint Louis, the nation’s Chess Capital, with 18-year-old Hans Niemann taking home the 2021 U.S. Junior Championship, 19-year-old, Annie Wang, winning the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, and U.S. Chess Hall-of-Famer Gregory Kaidanov beating out a field that included four other hall-of-fame inductees to become the 2021 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 twelfth, fifth and third year for each tournament respectively. All three tournaments ran concurrently from July 15-26, 2021 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 $100,000 in prizes and scholarships. “The caliber of talent we saw among these players indicates that American chess continues to grow and thrive,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “It was exciting to see these players in action over the board again and we look forward to continuing to host the nation’s best here in Saint Louis.”

This victory marked the first win of the U.S. Junior Chess Championship for Niemann, who
qualified for the 2022 U.S. Chess Championship next year by doing so. Niemann scored 6.0/9 in the event, finishing half a point ahead of his nearest rivals. He earned $6,000 dollars plus a $10,000 scholarship for his efforts. Earlier this year, Niemann travelled to Europe to play a series of tournaments, earning his final grandmaster norms and gaining over 100 points in rating. Niemann entered the event with extreme confidence, and despite losing his penultimate round to IM Christopher Yoo, was still able to score enough points to finish in first place by the end.

In the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, IM Annie Wang just needed a round-nine draw in order to clinch her first U.S. Girls’ Junior title. She was paired against her main rival of the tournament, WCM Ruiyang Yan, who going into the round was a full point behind Wang. Annie prepared well for her opponent’s defense and ultimately won the first place prize of the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. With this win Wang not only won the $3,000 first place prize and a $10,000 scholarship to the school of her choice, she also qualified for the 2022 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship.

Scholarships for the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Junior Championships were sponsored by Dewain Barber and US Chess.

Winning the 2021 U.S. Senior Championship was GM Gregory Kaidanov, a 61-year-old grandmaster from Lexington, Kentucky. For his first national title, Kaidanov earned top honors by defeating GM Larry Christiansen in the playoffs after the two ended the main event tied at 6.5/9. Kaidanov dominated the first six rounds, scoring 5.5/6, but stumbled in the final three, allowing Christiansen to catch up. In the rapid playoff, Kaidanov drew the first game and then won the second in brilliant style, ultimately winning the overall 2021 U.S. Senior Champion title and the $12,000 top prize.

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 10th through 16th and the Sinquefield Cup from August 16th through August 27th. 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.