U.S. Junior and Senior Championships taking place in Saint Louis

by ChessBase
7/20/2021 – The 2021 U.S. Senior, U.S. Junior, and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships kicked off on Friday, July 16, at the Saint Louis Chess Club. After four rounds, Gregory Kaidanov is leading the seniors’ event, Hans Niemann tops the standings in the juniors’ tournament, while three players are sharing first place in the girls’ championship. | Photo: Crystal Fuller

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Three concurrent tournaments

Find full recap articles at the U.S. Chess Champs website

The 2021 U.S. Senior, U.S. Junior, and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships kicked off on Friday, July 16, in Saint Louis, featuring 30 of the top junior and senior players in the country battling it out for thousands of dollars in prizes and three individual national titles.

The Senior Championship is an invitation-only tournament that showcases the top players in the U.S. aged 50 years and older. 

The U.S. Junior Championship and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship are invitation-only tournaments for the nation’s top rising stars. These events showcase the top students in the country and serves as the perfect example for two of the Saint Louis Chess Club’s important goals: promoting chess at the scholastic level and supporting chess at the top level by providing a professional environment for the country’s top tournaments.

In addition to the prize fund, the sole first place winner of the Junior Championship and Girls’ Junior Championship will both be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to be used at the institution of his or her choice. The scholarship is generously jointly funded by the Dewain Barber Foundation and U.S. Chess. 

Rounds are played daily on July 16-26 (except July 21) starting at 15.00 local time (16.00 ET, 21.00 CEST).

US Senior and Junior Chess Championships

The opening ceremony took place outdoors | Photo: Austin Fuller

Gregory Kaidanov leads the U.S. Seniors Championship

Tournament leader Gregory Kaidanov defeated reigning champion Joel Benjamin in round 4 after the latter went for a faulty piece sacrifice in a strategically complex King’s Indian Defense. Kaidanov accepted the sacrifice and was able to consolidate his position, never allowing his opponent any serious counterplay.

 

11...Bxg4? left Black without enough compensation after 12.fxg4 Nxg4 13.cxb5! (1-0, 30 moves).

Gregory Kaidanov

Gregory Kaidanov during round 3 | Photo: Bryan Adams

Standings after round 4

 

All games

 

Hans Niemann sole leader at the U.S. Juniors Championship

In the U.S. Junior, Hans Niemann picked up his third straight win in round 4, defeating Andrew Hong in fine positional style. Happy and confident about his play, Niemann is currently looking unbeatable in this year’s competition.

 

White had the two bishops, but Black’s knights were able to excel against White’s weakened structure (0-1, 44 moves).

Hans Niemann

Hans Niemann | Photo: Crystal Fuller

Standings after round 4

 

All games

 

Three co-leaders at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

Annie Wang kicked off the event with three consecutive wins. However, in what was the most dramatic game of round 4, she missed multiple winning chances before blundering in a drawn endgame against Rochelle Wu.

A complicated Queen’s Gambit Declined left IM Wang on the better side of a knight vs. bishop endgame, but after winning White’s bishop for several pawns, it was only White who had winning chances in the end. One wrong move by the knight and Wu seized her chance to win, as all of a sudden White’s pawns became too difficult for Black’s king and knight to deal with.

 

Here Black played 69...Nf1?, after which the knight was badly misplaced to deal with White’s passers (0-1, 82 moves).

US Girls' Junior Chess Championship

The playing hall at the Saint Louis Chess Club | Photo: Crystal Fuller

Standings after round 4

 

All games

 

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