US Juniors: The youngest on top

by André Schulz
7/19/2023 – At the US Junior Championships in Saint Louis, some of the youngest players in the fields (open and girls’) are showing remarkable performances. Alice Lee (photo), aged 13, took the lead in the girls’ tournament, while Abhimnyu Mishra, aged 14, dethroned former leader Andrew Hong in the open. | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Saint Louis Chess Club

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


US Seniors: Kachiyan and Dlugy co-leaders

Melikset Kachiyan and Maxim Dlugy are currently showing the best form in the US Senior Championship, which is taking place alongside the US Junior Championships at the Saint Louis Chess Club. Kachiyan outplayed his opponent, Dimitry Gurevich, in the fourth round out of an Accelerated Dragon. Almost right after the opening, Kachiyan launched a textbook kingside attack with the black pieces, which won him material and eventually the game.

Melikset Kachiyan | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Co-leader Maxim Dlugy kept up with Kachiyan’s pace, as he defeated Alexander Shabalov. In this game, however, the balance was only tipped in a race of passed pawns amid a bishop endgame. Two distant passed pawns by Dlugy proved more effective than Shabalov’s passed pawn pair in the centre. This was Dlugy’s third win in a row.

The other three games all ended drawn. Kachiyan and Dlugy were able to increase their score to 3½ points, and now have a full-point lead over their closest pursuers.

Standings - Round 4

All games

US Juniors: Abhimanyu and Lee excel

In the Junior Championship, rating favourite Abhimanyu Mishra clashed with former leader Andrew Hong in round 4. Mishra entered the annals of chess history as the youngest grandmaster to date in 2021, at the age of 12 years and 4 months. He is now 14 years old and is ranked 18th in the world juniors’ rating list. He is also the youngest player in the top group.

Abhimanyu had a solid but not outstanding start to the competition with one win and two draws. The 18-year-old Andrew Hong, also a grandmaster for two years, had a better start. Hong won two games in the first three rounds and drew once.

The two young grandmasters followed familiar paths for a long time in one of the main variations of the French Defence, with Abhimanyu leading the black pieces. In a positionally difficult game, Hong gained an exchange but lost two pawns in the process and then had to deal with a pawn storm. Finally, Abhimanyu found himself a piece to the good in the queen endgame and won the game.

Round 4 saw all five games in the junior tournament ending decisively. Belaij Dagupati defeated Josiah Stearman with black; Arthur Guo won with the same colour against Justin Wang; Brandon Jacobsen defeated Arthur Xu with white; and Jason Liang also got a white win against Kirk Ghazarian.

Abhimanyu Mishra | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Even younger than Abhimanyu is Alice Lee, who is among the favourites to win the girls' tournament. The 13-year-old has been playing chess since she was 6 years old and already achieved her first tournament successes as a child. At the age of 9, she won the National U18 Girls’ Championships. At 13, she became the best player of her age group in the US (in April 2023) with a national rating of 2453. She is ranked ninth in the girls’ world ranking.

In the fourth round, Lee defeated former co-leader Zoey Tang.

Standings - Round 4 (Juniors)

All games - Juniors

Standings - Round 4 (Girls)

All games - Girls


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.