Round 2 Recap - U.S. Junior, Girls' Junior & Senior Championship
While round one had a lot of blunders and quick victories, the players seemed to settle down for round two. There were several long, tough battles, and the players in all sections showed they were willing to fight it out to the very end. Let’s take a look at what happened.
U.S. Junior Championship
IM Hans Niemann had laptop issues before his game against WGM Jennifer Yu, but that didn’t stop him from winning a nice game. Once again, Jennifer took a lot of risks early in the game. While it might very well have been sound with best play, she lost the thread and couldn’t hold her position together. GM John Burke seemed to have chances on the white side of an Exchange Ruy structure against GM Andrew Tang, but after Black sacrificed a piece, John didn’t find anything better than allow a perpetual.
IM Joshua Sheng had a crushing position and huge time advantage against IM Craig Hilby. Craig held tough, however, and Joshua was unable to finish him off. They eventually agreed to a draw in a bishop endgame. GM Nicolas Checa found himself on the worse side of a Carlsbad structure against IM Brandon Jacobson, and was certainly worse for much of the game, but managed to hold the draw in the end.
Atulya Vaidya was holding his own against top seed GM Awonder Liang for a long time in a rook and knight endgame. Unfortunately for the bottom seed, he went astray at the last minute, and Awonder took full advantage to convert the win and move to 2-0.
GM Awonder Liang beat Atulya Vaidya in a lengthy endgame battle
U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship
WIM Rochelle Wu said in the confessional booth that she was happy with her prep and position, and she used this confidence as Black against Veronika Zilajeva. With this win, Rochelle is off to a flyer with a quick 2-0 start.
FM Carissa Yip, on the other hand, got a highly suspicious opening as Black against WIM Agata Bykovtsev. Last year’s champion showed her class and turned the tables, however, to eventually win the game and join Rochelle in the lead.
WIM Emily Nguyen finally won Martha WFM Martha Samadashvili’s isolated pawn, then converted her endgame advantage with authority. FM Maggie Feng played a nice game, and won a complex struggle against WIM Thalia Cervantes. She gained a central pawn advantage in the middlegame, and eventually ran those pawns to victory.
In the battle of the two youngest participants, Ruiyang Yan nicely outplayed Rachael Li in a bishop endgame. Black certainly had drawing chances at some stage, but in the end a couple slips was all it took for Yan to take home the point.
Ruiyang Yan won the battle of the youngsters against Rachael Li
U.S. Senior Championship
Igor Novikov seemed to be pressing against Alex Fishbein, but went astray by allowing Black to advance his pawn on d4. Had he captured on d5 Igor would have preserved his advantage, but as it happened the players agreed to a draw as soon as the knights traded.
Jaan Ehlvest seemed to have the better side of an opposite bishop endgame against Gregory Kaidanov, but was unable to make anything of the position, and the game petered out into a draw. Joel Benjamin won a crazy game against Alex Yermolinsky. His e6 pawn push early in the opening led to an exchange up endgame, but not a simple one, and in the end it took some errors from Yermo’s side for Joel to wrap up the game in his favor.
Alex Shabalov outplayed Maxim Dlugy with the Black pieces. As he did yesterday, Max fought on in a lost position for a long time, but in the end Shabba was able to navigate the complications and reel in the point. Finally, Larry Christiansen put a lot of pressure on Alex Goldin in the battle between the leaders, and in mutual time trouble he was able to win a pawn.
Larry Christiansen put a lot of pressure on Alex Goldin, eventually prevailing in a long game
Round 3 Pairings below.
Round three starts today at 1pm. Tune in at 12:50pm central time for live commentary by GMs Robert Hess, Jesse Kraai, and WGM Tatev Abrahamyan on uschesschamps.co