Niemann Clinches U.S. Junior Championship; Wang Wins Girls’ Title

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GM Hans Niemann won the U.S. Junior Championship on Sunday in St. Louis. The 18-year-old grandmaster and chess streamer finished on 6/9, half a point more than a group of five players. IM Annie Wang won the girls’ section.

The Saint Louis Chess Club hosted three tournaments in the past week: the U.S. Juniors, Girls, and Seniors Championships, each being 10-player round-robins. The latter tournament hasn’t been decided yet because GM Gregory Kaidanov and GM Larry Christiansen shared first and will be playing a playoff on Monday.

Niemann grabbed the sole lead in the junior tournament in the fourth round, when he reached 3.5 points. By then he had already beaten his closest rival on rating, IM Nicolas Checa: 

Niemann Checa U.S. Juniors 2021
Niemann vs. Checa. Photo: Austin Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

By round seven, Niemann was a point ahead of the pack, but everything was wide open again when he suffered his first (and only) loss to IM Christopher Yoo in the penultimate round. He was still half a point ahead, and a draw in the final round was enough for sole first place after all.

Niemann won $6,000 for first place as well as a $10,000 scholarship to be used at the institution of his choice. This scholarship was jointly funded by the Dewain Barber Foundation and US Chess. On top of that, he is now entitled to play in the 2022 U.S. Championship.

U.S Juniors 2021 | Final Standings











# Fed Player Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Niemann,Hans Moke 2571 2603 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 6.0/9
2 Burke,John M 2538 2565 ½ ½ 1 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 5.5/9 23.25
3 Checa,Nicolas 2552 2564 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 5.5/9 23
4 Jacobson,Brandon 2504 2569 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 5.5/9 21.25
5 Brodsky,David 2455 2574 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.5/9 21.25
6 Balakrishnan,Praveen 2507 2569 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 5.5/9 21
7 Yoo,Christopher Woojin 2479 2456 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 4.0/9
8 Wang,Justin 2467 2375 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 3.0/9 16
9 Hong,Andrew 2474 2374 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 1 3.0/9 10
10 Li,Ben 2376 2226 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.5/9

Wang won the girls’ tournament by scoring 7/9 and finishing a point ahead of WCM Yan Ruiyang. Wang earned $3,000 and also a $10,000 scholarship.

She played quite a few long games, averaging 46 moves over nine games, but the following was a quick win against the second highest-rated player in the field:

Annie Wang 2021 U.S. Girls
IM Annie Wang. Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club.

U.S Girls 2021 | Final Standings







# Fed Player Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Wang,Annie 2384 2288 ½ 0 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 7.0/9
2 Yan,Ruiyang 2111 2220 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 6.0/9
3 Wu,Rochelle 2138 2175 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 5.5/9
4 Morris-Suzuki,Sophie 2043 2146 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 5.0/9
5 Samadashvili,Martha 2215 2089 0 ½ ½ 1 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 4.5/9
6 Zeng,Sheena 2013 2072 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 4.0/9
7 Lee,Alice 1972 2037 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 0 3.5/9 17.5
8 Ulrich,Susanna 1974 2037 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 3.5/9 13.75
9 Cervantes Landeiro,Thalia 2226 2010 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 1 3.5/9 12.5
10 Vittal,Sanjana 1938 1953 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 0 0 2.5/9

The most famous names, especially for our older readers, were playing in the seniors’ tournament destined for players who are 50 or older. In this tournament, Christiansen caught up with Kaidanov to share the first place in the final round as he won his game with the black pieces:

James Tarjan Larry Christiansen 2021
James Tarjan vs. Larry Christiansen. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

U.S Seniors 2021 | Final Standings










# Fed Player Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Kaidanov,Gregory 2547 2654 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 6.5/9 26.5
2 Christiansen,Larry 2567 2652 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 6.5/9 25.75
3 Yermolinsky,Alex 2478 2574 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 5.5/9 24.5
4 Fishbein,Alexander 2417 2581 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 5.5/9 20.75
5 Novikov,Igor 2554 2527 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 5.0/9
6 Tarjan,James 2381 2506 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 4.5/9
7 Benjamin,Joel 2506 2455 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/9
8 Shabalov,Alexander 2521 2371 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 1 3.0/9 12.25
9 Sokolin,Leonid 2497 2374 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 3.0/9 9.25
10 Khachiyan,Melikset 2474 2217 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1.5/9

Kaidanov and Christiansen will be contesting a playoff on Monday for the title: two games of rapid with 10 minutes for the whole game and a two-second delay, and if needed, an armageddon game to follow. You’ll be able to follow the tiebreak here starting at 3 p.m. St Louis time (11 a.m. Pacific, 22:00 CEST).



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