Friday, June 24

Bay Area Showdown in St. Louis

(Photo from the website of the St. Louis chess club, host and sponsor for the US Junior.)

FRIDAY UPDATE: Gregory Young won round 8 to clinch clear first! Congrats!!

Thursday's showdown between Bay Area stars IM Daniel Naroditsky (white) and NM Gregory Young was easily the most critical pairing of the US Junior Invitational to date. Gregory took the early lead, 0.5 points ahead of his rival. By winning, Gregory extended the lead to 1.5 points with just two rounds left.

Click here
to play through the moves. Danya set up the Maroczy bind against Greg's accelerated Dragon, deviating at move 11 from Giri - Tiviakov (Unive 2010). The placement of the white rooks (Rad1) is a central theme to this opening. By move 24, black achieved a small tactical advantage on the queenside. Amazingly, the black queen doesn't get trapped! The resulting opposite color bishops endgame was difficult to hold because of white's weaker pawn structure (down a pawn) and black's active pieces.

Despite the lead, Gregory can't rest yet. His final two opponents, FM Warren Harper and FM Victor Shen are both rated over 2400 and eager to play spoiler. In fact, seven of the ten players still have a mathematical chance to win the championship, should the leader slip. 

Final Standings

  • 7.5 NM Gregory Young --2011 US Junior Champion
  • 5.5 IM Conrad Holt, FM Victor Shen and FM Alec Getz
  • 5.0 IM Daniel Naroditsky, FM John Bryant and FM Warren Harper
  • 3.0 NM Kayden Troff
  • 2.0 NM Jialin Ding
  • 1.0 NM Raven Sturt

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