Day 3 Recap

By IM Kostya Kavutskiy

Top seed and two-time U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion IM Carissa Yip managed to pull a hat-trick and win her 3rd straight U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship title in a row, thanks to a brilliant final day where she won all three of her games to finish with 7.5/9 points.

2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion, IM Carissa Yip

Trailing Carissa during the final day was IM Annie Wang, who despite a loss was able to finish in 2nd place with 6.0/9, along with WIM Rochelle Wu, who finished the event in clear third place with 5.5/9 points.

Final standings – 2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship

You can check out all the games from the tournament here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.

Asked about her success, Carissa said, “My first two days weren’t really my best chess, the rapid time control is something I’m not really used to, so there were a lot of blunders, but I feel like I got the hang of it the last day, and put more of an emphasis on time than in standard games.”

Read the full recap here.

Round 7 

With IM Annie Wang and WIM Rochelle Wu just a half-point behind, IM Carissa Yip needed to continue scoring points to maintain her lead over the field. Facing a big decision of whether or not to sacrifice a piece against WGM Jennifer Yu, Carissa picked up the gauntlet and showed no fear by going for the sacrifice, leading to a powerful kingside attack that Black was unable to handle.

“I guess either of us could have messed up when I played Nxg5,” said Carissa about her bold sacrifice, following with “I wasn’t sure if I would play that in a classical game, but with a rapid time control it’s a lot more difficult to defend properly than to attack.”

2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion IM Carissa Yip showing her daring 13.Nxg5 sacrifice against WGM Jennifer Yu, where White will pick up two pawns and get a fierce kingside attack.

Meanwhile top contenders IM Annie Wang and WIM Rochelle Wu also won their games to keep up with Carissa, with Annie calmly outplaying WCM Alice Lee with Black in a position with opposite colored bishops, while Rochelle managed to get the best of WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki in a sharp Sicilian middlegame.

Round 8 

The penultimate round saw Carissa start to pull away, as she built up a strong attack before finally breaking through to win against WFM Martha Samadashvili.

The position after 9…Ng8!?, preparing the break f7-f5, from the game Samadashvili – Yip.

Playing spoiler, WIM Emily Nguyen defeated IM Annie Wang in a nice attacking game, while WIM Rochelle Wu managed to stay within striking distance after making a draw against WCM Ruiyang Yan. This meant Carissa would have a full point lead over Rochelle going into the final round, and as fate would have it, they were paired against each other! 

Round 9

In the final round Carissa started off strong, quickly grabbing the bishop pair and the early initiative against her main rival, WIM Rochelle Wu. She calmly increased the pressure before finally breaking through to Black’s weakened position. Despite only needing a draw to clinch the title, Carissa snagged the full point and finished with a remarkable 7.5/9 for the event.

The position after 18.f4!, allowing White’s kingside rook and knight to join the attack.

Rochelle’s loss meant IM Annie Wang could catch up in the standings and earn clear 2nd place, which she managed to do thanks to a clutch win against WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki.

2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship runner-up, IM Annie Wang

On the bright side, Rochelle’s score of 5.5/9 was still good enough to earn clear 3rd place, earning $1500 in the process.

2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship third place finisher, WIM Rochelle Wu

Next up in the 2020 U.S. Championship series is the 2020 U.S. Junior Championship, which starts Tuesday, October 13, with live coverage from WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Maurice Ashley.