A focused Justus Williams makes an impression.
Justus Williams has been a rising junior for the past year amassing an impressive resume. This year saw him lead his school to a historic double championship and a cover shot on Chess Life. Thus, Williams has become one of the top juniors in the country. His skills were on display along with 15 of the top juniors in the country. This would be Williams first Junior Closed Championship, but at 14 years old, he has more appearances in the future.
This tournament would be divided into two eight-player groups both lead by two GM-elects in Conrad Holt and Marc Arnold. The tournament was very strong with IM Darwin Yang and defending champion FM Victor Shen in one group and IM Daniel Naroditsky and FM Kayden Troff in the other. It turns out the FM Alec Getz would edge out Holt (on tiebreaks) to win the “A” group and faced Arnold who won the “B” group (5/7). Arnold would win the two-game match 1½-½ to win the U.S. Junior and earn a spot in the 2013 U.S. Championship.
Williams scored 3/7 in his debut drawing the two highest seeds in his group in Arnold and Naroditsky and beating Raven Sturt and FM Eric Rosen. He missed a clear win against Arnold and could have changed the nature of the entire event.
In Arnold-Williams, black developed an attack with heavy pieces bearing down on white’s queen-castled king. (Diagram #1) Williams position was so strong that even after losing an exchange, his position was still winning. After 52…Bc2 (Diagram #2) 53.Rxg7+ Kf8 54.f5 Bxd1 55.fxe6 Bxb3 65.Rf7+ Ke8 57.Rxh7, black would be completely winning after 57…Ra6 or 58…Ra6.
After a slow start, Williams finished strong and will now prepare for the U.S. Cadet Championship (under-16) on July 21st-23rd. The tournament will take place in Rockville, Maryland. The winner will receive a four-year scholarship to University of Maryland-Baltimore County and the top three will receive free entries to the Washington International on July 28th-August 1st.
Photos by CCSCSL.