St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Round #4 (Monday, 23 June 2014)
|1||IM Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr A||1.5||2423||GM Troff, Kayden W||2.5||2494||½-½|
|2||FM Bodek, Michael H||1.5||2389||FM Williams, Justus D||1.5||2278||½-½|
|3||IM Harmon-Vellotti, Luke||2.0||2412||IM Sevian, Samuel||1.0||2442||1-0|
|4||IM Xiong, Jeffrey||2.5||2437||FM Shen, Arthur||0.5||2331||1-0|
|5||NM Colas, Joshua||1.5||2247||NM Larson, Matthew W||0.5||2160||½-½|
The plot thickens as Jeffrey Xiong has bolted into the lead with another win. Ironically only the lowest-rated player has held him. His victim this round was Arthur Shen and allowed him to pass Kayden Troff who was held by Aleksandr Ostrovskiy. Both of these games were Rossolimo Sicilians. Ostrovskiy-Troff was a rather placid draw, but in Xiong’s case he built up a spatial advantage after Shen made some inaccuracies.
IM Jeffrey Xiong takes the lead after crushing win.
Photo from uschesschamps.com.
Shen made a fundamental error after 13…h6?? after which Xiong pounced with 14.Nxe6! fxe6 15. Qh5+. For the sacrificed piece, white had access to black’s weakened white squares and would capitalize on black’s undeveloped pieces. Black had to actually return the piece, but his position was already beyond repair. With heavy pieces aimed at the black king, it was the beginning of the end.
In Bodek-Williams, white played 4.Qxd4 (instead of 4.Nxd4) which is seen as a way to sidestep theory, but to play for a slight advantage. It also has the character of offering white a chance to get nice attacking setups. Williams played …h6 and …e5 combined with castling by hand… very unusual. However, Williams was tactically alert at spotting 14…Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Bxe4 16. Qxe4 d5 17. Qe2 dxc4 18. Bb2 f6 19. Qxc4 Rc8 20. Qe4 Qc7 21. c4 Rhd8 with a completely equal game. Williams found more tactical resources after 25. Rd3 Rxd3 26. Qxd3 Bd4! 27. Bxd4 Rd8 28. Rd1 Rxd4 29. Qe2 Rxh4 (maybe …Qd7). Winning a pawn, but without any real chances to bring home the full point.
Harmon-Vellotti scored against Sevian continuing the woes of the GM-elect. This Berlin saw the queens come off on move 13. The game saw a minor piece skirmish on the queenside with white coming out with a slight edge. However, the rook ending was seemingly drawn. Black blundered with the natural 39…Kd5 when after 40.b3! was winning a pawn. If black trades queens the protected passed g-pawn would decide. Black fought to get one of the drawing positions, but could never get the fortress and ended up getting mated… apparently in a time scramble.
Each round of the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed will see its first move daily at 1:00 p.m. CT through June 29, with a rest day on Wednesday. The tournament will be streamed live on www.uschesschamps.com, with commentary, analysis and player interviews by GM Ben Finegold and FM Aviv Friedman.
Official Site: http://www.uschesschamps.com/