2014 U.S. Junior Closed (Round #1)

2014 U.S. Junior Chess Championship
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Round #1 (Friday, 20 June 2014)
Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 IM Xiong, Jeffrey 0.0 2437 IM Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr A 0.0 2423 1-0
2 NM Colas, Joshua 0.0 2247 IM Harmon-Vellotti, Luke 0.0 2412 1-0
3 NM Larson, Matthew W 0.0 2160 FM Bodek, Michael H 0.0 2389 0-1
4 FM Shen, Arthur 0.0 2331 GM Troff, Kayden W 0.0 2494 0-1
5 IM Sevian, Samuel 0.0 2442 FM Williams, Justus D 0.0 2278 0-1

The 2014 U.S. Junior Open started off with some fireworks as all five games were decisive. Jeffrey Xiong of Texas beat Alex Ostrovskiy is a rather unorthodox Advance Caro Kann. The game followed theory until 10.b5!? which is the first choice in Houdini, but no games recorded with this move.

White continued to hold a speculative edge after 12.Qh5+ and tried a daring move after 12…Kf8 13.Nd2 Qc7 14.f4!? White even offered an exchange of queens a pawn down, but was able to complicate matters. It seemed as if black was holding on, but allowed white to get a rook on the 7th and a knight on d4. This pressure was enough to win a pawn and obtain a technically winning position.

Senior Master Josh Colas in 2012. Photos coming!
Photos by FM Paul Truong.

In Colas-Harmon, white played the London System and took advantage of a strange-looking 10.Qc8?! Late black entered the endgame a pawn down and with back rank issues. White won another pawn and was even mated in the final position. Local favorite Matt Larson opened the tournament with hopes of making an impression as the wild card nominee. However, he faced a well-prepared Michael Bodek. In this Catalan, black equalized easily and developed an initiative on the queenside. Larson fought back and tried to get a mating attack, but could never find time to play the intended Qh6, Qg7 mate. Black’s attack was always a step ahead of time.

In Shen-Troff, Ben Finegold was critical of Troff’s 8…a5 since black is usually playing for …c5 in the Grunfeld which attacks the center. Incidentally, Troff did play 15…c5 sacrificing a pawn to attack at the center, but in an inventive way. Arthur Shen was holding his ground until he blundered with 23.Qd7 allowing the immediate 23…Bxe5! winning a crucial center pawn. White was forced to trade queens into a totally lost ending.

U.S. Junior Open Champion Justus Williams got off to a good start with a nice win over GM-elect Samuel Sevian. The game morphed from a Sicilian to an Advanced French with white a tempo down (Bc4 and Bf1). Williams sacrificed the exchange to liquidate the center as is common in these positions, black got tremendous play. However, Sevian decided to sacrifice another pawn, but this was a tower of strength on b2. White’s position collapsed quickly and Williams got the full point. Impressive victory.

Catch live commentary of the event at https://www.uschesschamps.com/tags/2014-us-junior-closed-championship.

Official Site: https://www.uschesschamps.com/

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