Chess News

America’s Rising Chess Stars Converge in Saint Louis

The skilled and competitive new generation of chess talent will compete for the U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior Chess Championship titles at the Saint Louis Chess Club from July 11-21, 2018.

The two 10-player fields are filled with young prodigies who are ready to test their mettle in 9 rounds of classical chess. For many of these players, the tournament will serve as a stepping stone to achieving such lofty goals as the Grandmaster titles, elite player status, and potentially World Championship competitions.

This year’s tournament includes an exciting opponent in the 2018 Junior field, as 16-year-old WIM Annie Wang will be competing against all male opponents. She secured the wildcard position in the tournament due to her spectacular second place finish against IM Nazi Paikidze during the playoff of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in April.

Wang will be competing for the prize fund of more than $20,000 and a coveted spot in the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship, where she would compete against America’s big three: GM Wesley So, GM Hikaru Nakamura, and world championship contender, GM Fabiano Caruana. Alongside her in the field will be other talented juniors, including previous champions GM Akshat Chandra and defending champion GM Awonder Liang.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL)

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL)

“The U.S. Junior Championships are always a great opportunity for us to see what the future of chess looks like,” says Executive Director Tony Rich. “With Annie Wang as the wildcard and all the other young, yet seasoned players, the future of American chess is brighter than ever.”

The U.S. Girls’ Junior section also promises to offer exciting battles with previous U.S. Women’s Championship players FM Maggie Feng, WIM Emily Nguyen, and WIM Jennifer Yu.

For many of these players, the tournament is an opportunity to improve their rating and prepare for future major tournaments. Although this tournament is fairly new, it has produced many players who have gone on to shine at major national and international tournaments, while others have taken the skills learned from chess to study at elite universities like Agata Bykovtsev at MIT. Along with winning the title, players will be up for the chance to win a piece of the more than $10,000 prize fund.

Covering all the action will be the expert commentary team of WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and GM Robert Hess. The team will be providing game analysis daily starting at 1 p.m.


GM Ruifeng Li 2686 Rating Plano, TX
GM Awonder Liang 2653 2017 U.S. Junior Champion Madison, WI
GM Andrew Tang 2620 Rating Plymouth, MN
GM John Michael Burke 2608 Rating Brick, NJ
GM Akshat Chandra 2593 Rating Saint Louis, MO
IM Advait Patel 2592 Rating Midwest City, OK
NM Mika Brattain 2519 Rating Lexington, MA
IM Praveen Balakrishnan 2502 2017 Denker Champion Centreville, VA
FM Alex Bian 2411 2017 U.S. Junior Open Champion Lincolnshire, IL
WIM Annie Wang 2372 Wildcard La Cañada, CA


WIM Jennifer Yu 2423 Rating Ashburn, VA
FM Maggie Feng 2355 Rating Dublin, OH
WIM-Elect Carissa Yip 2344 Rating Andover, MA
WIM Emily Nguyen 2285 Rating Austin, TX
WFM Thalia Cervantes 2259 Rating Webster Groves, MO
WCM Rochelle Wu 2217 2017 National Girls Tournament of Champions Davis, CA
WFM Martha Samadashvili 2196 Rating Albany, NY
WFM Nastassja Matus 2183 Wildcard Plymouth, MN
WFM Sanjana Vittal 2161 Rating East Windsor, NJ
Sophie Morris-Suzuki 2155 Rating New York, NY

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