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2018 U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls' Junior Chess Champions Crowned in Saint Louis


2018 U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls' Junior Chess Champions Crowned in Saint Louis

Awonder Liang Claims Back-to-Back Championships and Carissa Yip Wins First Title at the Saint Louis Chess Club

PR Newswire

ST. LOUIS, July 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The national junior chess championships have concluded in Saint Louis, the nation's Chess Capital, with 15-year-old Awonder Liang from Madison, Wis., claiming his second consecutive U.S. Junior Championship and 14-year-old Carissa Yip from Andover, Mass., winning the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

For the ninth consecutive year, the Saint Louis Chess Club hosted America's best and brightest young chess players during the U.S. Junior Championship and, for the second time, the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship from July 11-21, 2018. Both events are the most prestigious chess championships in the country for junior players under the age of 21, providing an opportunity for chess' rising stars to compete in an elite tournament and environment. Liang and Yip outlasted the competition in their respective 10-person fields, battling for nearly $31,000 in prizes, and more importantly, automatic invitations to the 2018 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship respectively, the nation's top invitational chess events.

With his back-to-back U.S. Junior Championship victories, Liang continues to impress as one of America's brightest chess prodigies. The Wisconsin teen holds a number of records, including youngest ever to defeat an International Master, youngest to defeat a Grandmaster, youngest American to achieve a master rating and youngest American to earn the International Master title. Liang's performance earned him a spot in the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship and comparisons to great names like Bobby Fischer, Hikaru Nakamura, and 2018 U.S. Champion Sam Shankland.

"Qualifying for the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship was the main goal," said Liang. "It is a very prestigious tournament. I played in it this year and it was a great experience and I'd love to come back, so I really wanted to win this tournament to clinch the spot. It's not every day that you get the chance to play in such a strong tournament."

Carissa Yip came to Saint Louis with her own dreams and ambitions. Yip holds the distinction of being the youngest ever to reach the title of Expert, the youngest female to achieve the title of National Master and – just before the start of the tournament – earned the Woman's International Master title. She backed up the recognition with a wire-to-wire performance to claim the U.S. Girls' Junior title. Yip's +5 score helped her perform at a 2481 rating, which is more than 100 points above her rating and proves that she will be a formidable competitor at next year's U.S. Women's Championship.

"I've played in the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship for five years and I'm usually one of the top seeds, but I do really badly," said Yip. "I'm glad this year it's better."

"Watching these young players compete for the last several years is exciting for American chess," stated Tony Rich, executive director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. "It means our national events will get stronger and more American players may be among the top 10 in the world very soon."

Next month, the Saint Louis Chess Club with host two more elite tournaments, the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz and the Sinquefield Cup. Each will feature the top 10 players in the world, including defending World Champion Magnus Carlsen in his last match against contender Fabiano Caruana before they face off in November at the World Chess Championship in London.

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About the Saint Louis Chess Club
The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit


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