The US Junior Closed Chess Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the United States – next only to the US Championships. This was my first time playing the US Junior, and I was looking forward to competing in this event. The chief attraction of the invitational Junior Championship is that the winner qualifies for the following year’s US Championship, in which they get to play top world-class players in a typical round-robin format, just like other elite tournaments. With next year’s edition potentially having a lineup that could include Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Gata Kamsky, each participant in the Junior championship had sufficient motivation to go all out.

The players arrived in St. Louis on July 6, one day before the event was to begin, and we all drew our pairing lots during the opening ceremony that evening. The picking of the lots was done by last name, but in reverse alphabetical order. By the time I got around to picking, all the 5 White lots had already been selected, and I had to content myself with the 4 Whites draw. The strongest US Junior ever had begun.

In Round 1, I had the Black pieces and faced a good friend of mine, the precocious International Master Luke Harmon Vellotti. This was a tough game to start off the tournament. Although one may have been tempted to play a solid opening, especially with the Black pieces, I decided to go for a more fighting and complex game by revisiting an old friend.

    4 replies to "The US Junior Championship 2015Winning the strongest US Junior event ever in my first appearance!"

    • Justin (wolvie) Kristoff

      Congrats to AKSHAT CHANDRA !!! nice win. keep it up!

      • Akshat

        Hey wolvie,
        Great to hear from you, buddy!
        Thanks for your kinds words 😀

    • Aarush

      Hi Akshat,
      Its an honour to know you !! I am a newbie in chess (U600) and i am inspired by your hardwork and the rate at which you made it to GM and beyond.
      what are your recommendations , books…
      For opening, stragetgy…I might make it to some intermediate level books.

      Thanks and hopeful to meet you !!

      • Akshat

        Hi Aarush,
        Hope you’re doing well.
        I appreciate your kind words.
        The books I started out with, when I began playing chess, were:
        Openings – I didn’t read many opening books, and this is a subjective phase of the game anyways. Create an opening repertoire for yourself, and look for books analyzing those openings.
        Middlegames- Secrets of the Russian Chess Masters: Fundamentals of the Game (Volume 1 and 2) written by Lev Alburt and Larry Par , and Simple Chess by GM Michael Stean
        Endgames – Silman’s Complete Endgame Course, written by IM Jeremy Silman
        Hope this helps, and good luck.

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