Local teen heads to U.S. Jr. Championship chess tournament

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 7/15/21

Justin Wang said he started playing chess at the age of seven with his brother. Now, Wang has earned the honor of only 10 young men to play in the 2021 U.S. Juniors and U.S. Senior Chess Championship …

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Local teen heads to U.S. Jr. Championship chess tournament

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Justin Wang said he started playing chess at the age of seven with his brother. Now, Wang has earned the honor of only 10 young men to play in the 2021 U.S. Juniors and U.S. Senior Chess Championship held from Friday through July 26.

“I’m really excited to play in the tournament because I’ve tried to get qualified for the tournament for many years, so this is a good opportunity to play against many strong players and one of the strongest round-robin tournaments,” Wang said.  

This year’s tournament will be held in Saint Louis, Missouri and hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club, according to a press release from the club. The top 10 junior, girls junior and over 50 players from across the U.S. will compete in three separate events with cash prizes and scholarship awards in the prize pot. Winners of the junior and girls' junior competitions will each receive a $6,000 scholarship provided by U.S. Chess and Dewain Barber. Wang, who is 15-years-old and lives in the Katy area will be competing in the U.S. Juniors event.

To win, WanG will need to face 20-year-old Grandmaster John Burke who is returning to defend his 2020 U.S. Junior Championship title.

Given his history, Wang may have what it takes to make that happen. He became a U.S. Chess Federation National Master in 2015, just three years after he began his chess career. He has previously played in Saint Louis, winning the 2017 Saint Louis Invitational and scoring his first win as an international master. He scored his second international master win in the 2018 World Open and went back to Saint Louis for a third international master win, taking the crown at the Saint Louis Invitational’s IM section.

To prepare, Wang said he’s been playing regularly and reviewing each game to see where he could perform better each time. During the tournament though, he said he doesn’t have any particular strategy or goal outside of playing solid games.

“I basically just try to play high-quality games in the tournament,” Wang said.

Justin Wang, Chess

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