Junior Speed Chess Championship: Yoo Upsets Niemann

Junior Speed Chess Championship: Yoo Upsets Niemann

| 49 | Chess Event Coverage

For the first time in the main event of the 2021 Junior Speed Chess Championship, the lower seed won in an upset as #10 IM Christopher Yoo defeated #7 GM Hans Niemann by a score of 23-9 on Thursday.

The next match in the championship is GM Nihal Sarin vs. GM Nicholas Checa on Saturday, July 10 at 11 a.m. PT / 20:00 Central Europe.

The live broadcast of the match.

The match was decided very early in the bullet section, if not sooner. The 14-year-old Yoo (@ChristopherYoo on won the 5|1 section 6.5-2.5 and then took the 3|1 portion 7-3. Niemann (@HansOnTwitch), age 18, won the first 1|1 game to pull within seven points, but Yoo won the next game to end any miracle comeback attempts. He ultimately won the 1|1 section, 9.5-3.5, as well.

Yoo was in the driver seat from the outset, posting four wins and two draws in the first six games. The third game was particularly frustrating for Niemann.

If there was a single moment where Yoo clinched the match, it came in the eighth 3|1 game, although the lead was already eight points entering the game. Niemann got a great position thanks to a passed pawn on b7, but later dropped it for nothing. He ultimately held the draw but every half-point mattered by then.

As commentator GM Daniel Naroditsky pointed out early in the bullet section, Yoo hadn't lost consecutive games in the match. That held true to the end. At different points in the match, Yoo was making moves that were unseen by both commentators, Naroditsky and GM Aman Hambleton.

The players got original in some of their opening choices as the match, once it had been decided, reached its conclusion.

In the post-match interview, Yoo attributed his victory to concentration, saying, "I think I was about as focused as I can be today. I was very zoned in and seeing a lot of things very quickly."

It was apparent on stream at moments such as after game three, but Niemann also stated in the post-match interview that "I think there were a lot of moments where my emotions got the best of me," adding, "and I just couldn't get it together."

Niemann earned $140.62 based on win percentage; Yoo won $500 for the victory plus $359.37 on percentage for a total of $859.37. In the quarterfinal, Yoo will play GM Raunak Sadhwani.

All games

2021 JSCC Bracket
The 2021 Junior Speed Chess Championship is an online tournament for top junior players. The qualifiers for the event were held June 7-21, while the main event runs July 1-August 8. Players battle for their shares of a total prize fund of $35,000 and a spot in the Speed Chess Championship later this year. More info here; live games here

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