The Amateur Eye – World Junior Chess

It has been 19-years since an American has won the World Junior Chess Championship. I remember getting my copy of Chess Life with the announcement that William Lombardy swept the field to win 11-0!  That was 1957. Bill Lombardy went on to represent the USA in a number of Olympiads playing for the USA, and was active in the New York City area.

A host of American talent followed.  Mark Diesen topped the field in 1976.  Yasser Seirawan  in 1979;  Maxim Dlugy in 1985;  Ilya Gurevich in 1990; Tal Shaked in 1997.  An Argentine émigré won in 1967, Julio Kaplan who played under the Puerto Rican flag per FIDE rules as it was listed as a separate national federation from the USA.

Chess Life, Dec. 2016, carries the story of our new World Junior Champion, written by himself.  GM JEFFERY XIONG is the new champion, featuring pictures, and games he provides for readers.  He writes: I fought very hard to win the U.S. Junior Championship which was held earlier at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, Mo. and to represent the USA in Bhubaneswar, India.  I have  always liked playing in international junior tournaments since I get the opportunity to travel to countries that I have never been to, making new friends with young players from other continents. I get to know their culture, and the fun things they do on a daily basis. My fellow young players are all very talented, and are rarely afraid to taking risks and playing interesting ideas, which make the tournament very exciting.”(Young people make good ambassadors in a world, sometimes gone???).

Several games appear in Chess Life annotated by GM  J. Xiong.


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