Elliott Liu and Corey Acor hoist U.S. Junior Champion Marc Arnold up! Photo Jon Haskel
by Jennifer Shahade
Marc Arnold won a tactical last round game against Eric Rodriguez to win clear first in the U.S. Junior Championship with 6.5/9. The fourteen-year-old New Yorker won the Cadet (U16) Championship last year, so maybe next year he'll win the U.S. Championship, or at least the Senior Championship?
Here is Marc's last round game:
28.Ne5 lead to favorable complications for Black after 28...c3. Preferable was removing the rook from the line of fire with 28.Rd1. Black still has pressure after 28...Rb8 but 29.Ne5 Qxb2 30. Qxb2 Rxb2 31.Rd8+ Bf8 32.Bd5! looks OK for White. After the game continuation 29...Qxb2 and Black is winning because if 30.Nxc5 Bxf1 31.Qxf1 c2 32.Nd3 Qxa3 and White's two minor pieces are powerless to stop the c-pawn and the rook from invading.
12-year-old Ray Robson came in clear second with 6/9, after ceding a draw in the final round to Alexander Barnett.
Final U.S. Junior Invitational Standings
1. Marc Tyler Arnold- 6.5/9 2. Ray Robson- 6/9 3. Xiao Cheng- 5.5/9 4-6. Corey Acor, Elliott Liu and Mackenzie Molner- 4.5/9 7-8. Ryan Milisits and Alexander Barnett- 4/9 9-10. Eric Rodriguez and Teddy Coleman- 2/9
Mackenzie Molner had a fantastic run and was in contention for first for most of the event, but lost his last two rounds.
Xiao Cheng earned 2.5/3 in his last three games, and came in clear third with 5.5/9.
The U.S. Junior Open takes place this weekend in Tampa, Florida, June 22-24. Watch for the CLO report!