Jennifer Yu takes on competition in chess match

U.S. chess master Jennifer Yu is across from, left to right,  Hailey Yamada of Jamestown Elementary School, Ayah Swan of Chess Girls DC and Anne Gao of the Potomac School during the recent community competition.

Jennifer Yu, a 16-year-old U.S. chess master from Ashburn, registered a 19-1-1 score in a simultaneous exhibition (“simul”) held at Wakefield High School on May 12, part of a community event sponsored by the Arlington Chess Club.

Yu lost just one game, but it was a stunner, a nine-move upset at the hands of 16-year-old Don Loos of Lorton, a member of the Arlington Chess Club.

Loos, an experienced tournament player but whose rating is far below Yu’s, seized on a Yu mistake to take the win by checkmate early in the simul. Yu maintained her composure and played strong chess throughout the remaining three hours of the event.

The one draw against Yu was scored by Chen-chen Ye, a fifth-grader at Cold Spring Elementary School in Montgomery County. Chen-chen played beyond his years and his rating in a protracted game with a complex ending. Chess experts analyzing the games pegged it as the most interesting of the simul.

U.S. expert Sam Schenk, a 10th-grader at H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and the highest-rated K-12 player in Arlington, also had a protracted game against Yu but fell in the endgame as Yu doubled her rooks on the fifth rank and systematically squeezed the position.

Just two weeks before the simul, Yu had placed fourth in the U.S. women’s championship in St. Louis. In September, she will travel to the Republic of Georgia to play for the U.S. at the women’s world team championship.

The Arlington Chess Club opens these events to adults and youth in the community. Those who competed against Yu were Alexandre Carvalho, Arlington Students Chess; Ryan Feeback, U.S. State Department; Ethan Foster, Key Elementary School; Roland Foster,  Gunston Middle School; Gavin Francis, Smart Move Chess; Anne Gao, The Potomac School; Lock Grigsby, Georgetown Day School; Thalia Grigsby, Georgetown Day School; Michael Hibam, DMV Chess.

Also competing against Yu were Jason Liang, Belmont Station Elementary School; Don Loos, Arlington Chess Club; Katherine Loos, parent; Brenan Nierman, Arlington Chess Club; Sam Schenk, H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program; Ayah Swan, Chess Girls D.C.; Robert Teachey, U.S. Chess Center; Uguum Tsolmonbaatar, Wakefield High School; Lang Xiong, Churchill Road Elementary School; Hailey Yamada, Jamestown Elementary School; Ethan Yamada, Williamsburg Middle School; and Chen-chen Ye, Cold Spring Elementary School.

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