US Junior Chess

by Bill Wall


The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) organized its first U.S. Junior Open  (called the USCF National Junior Chess Championship) in July, 1946, at the Lawson YMCA in Chicago.  The winner that year was 16-year-old Larry Friedman of Cleveland.  Hans Berliner and Philip LeCornu tied for 2nd-3rd.  There were 32 players from 14 states in the event, including Larry Evans, Jim Cross, Paul Poschel, Richard Kujoth, George and Harald Miller, and Eugene Levin.  All the players were under 19.  That would change to under 21 in later events.  In 1945, Friedman took 4th place in the Ohio State Championship while a sophomore at Shaw High School in Cleveland.  He was the 1945 Junior Champion of Cleveland.


Larry Friedman also won in it in 1947, held in Cleveland.  Jim Cross and Larry Evans tied for 2nd-3rd place.  There were 45 players from 18 states in the event, all under 21.  The youngest was Ross Siemms of Toronto (the USCF opened the event up to Canadian players), who was 11 years old.  Herman Steiner directed the event.  On July 31, 1950, Friedman appeared on the first USCF rating list at 2284.  In 1958, he played in the New Jersey Open and took 1st place as the top New Jersey resident (the event was won by Tibor Weinberger).  


In July 1948, Arthur Bisguier (born Oct 8, 1929) won the 3rd annual U.S. Junior Championship Tournament, held in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (directed by George Koltanowski).  He won on Sonnenborn-Berger tiebreaks over Frank Anderson (1928-1980) of Toronto, Canada.  Bisguier and Anderson each scored 8-2.  Jim Cross took 3rd place.  There were 50 players from 17 states in the event.

Bisguier also won it in 1949, held in Fort Worth, Texas (38 players from 15 states).  He won it on tiebreaks over Larry Evans (2nd) and James Cross (3rd).  Each scored 8-2. 


In 1950, James Cross (born in 1930) of Glendale, California, won the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Milwaukee.  He won on tiebreaks over Ross Siemms.  In 1957, he won the California State Championship.  He later gave up the game in the late 1950s.


In 1951, Saul Philip Wachs (born Dec 24, 1931), of Philadelphia, won the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Philadelphia.  In 1954, he took 8th-9th place in the US Chess Championship.  He later became a rabbi.  He received a PhD in Education and Jewish history from Ohio State University.


In 1952, Curt Justin Brasket (born Dec 7, 1932), of Minneapolis, won the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Omaha.  He has won the Minnesota State Chess Championship a record 16 times. 


In August 1953, Saul N. Yarmak (born Dec 18, 1933) won the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Kansas City.  He scored 8.5 out of 10.  John Penquite and Martin Harrow tied for 2nd-3rd place with 7 out of 10.  There were 24 players in the event.  In 1954, Saul tied for 3r-4th in the US Junior Championship.


In 1954, Ross E. Siemms (born Sep 7, 1935), of Toronto, Canada, won the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Long Beach, California.  He scored 8.5 out of 10.  He also won the Canadian Junior Chess Championship.  He retired from chess in 1959.


In 1955, Charles Kalme (born Nov 15, 1939), of Philadelphia, won the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He won with a score of 9-1.  In 1957, Kalme won the U.S. Collegiate Championship.  This was Bobby Fischer’s first US Junior Championship.  At age 12, he was the youngest participant.  Kalme died on March 20, 2002.


In July 1956, Bobby Fischer (born March 3,1943) won the 11th U.S. Junior Championship, held at the Franklin Mercantile Chess Club in Philadelphia.    He lost to Charles Henin (2265) in round 6, drew with Arthur Feuerstein (2150) in round 1, and won all his other games.  He defeated Carl Grossguth (2022), William Whisler (1882), Sydney Geller (2150), George Baylor (2014), Charles Weldon (1927), Steve Friedman (Unr), Kenneth Blake (1877), and David Kerman (1927.  Fischer was 13 years and 4 months old, making him the youngest U.S. Junior Champion and the youngest chess master (2321 rating after the event) up to that time.  For his efforts he was given a portable typewriter.  Henin and Feuerstein tied for 2nd-3rd place.  There were 28 participants.


In 1957, Bobby Fischer won the 12th annual U.S. Junior Championship, held at the Spreckels Dairy Company in San Francisco.  Fischer scored 8.5 out of 9.  His only draw was to Gilbert Ramirez (2222) in round 5.  He defeated James Bennett (1725), Andrew Schoene (1842), Ronald Thacker (1888), William Haines (1950), Stephen Sholomson (2233), Mike Bredhoff (2000), Robert Walker (1780), and Leonard Hill (2038).  He won another typewriter.  His USCF rating after the event was 2298.  There were 33 players in this event.


In 1958, Raymond Allen Weinstein (born April 25, 1941) won the 13th annual U.S. Junior Championship, held in Homestead, Florida.  In 1960-61, he took 3rd place in the US championship.   He tied for 3rd-4th place in the 1959 US Junior Championship.


In 1959, Robin Ault (born Dec 23, 1941), of New Jersey, won the 14th 13th annual U.S. Junior Championship, held in Omaha.  He won on tiebreak over Gilbert Ramirez.  He is the only person to win the US Junior Championship three times in a row.  He also won it in 1960 and 1961.  He died on September 16, 1994.



 1  1946  Larry Friedman                

 2  1947  Larry Friedman                

 3  1948  Arthur Bisguier                

 4  1949  Arthur Bisguier                

 5  1950  James Cross                                      

 6  1951  Saul Wachs                                        

 7  1952  Curt Brasket                                     

 8  1953  Saul Yarmak                                      

 9  1954  Ross Siemms                                    

10  1955  Charles Kalme                                

11  1956  Bobby Fischer                                 

12  1957  Bobby Fischer                                 

13  1958  Raymond Weinstein                    

14  1959  Robin Ault                                        

15  1960  Robin Ault                                        

16  1961  Robin Ault                                        

17  1962  Larry Gilden                                     

18  1963  Peter Irwin                                      

19  1964  John Meyer                                     

20  1965  Bill Martz                          

21  1966  Charles Alden                                                 

22  1967  Alan Rufty, David Lane

23  1968  John Anderson, Steve Soyko

24  1969  Lawrence Day

25  1970  John Geanakopolos

26  1971  Biyiasas, MacPhnil

27  1972  Jon Frenkle, Jon Jacobs

28  1973  Wierzbicki, Stopa, Brenner

29  1974  Spencer Lucas

30  1975  Donald Reents, Dade Jonsson

31  1976  Steven Opendahl

32  1977  Tom Brown, Alan Anderson

33  1978  Yasser Seirawan

34  1979  Jay Whitehead

35  1980  no tournament

35  1981  David Griego, Moshe Khatena, Andy Lerner

36  1982  Stuart Rachels, David Gertler

37  1983  Doug Eckert

38  1984  Dennis Younglove, Doug Eckert

39  1985  Adam Lief                                         

40  1986  Vivek Rao                                         

41  1987  Andrew Serotta

42  1988  Andrew Serotta

43  1989  Andrew Serotta

44  1990  R.O. Mitchell

45  1991  Vadim Tsemekhman

46  1992  Josh Manion, Mikhail Zlotnik

47  1993  Valdis Saulespures, Andy McManus

48  1994  Vadim Tsemekhman

49  1995  Gabriel Schwartzman

50  1996  Gregory Shahade

51  1997  Shearwood MCClelland III

52  1998  Jennifer Shahade

53  1999  Andrew Whatley

54  2000  Asuka Nakamura, Arthur Traldi

55  2001  Rodelay Medina, Digeng Du

56  2002  A.J. Steigman

57  2003  Salvijus Bercys, Thomas Bartell

58  2004  Deepyamin Datta

59  2005  Benjamin Coraretti, Roger Rojas-Suaraz

60  2006  Peter Yeh, Ryan Milisits, Deepyaman Datta

61  2007  Brian Goldstein, Edward Lu             

62  2008  Maxx Coleman

63  2009  Eric Rosen

64  2010  Deepyaman Datta  

65  2011  Gregory Young

66  2012  Karthik Ramachandran

67 2013  Justus Williams