Defending chess champion beaten in opening rounds of Junior championship

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Defending national junior chess champion Joshua Gopaul got a wake-up call last weekend when he returned to the chessboard. Looking to make a successful defence of the title he won in 2018, Gopaul lost in the opening two rounds of the 2019 event to Andre Jagnandan and Ethan Lee.

In round one, playing with the white pieces against a Grunfeld Defense, he missed the simple 5. Bxf6 Bxf6 and 6. cxd5, winning a simple pawn through the basic tactics of removing the defender. However, the tactical Lee was ruthless when hunting Gopaul’s uncastled king, thereby forcing him to resign on move 14.

Gopaul’s second game was longer than his first, but he played with a lot of inaccuracies which the informed Jagnandan was keen to spot.

Again, playing with the white pieces he went for the Queen’s Gambit, however, Jagnandan went for the Chameleon Defense using his opponent’s inaccuracies to slowly grind his way to victory.

Jagnandan won his first round game against the higher FIDE-rated player Jaden Taylor. Taylor, with the Black pieces, went for the active and solid Grunfeld Defense, but lost his way playing an inferior variation which Jagnandan spotted and capitalised on.

Ghansham Allijohn got off to a perfect start as well. In round one, he opted for the Scotch Game with White against fellow club mate Jarell Troyer. After early Queens exchange, Allijohn outplayed his opponent strategically to secure his first win.

Even with the black pieces, he maintained his solidness to defend off some aggressive chess by Jaden Taylor as well in round two.

Queen’s College Rajiv Lee is also sharing the lead after two rounds. In round one against Chelsea Juma, he played the Scotch Game as well. However, inaccuracies by both players saw the initiative being pushed from player to player with Lee emerging with the win.

In round two, Lee fought hard for over 50 moves to secure his second point against the challenging Taylor. Round three will take place on Friday.

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