by John Bain

Carissa Gave Ju Something to Contemplate

Ju at chessboard in background thinking.

In mid-February 2020, ten of the top women chess players in the world competed in a Round Robin–playing each other once–in the 2020 Cairns Cup at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. See bottom of article for List of Players and Final Standings.

In Round 8, 16-year-old Carissa Yip, playing the black pieces against world champion 29-year-old Ju Wenjun, thought for four minutes before she played the winning Bishop sacrifice 39…♝xf4! See diagram below.

Carissa Yip Sacrifices a Bishop!

Carissa plays 39. ... Qxf4 sacrificing her Bishop for win

Reigning Champion Ju Wenjun under pressure pawn behind at chessboard in chair

Ju Wenjun

2020 Women’s World Chess Champion
Born January 31, 1991 in China
Rating: 2583

Carissa Annihilates Ju’s Kingside Pawns

After the Bishop sacrifice, Carissa Yip’s Queen destroyed Ju Wenjun’s kingside pawns with a series of checks:

40. gxf4 ♛xh4+ 41. ♔g1 ♛h4+ 42. ♔g1 ♛xf4 43. ♕b1♜xb2 44.♕xb2 ♛xe3 45.♕xf6 ♛xe4+.

See diagram below.

Position after Carissa plays 45 ... Qxf4+

Ju Wenjun knew she was lost being three pawns down, but nevertheless, being a fierce competitor, she played until move 57. … ♕g3+ when Yip forced the exchange of Queens.

Carissa Forces Exchange of Queens

Position after Carissa plays 57 ... Qg3+

Carissa played 57. … ♕g3+.

Ju Wenjun resigned.

If the game had continued with 58. ♕xg3 ♔xg3, then Carissa’s b-pawn promotes to a Queen with check before Ju Wenjun’s d-pawn can promote! See diagram above.

Carissa Celebrates

Carissa smiling sitting chair after defeating World Champion Ju Wenjun

USA’s 16-year old Carissa Yip smiling while relaxing in a chair after defeating Women’s World Chess Champion Ju Wenjun

Who Is Carissa Yip?

Carissa Yip International Chess Master Title!

Carissa Yip

Born September 10, 2003 in USA

Rated: 2412

Carissa Yip is now the youngest-ever American female to earn Expert, Master, Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and now International Master (IM) titles.

Since only two American women have ever earned the Grandmaster (GM) title, that remains the only other female record for Carissa to break–becoming the youngest ever USA female Grandmaster!

At 16 years, one month, and 18 days old, Yip beat the International Master (IM) title record formerly held by now-Grandmaster Irina Krush (2013) by more than one year.

Cariss Yip is an IM with cake November 2019

Carissa’s accomplishments over the past several months are nothing short of astounding:

June 2019: Wins 2019 North American Junior Girls’ Championship.

July 2019: Wins 2019 U.S. Junior Girls’ Championship, becomes USA’s youngest-ever WGM.

August 2019: Earned second IM norm at U.S. Masters Championship.

September 2019: Became highest-rated USA female (2425) after picking up 125 points in August.

October 2019: Earned third and final IM norm, becoming USA’s youngest-ever female IM.

Carissa’s win at  the 2019 USA Junior Girls’ Championship earned her an automatic spot into the 2020 USA Women’s Championship!

Carissa’s Historic Climb to the Top

Now America’s #1 Rated Female Chess Player!

Where it began


9 Years Old
The Youngest Female USA Chess Expert Ever

Carissa Yip 9 years old Expert

Carissa Contemplating a Move

9 Years Old

Only three years after learning the game of chess at 6 years old, 9-year-old Carissa earned the title of U.S. Chess Federation Expert, becoming the youngest USA female Expert ever!

Even at 9-years old, her U.S. Chess Federation Expert title placed her in the top 7 percent of all players registered with the group and the top 2 percent of female players.

Her father Percy, a computer IT architect, taught her chess until she began beating him within a year. Carissa set a goal for herself in 2013 to one day become the first female to win the overall World Chess Championship–not just in the female category, her father said.

And, while she loves chess and plans to become World Champion, Carissa also plans to become a professional golfer and a policewoman.

The Path to Grandmaster Can Begin Here

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The 2020 Cairns Cup

List of Players
Final Standings

Final Standings at the 2020 Cairns Cup

Beginner’s BookChess Rules For Students

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An instructional workbook containing tactics in worksheet format used to checkmate--like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance, and Attacking Flight Squares!
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Chess Tactics For Students
An instructional workbook containing 434 carefully selected problems presented in worksheet format.

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