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U.S. Championship Underway

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 08.05.14 07:08.

The 2014 U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women's Championship both begin today in St. Louis, Missouri. For the sixth straight year, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis will play host to both events.

With 12 players instead of 24, the field is more condensed than last year in the U.S. Championship. It also feels much younger, as many veteran American GMs are notably absent (including of course the not-old GM Hikaru Nakamura). This edition marks the first time that no one over 40 has competed in the championship.

A strong group of GMs seeking their first title (left to right): Mackenzie Molner, Sergey Erenburg, Varuzhan Akobian, Josh Friedel, Alejandro Ramirez, Chess.com columnist Daniel Naroditsky

The opening ceremony took place across the street Wednesday, at the World Chess Hall of Fame. Club founder Rex Sinquefield noted that this tournament is the 50 year anniversary of Bobby Fischer's remarkable perfect score at the U.S. Championship. (The club regulary offers a "Fischer Prize" of $64,000 to any player who can repeat his 11-0 performance; to date no one has collected, with the closest being GM Gata Kamsky's 4-0 start last year.)

Sinquefield, a devout St. Louis sports fan, also noted that 50 years ago the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Rex Sinquefield

Sinquefield also praised the U.S. Senate, which passed a bill recognizing St. Louis as the chess capital of the nation. The bill had bipartisan support and he said he was confident that the U.S. House of Representatives, the other half of America's bicameral legislature, would follow suit shortly. Sinquefield, a staunch fiscal conservative, then joked that he hoped Washington would not create a department to oversee chess education.

The ceremony continued with the induction of two players into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, and two players into the World Chess Hall of Fame - GM Paul Keres and GM Maia Chiburdanidze.

The drawing of lots commenced, and reigning (5-time) U.S. Women's Champion GM Irina Krush picked first. Sinquefield's newest book, "An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States," hid the numbers, and Krush's selection was the uncoveted slot ten.

GM Irina Krush

The remainder of the field followed, then the men got their chance. There was some mild confusion when defending champion GM Gata Kamsky opened his book and looked at his numeral - it was either a "6" or a "9." After some consultation with the arbiter, it became clear that the "6" had a line underneath signifying its correct value, and the "9" did not. Kamsky was thus "9" and immediately after him, second-seeded GM Timur Gareev drew number four, meaning the top two will play in the first round!

GM Gata Kamsky and tournament chair WGM Jennifer Shahade

Some research shows that Kamsky, only a few months shy of his 40th birthday, adds a first to his resume. He is now the only player to have been the youngest (1991) and oldest (2014) in a U.S. Championship field - that's quite a career.

Rounds will be at 1:00 p.m. local time (U.S. Central Time, GMT -5). The U.S. Championship is a 12-player round robin; the Women's a 10-player round robin. First prize is $45,000 and $20,000, respectively. The full schedule is here.

Recent law school graduate Alisa Melekina will be one of many women trying to break the hegemony of GM Irina Krush and IM Anna Zatonskih, who have collectively won the last eight women's titles

“The Irinas” as they are known - good friends WIM Iryna Zenyuk (left) and GM Irina Krush

Pairings for the first round have now been posted at the official site here. Chess.com will have the official feed of the US Championship coverage at Chess.com/TV.

Chess.com and FIDE Master Mike Klein also got a chance to speak with Shahade, 2013 Runner-Up GM Alejandro Ramirez, and the tournament's youngest player, 13-year-old NM Ashritha Eswaran.

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Kommentare


  • vor 7 Monate

    D_Ostwald

    It is a hollow victory if you aren't playing against the best.  Nakamura is not Carlsen.  Carlsen is the World Champion.  He has let his good friend have the National title.  When Nakamura has established himself as World Champion, then he can pass on the National Championship if he wishes (and not look overly "proud").

    I like Nakamura, I feel let down that he has elected not to challenge for the title of US Chess Champion.  I would think it would be an honor.  :(

  • vor 7 Monate

    Marcokim

    "So, Nakamura is too good for these folks?  To good to play in the Championship match of his own country?  Sad.  :("

    Naka is just a very principled guy who won the US championship twice in a row and doesn't want to swindle young up-coming GMs of a chance to make their mark. I think Kamsky should follow suit. Problem with the US is that there aren't many 2600+ GMs under 22yrs. And apart from Kamsky, Gareev and maybe Akobian, the US Championships will be a virtual walkover for Hikaru. I respect his honesty and principles for forgoing $60,000 every year like that.

    However the young up-coming generation is very promising - there are at least 4 or 5 kids 11yrs and under who are 2200+ FIDE in the US, one of them a girl which is great. These are future strong GMs. Awonder Liang is the strongest 10yr old in the world!! He is 10yrs and already 2330+ FIDE!!


  • vor 7 Monate

    systematis

    Carlsen does not play in Norway championship either.

  • vor 7 Monate

    the_aleph

    "Under way" is two words. I believe it's originally a nautical expression.

  • vor 7 Monate

    D_Ostwald

    So, Nakamura is too good for these folks?  To good to play in the Championship match of his own country?  Sad.  :(

  • vor 7 Monate

    Paulzzz

    Kamsky is there like a mature wolf among sheep.Smile

  • vor 7 Monate

    konsolebox

    Has anyone noticed the wall picture? He looks like Mr. Nakamura. :)

  • vor 7 Monate

    Safe_and_Sound

    Rooting for Akobian

  • vor 7 Monate

    Rishi9

    So Naroditsky will do a Fischer this year and Melekhina is going to crush Irina ?

    Best of luck everyone...

  • vor 7 Monate

    I_Am_Second

    Chuckieman

    Without Nakamura in the field, Kamsky will win again.  My darkhorse pick is Shanky.

    I understand Naka's desire to play the world's best, but he's passing up the $45,000 first place prize at his own national championship.  Surely, he isn't getting that much for finishing 3rd or 4th at the International tournaments.

     

    Again...another reason i like Naka.  His candor...he has said that winning the world title isnt important to him, and he backs that up with wanting to play the best, instead of playing for "easy" money.

  • vor 7 Monate

    Chuckieman

    Without Nakamura in the field, Kamsky will win again.  My darkhorse pick is Shanky.

    I understand Naka's desire to play the world's best, but he's passing up the $45,000 first place prize at his own national championship.  Surely, he isn't getting that much for finishing 3rd or 4th at the International tournaments.

  • vor 7 Monate

    Chuckieman

    Rex Sinquefield will not bid to host the Anand-Carlsen match because he is on Kasparov's team, which is running against FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  They're happy to see that there are no bidders for the World Championship match because it supports their point that Kirsan does a poor job of promoting the game.  If Kasparov wins the FIDE presidency, I'm sure Sinquefield will work to bring a future WC match to St. Louis.

  • vor 7 Monate

    thismic

    Would Rex Sinquefield and Saint Louis host the Anand - Carlsen match?

  • vor 7 Monate

    thismic

    Could Rex Sinquefield and Saint Louis host the world title match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen?

  • vor 7 Monate

    Ptol4o

    where is naka

  • vor 7 Monate

    CP6033

    Kamsky will probably just pick up the title...

  • vor 7 Monate

    dzindzifan

    If this doesn't draw a crowd I don't know what will! Looking forward to the coverage and what a nice write-up, Mike! Thanks!Cool

  • vor 7 Monate

    ErwinSachs

    Well now I've got over oggling the 2'' Irinas ''....Cheers for the thread.

     

    and does  ' official feed ' mean it's live on chess.com?

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