The US Women's Chess Championship begins today with this evening's opening ceremony at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis.
The board battles, however, start tomorrow, and the tournament room will be home to two long-time antagonists: Zatonskih and Krush. It was only two years ago at the 2008 Championship that Irina Krush literally slapped her king across the room at the conclusion of the armageddon game that gave the tournament victory to Zatonskih. (Click here for the video.) Then last year Zatonskih dominated her competitors with one draw and eight wins to leave no doubt about who rules women's chess in the United States. But the old rivalry goes back further than that: in fact, in 2007 it was Krush who came out on top. And Krush's presence in the tournament dates from 1997 when she won it all at the tender age of 14. Not only that, Irina has been doing well of late, holding her own against the men as the only woman in the field at this year's US Championship. And now the latest FIDE ratings put Krush a few points ahead of Zatonskih. So if nothing else, this promises to remain an unpredictable match-up. Be ready for some exciting chess.
Zatonskih and Krush meet again. (Photo: Betsy Dynako for CCSCSL)
Jen Shahade and Ben Finegold will provide live commentary throughout the tournament, and Nakamura himself will supply expert analysis for at least the first two rounds. Click here for the official site.
For a full report, with photos, on the opening ceremony, click here.