Steve Goldberg Covers U.S. Chess Championship

| 0 | Fun & Trivia

The weather could not have been nicer for the outdoor opening ceremonies. It took place on an open field behind the Museum of Art, with servers offering an assortment of delicacies.

After exiting the Marcel Duchamp exhibit inside the building, I walked around to where the gathering was taking place and I immediately felt like a young boy in the midst of his favorite baseball team.

My eyes darted around the open area, searching for familiar faces. Understand that although I have been in communication with most of the chess stars here, this communication has nearly always been via e-mail or phone. So I was about to meet face to face a couple dozen people I had never met in person before.

First I spotted Paul Truong and Susan Polgar, standing beside a small table. Paul was waving - somehow he recognized me before I recognized him.
Then, all of a sudden, a number of players began walking in. Robert Hess, Sam Shankland, Tyler Hughes, Joel Benjamin. They began taking their places in the front row of the seating set up for the opening event. A moment later I saw Larry Christensen, Alexander Shabalov, Hikaru Nakamura, Josh Friedel, Gregory Kaidanov and Boris Gulko (Gulko saw my yarmulke and smiled).

Before long, they were all there - all 24 contestants for the 2009 U.S. Championship. Gata Kamsky looked regal, Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih were stunning in their outfits.

(For pictures and the rest of this article, go to:

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