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Caruana, Nakamura, So To Compete In U.S. Champs

Caruana, Nakamura, So To Compete In U.S. Champs

PeterDoggers
Mar 17, 2017, 10:47 AM 21,717 Reads 66 Comments Chess event coverage

Yet again, the U.S. Championship will see a super strong field. GMs Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, America's top three grandmasters, will all be playing. The dates of the tournament are 28 March-10 April.

For the ninth consecutive year, the U.S. Championship will be held in St. Louis. And again, the self-declared (but rightly so!) "American capital of chess" will be hosting 12 players in the open section, and 12 in the women's. In both groups, the reigning champs will be defending their titles. 

For the second consecutive year the U.S. Championship will see three players from the world's top 10 playing. In order of FIDE rating, they are GMs Wesley So (2822), Fabiano Caruana (2817), and Hikaru Nakamura (2793).

Caruana is the reigning champion. Two years ago Nakamura won, with Caruana being absent and So playing his first championship. After winning both the 2016 Grand Chess Tour and the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, and enjoying a streak of 56 undefeated games, So is not just the rating favorite in his third time of playing.

Wesley So is clearly the man to beat in St. Louis.

Nakamura, a four-time champion, comes to St. Louis after a solid-but-nothing-special score at the Sharjah Grand Prix. Before that, he won the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Tournament—for the third time in a row. That was Caruana's last tournament, who finished on a slightly disappointing 7/10.

That begs the question: Who is the best of the rest? Well, on (FIDE) rating it's actually GM Jeffery Xiong. This young talent is getting close to a 2700 rating. Last year he became the first U.S. player to win the World Junior Championship in almost two decades.

Two members of the gold winning Olympic team definitely have chances as well: GMs Ray Robson and Sam Shankland. And among the seasoned players, one can never rule out former world championship contender GM Gata Kamsky.

2017 U.S. Championship | Participants

No Fed Name Invitational Rating FIDE Rating Qualification
1 GM Fabiano Caruana 2866 2817 U.S. Champion
2 GM Wesley So 2841 2822 Rating
3 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2821 2793 Rating
4 GM Ray Robson 2719 2668 Rating
5 GM Sam Shankland 2717 2666 Rating
6 GM Jeffery Xiong 2715 2674 U.S. Junior Champion
7 GM Gata Kamsky 2709 2659 Rating
8 GM Alex Onischuk 2694 2667 Rating
9 GM Daniel Naroditsky 2690 2646 Rating
10 GM Varuzhan Akobian 2680 2645 Rating
11 GM Alex Shabalov 2618 2556 U.S. Open Champion
12 GM Yaroslav Zherebukh 2657 2605 Wildcard

Also in the women's section, the reigning champion will be defending her title. That's IM Nazi Paikidze, who recently gained world attention with her boycott of the Tehran world championship.

Nazi Paikidze defends her title in St. Louis.

The two "classic" favorites, for the last decade or so, will both be playing as well: seven-time U.S. women’s champion GM Irina Krush, and IM Anna Zatonskih.

Again there's a whole bunch of young and aspiring players, such as 15-year-old WIM Jennifer Yu and 13-year-old WFM Carissa Yip, making the women's tournament a very dynamic one.

2017 U.S. Championship (Women) | Participants

No Fed Name Invitational Rating FIDE Rating Qualification
1 GM Irina Krush 2489 2444 Rating
2 IM Anna Zatonskih 2487 2451 Rating
3 IM Nazi Paikidze 2408 2369 U.S. Women’s Champion
4 WGM Tatev Abrahamyan 2402 2364 Rating
5 WGM Katerina Nemcova 2397 2359 Rating
6 WGM Sabina Foisor 2324 2272 Rating
7 WGM Anna Sharevich 2297 2257 Rating
8 WFM Jennifer Yu 2283 2196 Rating
9 WFM Apurva Virkud 2268 2262 Rating
10 WIM Emily Nguyen 2250 2173 U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion
11 WFM Carissa Yip 2234 2234 Wildcard
12 NM Maggie Feng 2258 2162 Wildcard

"We are thrilled to once again be the epicenter of this country’s chess talent with the 2017 U.S. and U.S. Women’s Championships," said Tony Rich, the Executive Director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. "It’s a true honor to host our nation’s very best and brightest competitors, and we look forward to a fantastic tournament."

The championships will run March 28 – April 10, 2017 and will be streamed live daily on www.uschesschamps.com, featuring play-by-play and analysis from the world-renowned commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade.

Live spectators may view the action in the tournament hall and enjoy additional grandmaster-led commentary on-site by GM Alejandro Ramirez and GM Ben Finegold. Additional event, ticketing and hotel information may be found at www.uschesschamps.com.

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