Coming up: U.S. Championships & Sigeman & Co tournament

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Although this month most of us will be closely following the World Championship match, there are in fact two big events about to start which are worthy of attention not only on Moscow rest days. Today in Saint Louis, USA the 2012 U.S. Championships take off, with Hikaru Nakamura returning and Gata Kamsky defending his title. Tomorrow the Sigeman tournament starts, with Caruana, Leko, Li Chao, Giri, Berg, Tikkanen, Hector and Grandelius playing this year.

U.S. Championships

Today is the first round of the U.S. Championships, which are again (for the fourth time) held in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. (Live games here.) The open and women's events are scheduled to be held simultaneously May 8 through May 20. Gata Kamsky and Anna Zatonskih each look to defend their respective titles against strong and determined fields.

The 2012 U.S. Championship will feature a field of 12 grandmasters and a guaranteed prize fund of more than $160,000. It marks the strongest field in the history of the event. After sitting out of the 2011 U.S. Championship, GM Hikaru Nakamura accepted an invitation to participate this year. Nakamura, 24, is seeking his third U.S. Championship title. GM Yasser Seirawan, who came out of retirement to play in last year’s U.S. Championship, has accepted the final invitation for the U.S. Championship. Seirawan had a stellar performance at the 2011 World Team Championship in Ningbo, China, where he defeated three top-30 players on his way to a silver medal performance.

The field for the 2012 U.S. Championship is as follows:

  1. GM Hikaru Nakamura (2775)
  2. GM Gata Kamsky (2741)
  3. GM Alexander Onischuk (2660)
  4. GM Yasser Seirawan (2643)
  5. GM Robert Hess (2635)
  6. GM Varuzhan Akobian (2625)
  7. GM Ray Robson (2614)
  8. GM Alexander Stripunsky (2562)
  9. GM Gregory Kaidanov (2594)
  10. GM Alejandro Ramirez (2593)
  11. GM Aleksandr Lenderman (2587)
  12. GM Yuri Shulman (2571)

As always there is a special “$64K Fischer Bonus,” to be awarded to anyone that scores a perfect 11-0 in the U.S. Championship, in honor of Bobby Fischer’s 11-0 result at the 1963-64 U.S. Championship.

The 2012 U.S. Women’s Championship will feature a guaranteed prize fund of $64,000 and 10 players, including:

  1. IM Anna Zatonskih (2510)
  2. IM Irina Krush (2457)
  3. WGM Camilla Baginskaite (2358)
  4. WGM Sabina Foisor (2364)
  5. WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (2329)
  6. IM Rusudan Goletiani (2333)
  7. FM Alisa Melekhina (2242)
  8. WIM Viktorija Ni (2228)
  9. WIM Iryna Zenyuk (2224)
  10. NM Alena Kats (2137)

The U.S. Championship and the U.S. Women’s Championship will both be classic round-robin tournaments, in which each participant will play every other participant exactly once.

World's tallest chess piece

On May 7th the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis unveiled the newest Guinness World Record – a chess piece that stands 14 feet, 6 inches tall (4.42 meters) and is 6 feet (1.83 meters) wide at the base. The king piece is based on the “Championship Staunton” design and is made of layers of ¾-inch (almost 2 cm) exterior grade plywood. It is 45 times larger than a standard chess piece. This new record beat the previous record, set in 2003, by 1 foot, 5 inches (0,43 meter).

The Club, in partnership with the World Chess Hall of Fame also located in Saint Louis, set the new record to help further cement the city’s reputation for being the hub of chess in the United States. The piece was unveiled to kick off the 2012 U.S. and Women’s Chess Championships

The piece was built by R.G. Ross Construction, located in Saint Louis, and has been officially approved by Guinness as a world record. Following are some key statistics about the World’s Largest Chess Piece:

  • The piece took 18 days to construct and weighs more than 2,200 pounds.
  •  The piece is taller than a professional basketball hoop, an average-sized female giraffe and the Statue of Liberty’s fingernail.
  •  If the piece were to be used during a chess game, the square the piece sits on would be 9 feet by 9 feet (2.74 x 2.74 m), and the board would be 72 feet by 72 feet (21.95 x 21.95 m). This board would be big enough to hold 392 bathtubs or nine school buses. 

Sigeman & Co

Tomorrow is the first round of the Sigeman & Co Tournament in Malmö, Sweden. (Live games here.) This year the tournament celebrates its 20-year jubilee edition, and it will be bigger and stronger. The dates are May 9-16 with a rest day on the 12th. It's an 8-player, single round roubin so there are 7 rounds. The tournament has attracted additional sponsorship and the line-up is stronger than ever before:

  1. GM Fabiano Caruana (ITA, 2770)
  2. GM Peter Leko (HUN, 2723)
  3. GM Li Chao (CHI, 2703)
  4. GM Anish Giri (NED, 2693)
  5. GM Emanuel Berg (SWE, 2587)
  6. GM Hans Tikkanen (SWE, 2566)
  7. GM Jonny Hector (SWE, 2560)
  8. GM Nils Grandelius (SWE, 2556)

It will be nice to see the numbers 1 and 2 on the current Juniors rating list, Carauna and Giri, facing each other. Besides, many will be curious to see how former World Championship contender Peter Leko will do. Li Chao is a talented and creative player from China. The average rating this year is 2643.

Last year the Sigeman Chess Tournament ended in a three-way tie between Anish Giri, Hans Tikkanen and Wesley So. The three GMs finished on 3/5. Alexei Shirov scored 50%, Nils Grandelius 2/5 and Jonny Hector 1.5/5. We made the following video back then:

More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi Repeats Levitov Chess Week Victory

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Lead As Levitov Chess Week Becomes Two-horse Race