High school football player is on chess tourney's leader board

chessfan007
chessfan007
May 15, 2009, 3:26 PM |
0 | Misc

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

The leader board at the U.S. Chess Championship, being held this year in St. Louis, is occupied by the pre-tournament favorites -- and a high-school football player.

As of Friday, a rest day for the players, the top three seeds in the competition, Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Onischuk, respectively, are at the top of the field of 24 with 5 points. (One point is awarded for a victory; one-half point is earned for a draw.)  
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Tied with the "Big Three" is Robert Hess, a 17-year-old from New York who plays linebacker for his high-school football team. Hess has defeated four grandmasters in his seven matches. Considering he already has played the other three leaders, losing to Nakamura and drawing with the other two, Hess has a strong chance of finishing in at least a tie for the lead.

If there is a tie after the ninth and final round Sunday, the leaders will play in shorter "blitz"-type games to determine the champion.

Charles Lawton of University City, the only St. Louis-area player in the field, has yet to score a victory. Michael Brooks of Kansas City, Missouri's top-rated player, has earned 4 points, with three wins and two draw in his seven matches. 

Action resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center in the Central West End. 

For detailed standings and other tournament information, go to www.saintlouischessclub.org
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