U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship Return to St. Louis

| 6 | Chess Event Coverage

The 2014 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship will return to St. Louis, both for the sixth consecutive year. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will host the two round robins from May 7-21, 2014. The U.S. Championship will feature 12 players while 10 women will be invited for their event.

The club also announced that it will once again host the U.S. Junior Championship from June 20-July 1, 2014.

After changing structures most years, the U.S. Championship once again sees a new wrinkle for this year. The 11-round all-play-all tournament replaces last year's format, which was a nine-round, 24-player Swiss. The women's even remains unaltered from last year.

The prize structure has yet to be determined, but the total purse was announced as $171,000 according to club officials. Last year's prizes totaled $180,000 but that was split amongst a field twice the size. The women's event will keep its $65,000 in total prize money.

The hosts are also bringing back the $64,000 "Fischer Prize" for anyone in the U.S. Championship that can score a perfect 11-0 (Bobby Fischer went unblemished in the 1963-1964 Championship). Last year GM Gata Kamsky got closer than anyone since the special prize was offered. He won his first four games, but all players, including him, scoffed at the idea that anyone could remain perfect for the entire tournament. He drew his next five games before beating GM Alejandro Ramirez in the third game of a tense playoff.

Last year's winners, GM Gata Kamsky and GM Irina Krush (photos courtesy Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis)

Three of the dozen spots for the U.S. Championship have been filled. Kamsky punches his ticket as the defending champion, while GM Josh Friedel will be invited after winning the 2013 U.S. Open. GM Daniel Naroditsky also gets the nod from winning the 2013 U.S. Junior Championship. Eight more positions will be filled by rating, with one wildcard invite.

Top-rated American GM Hikaru Nakamura, a resident of St. Louis, did not play in 2013. During last year's live commentary, he stated that he had not played in his last U.S. Championship. He won the 2012 edition with an undefeated 8.5/11, which was also a 12-player round robin.

In the women's event, Irina Krush, newly-crowned grandmaster, has the only official invitation thus far. She won in 2013 with seven wins and two draws to successfully defend her title for the first time (she has five titles in total). The next seven players will be based on rating and two more by wildcard invite.

GM Irina Krush, going for a three-peat

Since the event began in 1937, several women have won three consecutive U.S. Women's Championships but no one has ever done it outright. Krush will be looking to make history in that regard, but she has a ways to go to pass WIM Gisela Gresser's mark of nine lifetime titles.

You can follow both tournaments at the club's tournament web site. For more information, read the official press release. will also be on-site bringing you daily tourmament reports and exclusive video interviews.

FM Mike Klein

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Mike Klein began playing chess at the age of four in Charlotte, NC. In 1986, he lost to Josh Waitzkin at the National Championship featured in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." A year later, Mike became the youngest member of the very first All-America Chess Team, and was on the team a total of eight times. In 1988, he won the K-3 National Championship, and eventually became North Carolina's youngest-ever master. In 1996, he won clear first for under-2250 players in the top section of the World Open. Mike has taught chess full-time for a dozen years in New York City and Charlotte, with his students and teams winning many national championships. He now works at as a Senior Journalist and at as the Chief Chess Officer. In 2012, 2015, and 2018, he was awarded Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. He has also previously won other awards from the CJA such as Best Tournament Report, and also several writing awards for mainstream newspapers. His chess writing and personal travels have now brought him to more than 85 countries.

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