The Gateway to Chess

Время публикации: 08.05.2012 16:45 | Последнее обновление: 16.05.2012 06:00

A record piece has been installed for the opening of the USA Championships, where all the top players will play

The USA Championships will start on 8 May in Saint Louis, to be held in this city for the fourth time. The participants will be, mainly, all the best players of the country, including the top seven strongest men and six strongest active women, according to the international rating. 

There will be twelve participants in the Men's Championship (all grandmasters): Hikaru Nakamura (the champion in 2005 and 2009; rating 2775), Gata Kamsky (the champion in 1991, 2010 and 2011; rating 2741), Alexander Onischuk (the champion in 2006; rating 2660), Yasser Seirawan (the champion in 1986 and shared title holder in 1981, 1989 and 2000; rating 2643), Robert Hess (2635), Varuzhan Akobian (2625), Ray Robson (2614), Gregory Kaidanov (2594), Alejandro Ramirez (2593), Aleksandr Lenderman (2587), Yuri Shulman (the champion in 2008; rating 2571) and Alexander Stripunsky (2562). The guaranteed prize fund is $160,000. If any of the players win all eleven games (which is, of course, very unlikely), then the hero would get $64,000 bonus named after Bobby Fischer, who showed a 100% result in the 1963/64 Championship.

There will be ten players in the Women's Championship. The main favourites and interchanging winners of the recent years' championships are among them: Anna Zatonskih (rating 2510) and Irina Krush (2457). The other participants are Sabina Foisor (2364), Camilla Baginskaite (2365), Rusudan Goletiani (2333), Tatev Abrahamyan (2329), Alisa Melekhina (2242), Viktorija Ni (2228), Iryna Zenyuk (2224) and Alena Kats (2137). The prize fund is $64,000.

There was a special event timed for the start of the championships: installation of a record chess piece by the Chess Club and Scholastic Centre of Saint Louis (CCSCSL); the participants of both tournaments have already got photographed in front of it.

The king piece was built by R.G. Ross Construction from Saint Louis and made from exterior grade plywood. It stands at fourteen feet and six inches tall, and it's six feet wide at the base. The piece took eighteen days to construct and weighs more than 2200 pounds.

The piece of the classical "Championship Staunton" design is 45 times larger than a standard one. According to the organisers, this achievement has been officially approved by the Guinness Book of Records. The previous record was broken by one foot and five inches. 

As a part of the unveiling and tournament kick-off, Saint Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay issued an official proclamation, declaring Saint Louis a centre of chess culture and the "Gateway to Chess", and the piece, "a striking monument to honour our city's involvement in the game". If the piece was to be used during a chess game, the board would be 72 feet by 72 feet.

The USA Championship will be covered on our site in detail.

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Photo: Dilip Vishwanat (Saint Louis Chess Club)


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