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For Immediate Release:
ALL PARTICIPANTS AT U.S. CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP NOW OFFICIALLY
INELIGIBLE FOR $64,000 FISCHER MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR A 'SWEEP'
ST. LOUIS, May 11, 2009 -- After just four days of intense competition at the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, all 24 original competitors plus one alternate have officially been eliminated from consideration for $64,000 in cash for the Fischer Memorial Prize.
The prize was to have been awarded to any player who could 'run the table,' scoring a 9-0 sweep in the nine rounds of competition for the title of U.S. Chess Champion. The prize was in remembrance of the late American world champion Bobby Fischer, who scored an 11-0 victory in the 1963-64 U.S. Championship, the only perfect score in the event's 164-year history.
"It was exciting to have the extra incentive of the $64,000 Fischer Memorial Prize for our competitors to pursue," said Rex Sinquefield, founder and member of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, host of this year's U.S. Chess Championship. "Despite the excellence of many of the nation's best players in this year's event, the failure of any of them to more win each of their matches in just the first four rounds underscores once again the brilliance of Fischer's ability. If the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosts this Championship again next year, we will most likely create a prize that is more attainable."
The tournament will still award more than $137,000 in prize money to the participants, from first-place winnings of $35,000 to $2,000 for the last-place contestant. After Women's Champion and Olympic medalist Anna Zatonskih was forced to withdraw because of an unexpected illness, alternate Doug Eckert was added to the field, bringing the total number of players officially to 25.
The championship is a 9-round event, using the Swiss system with one round per day from Friday, May 8 through Sunday, May 17, with a rest day on Friday, May 15. Guest commentary is being provided by Women's Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade and Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky. Additionally, updates on the tournament are provided at the web site for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, "http://www.saintlouischessclub.org" www.saintlouischessclub.org.
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization that opened in July 2008. Founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield, it
already has more than 500 members, surpassing its original goal of 300 for its first year of operation by 67 percent. The club, which Steve Goldberg of United States Chess Federation (USCF) Online calls "certainly one of the most impressive chess centers" in the country, offers free classes for beginners, discounted tournament entry fees and discounted merchandise for club members. For more information, please visit "http://www.saintlouischessclub.org" www.saintlouischessclub.org or call 314-361-CHESS.
The United States Chess Federation is the official, not-for-profit U.S. membership organization for chess players and chess supporters of all ages and strengths, from beginners to grand masters. Founded in 1939 with the merger of the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation, USCF has grown to more than 80,000 members and nearly 1,200 affiliated chess clubs and organizations. USCF sanctions 25 national championship award titles to both amateurs and professionals, ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens. For more information, visit "http://www.uschess.org" www.uschess.org. ...