SAINT LOUIS, February 15, 2010 -- The 2009 U.S. Champion, Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, has agreed to participate in the Bill Wright Saint Louis Open, scheduled to be held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, April 10-11.
2009 U.S. Championship runner-up Robert Hess and 12-time Missouri State Champion and International Master Michael Brooks have both agreed to participate in the event as well. All three competed in the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship.
The CCSCSL's Resident GM, Ben Finegold, will also participate in the event, which will make this the strongest field in the history of the Saint Louis Open.
The presence of these chess giants is sure to attract interest from other masters around the region and, perhaps, the rest of the country.
Tournament organizers have increased the guaranteed prize fund to $5,700 and altered the format by creating a reserve section for players rated under 1800. The new format is designed to help encourage exciting pairings. The prize structure is as follows:
- Overall: 1st - $1,000, 2nd - $650, 3rd - $400
- Under 2300: 1st - $500, 2nd - $250
- Under 2000: 1st - $300, 2nd - $200
- 1st - $500, 2nd - $350, 3rd - $200
- Class C: 1st - $300, 2nd - $150
- Class D: 1st - $300, 2nd - $150
- Under 1200 & Unrated: 1st - $300, 2nd - $150
In 2005, at age 16, Nakamura became the youngest U.S. Champion since Bobby Fischer. He won the championship again in 2009 and will be looking to defend his title at this year's 2010 U.S. Championship, scheduled to be held at the CCSCSL May 13-25.
Hess, ranked 17 out of 24 at the start of the tournament, made a cinderella run at the 2009 U.S. Championship, but fell just short. He received his third GM norm at the event.
Finegold took on a full-time position at the CCSCSL in January.
The Bill Wright Saint Louis Open will feature a five-round, G/120, Swiss-paired format and will take place over two days with three rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday.
The winner of the tournament also wins a bid to the Missouri Invitational Tournament, scheduled to be held at the CCSCSL August 14-15, and the top two finishers will receive an invitation to the CCSCSL's 2011 Club Championship.
Tournaments at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis are seeing steady gains in attendance and prize money. This year's 2nd Annual Metro Saint Louis Class Championship, held on February 13, brought out 58 participants, and the Thanksgiving Open, scheduled in November, features a prize fund of $10,000.
Pre-register online for the tournament by clicking the link here!