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IM Anna Zatonskih Wins 2023 Cairns Cup Hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club, Takes Home $45,000 Top Prize


SAINT LOUIS, June 20, 2023 - With one round to spare, International Master (IM) Anna Zatonskih defied the odds to win the 2023 Cairns Cup. The four-time U.S. Women’s Champion called the win her best achievement of her chess career as she took the grand prize of $45,000, despite starting as the lowest-rated player in the field. Zatonskih also earned her first norm toward the Grandmaster (GM) title.


“This is the best achievement in my chess career, I can’t believe it,” shared Zatonskih. “Thank you to everyone for supporting me, including my role models. You helped me prove age is just a number.”


GM Alexandra Kosteniuk had an important win on the final day, securing the runners-up slot in the tournament. GM Bella Khotenashvili and GM Irina Krush tied for third place.


“Electric is the best way to describe this year’s Cairns Cup. It was wonderful to welcome such an impressive group of players back to Saint Louis for this year’s tournament,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club.”


Established in 2019, the Cairns Cup was established by the Saint Louis Chess Club to provide a competitive tournament for elite female players. Aptly named in honor of Saint Louis Chess Club co-founder Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield’s maiden name, the 2023 Cairns Cup featured a ten player field of top women from across the world who competed for a purse of $180,000 during the round robin style tournament held at the World Chess Hall of Fame from June 3-12, 2023.


“It was an honor to host another incredible group of elite chess players during the Cairns Cup,” said Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield, co-founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club. "We are on a mission to bring more girls and women into the sport of competitive chess. By hosting events like the Cairns Cup, we hope to provide a needed platform for women where they can compete against the best players in the world for significant prizes at a world class facility.”


The initial field of ten was reduced to nine before the fifth round when GM Humpy Koneru withdrew from the tournament due to medical issues. The Cairns Cup final standings include:







IM Anna Zatonskih




GM Alexandra Kosteniuk




GM Bella Khotenashvili




GM Irina Krush




GM Nana Dzagnidze




GM Harika Dronavalli




GM Elisabeth Paehtz




IM Gunay Mammadzada




GM Zhansaya Abdumalik



To rewatch all of the action from the 2023 Cairns Cup broadcast, visit the Saint Louis Chess Club YouTube playlist.



About the Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures. 


Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit