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U.S. Championships Special Preview

[imagefield_assist|fid=5622|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The 2010 U.S. Women’s and U.S. Junior Closed Championships start this weekend! I look forward to my live game analysis here at the CCSCSL with WGM Jennifer Shahade!

Many of the participants from these two powerhouse events decided to try their luck at the 2010 World Open, ending Monday, July 5, in suburban Philadelphia. Each year, The World Open is the strongest Open tournament in the United States. The event draws more than 1,000 participants in several sections. Let’s take a look at some of the scores, and see who is likely to be brimming with confidence come Saturday.


Ray Robson, this year's favorite, scored 5.5-3.5. A so-so event, and surely Ray hoped to score better. But, with over 35 GMs playing, many GMs fared much worse. A score of 7-2 is needed to win good money, but the experience of playing so many strong players is necessary for our top junior players.

Conrad Holt had a fantastic tournament, scoring 4.5-4.5 and earned an IM norm! Conrad was on fire the first half of the event, beating GMs Kazhgaleyev and Najer, and IM Bryan Smith. Conrad was going for a GM norm, but only scored a half point the last four rounds, but, an amazing performance considering he was paired up all nine rounds!

Sam Shankland, the 2nd highest rated participant in the Junior after Robson, scored 3.5-2.5. Sam obviously was not happy with his performance, and was clearly looking for his elusive final GM norm. Most of the pundits think Sam is Robson's main competition for the Championship.

Steven Zierk is well-known on the West Coast, and has been quickly improving. He scored 2-3 with no draws, and must have decided a norm was no longer possible. Steven won a brilliant game from GM Van Wely last year in Reno, and is a player to watch.



Alisa Melekhina had a fantastic tournament, scoring 7-2 and winning $$$$. Alisa needed to win her last round to tie for first, but by drawing, she tied for 3rd and gained over 40 rating points! Many of my readers may remember my loss against Alisa in the Saint Louis Open a few months back!

Iryna Zenyuk also had a fantastic event, also scoring 7-2 and, like Alisa, may have hoped to do even better, as she drew her last two games. Both Iryna and Alisa will be looking to keep their good form and challenge for the title!

Tyler Hughes scored 6-3, and missed prize money by only half a point. Tyler played in the 2009 U.S. Championship and fared quite well, beating some seasoned GMs.

Round one for both events (Junior and Women's) is Saturday, July 10 at 2 p.m. here at the CCSCSL. This weekend will be a special treat, as GM Hikaru Nakamura will be a guest commentator.

See you there!