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Round 8 Photos

Congratulations to the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Champion Anna Zatonskih! Zatonskih proved too much for her Round 8 opponent, Sabina Foisor, and clinched  a repeat performance with a hard-fought victory.

[view:float_left_thumb==1172]Irina Krush continued her late push with a win over Camilla Baginskaite to pull into a tie for second place. If Baginskaite and Krush each post the same result as one another tomorrow, we'll see a tie-break playoff to decide second place. Alisa Melekhina has an outside chance at a three-way tie for second if she posts a win and both Krush and Baginskaite lose.

Don't miss all the exciting action of the final round of the 2009 U.S. Women's Championship!

Photo By: Betsy Dynako

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Zatonskih Clinches 2nd Consecutive U.S. Women's Chess Championship Title

[view:float_right_thumb==1166]ST. LOUIS, Oct. 12, 2009 -- Anna Zatonskih clinched her second consecutive U.S. Women's Chess championship by defeating Sabina Foisor in round eight of the 2009 event at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

With one round remaining, she has acquired a near-perfect 7.5 out of 8 points and will win the record $15,000 first prize. No other woman has more than 5.5 points so Tuesday's final round will be for posterity, not place.

Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., said she will still try hard. "It doesn't feel right to win the championship and lose the last round," she said.

Zatonskih also earned an automatic qualification to the 2010 U.S. Women's Chess Championship. She said she was nervous today for the first time all tournament, knowing that single bad move and "I could easily spoil everything."

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Round 7 Photos

[view:float_left_thumb==1143] Round 7 brought us more exciting action as tournament favorite Anna Zatonskih moved one step closer to a repeat. Check out some images from today's action, and read all about the battle for first place here!

Check out Round 8 pairings here.

Photo By: Betsy Dynako

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Top Seed Edges Closer To Title At U.S. Women's Chess Championship


ST. LOUIS, Oct. 11, 2009 -- Top-seeded Anna Zatonskih moved one step closer to winning the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship by defeating third-seeded Rusudan Goletiani, of Hartsdale, N.Y., in round seven. The nine-round tournament is being held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., remains one point ahead of her nearest rival, Camilla Baginskaite of Sioux Falls, S.D., who kept pace by winning her game.
Zatonskih is trying to win the tournament by leading wire to wire. She has six wins and one draw and if she is able to win her final two games she will equal the lofty winning score of 8.5 out of 9, turned in by Irina Krush in 1998. Zatonskih has already beaten Krush, her closest rival, in round three. "I was expecting seven (wins) out of seven (games)!" Zatonskih joked after the game.

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Sci-Fest Photos


Almost 80 students joined seven of the 10 competitors and Evelyn Moncayo, a WIM from Ecuador, for a massive simul at the Saint Louis Science Center. The event, Queens' Chess Express, was just one of many events going on during Sci-Fest at the Saint Louis Science Center. Camilla Baginskaite and Battsetseg Tsagaan stayed behind at the CCSCSL to put on a simul with the chess club from Sperreng Middle School, and Alisa Melekhina could not attend Sci-Fest due to a test in Cognitive Psychology test she had scheduled through her university.

The event was informative and entertaining for tournament competitors, students and teachers alike. Check out the photos from this fun-filled community event!

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Student Simul at the CCSCSL Photos


Twelve lucky students from the Sperreng Middle School Chess Club (a feeder school for Lindbergh High School) got the opportunity to compete against tournament competitors WIM Battsetseg Tsagaan and WGM Camilla Baginskaite.

Read the article about the event here!

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Chess For Life Event Photos


The Chess for Life kick-off event featured the unveiling of five chess tables donated to the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The program is designed to brighten the lives of cancer patients and their families by providing them intellectiual stimulation and a welcome distraction from the effects of their treatment. To read more about the program and kick-off event, click here! 

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Round 6 Photos


Round 6 brought us a hard-fought battle between defending champion Anna Zatonskih and tournament surprise Alisa Melekhina. In the end, Zatonskih's experience overwhelmed Melekhina in the longest game of the match.

Camilla Baginskaite remained within striking distance of Zatonskih as she defeated Iryna Zenyuk. Baginskaite is going to have to rely on an upset if she has any chance of catching Zatonskih. Read the recap for Round 6 here!

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Zatonskih Stays On Top At U.S. Women's Chess Championship With Key Win Over Close Rival


ST. LOUIS, Oct. 10, 2009 -- Anna Zatonskih dispatched one of her two closest rivals in round six of the U.S. Women's Chess Championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. In the longest match of the day, Zatonskih, of Long Island, N.Y., used an impending pawn storm and slowly overwhelmed Melekhina's defenses.

Melekhina, of Philadelphia, Pa., was tied for second with Camilla Baginskaite going into the round, but she is still overperforming for someone of her rating. She was ranked ninth going into the tournament and at 18 is the youngest player. "Even in a very bad position, (Melekhina) came up with some very interesting ideas," Zatonskih said.
The entire field of 10 women all came perilously close to overstepping the time limit. Forced to make their first 40 moves in two hours, many women were reduced to fewer than 30 seconds before crossing the threshold. In the end, all five games were decisive for the first time in the tournament.

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'Chess For Life' Program Kicks-Off At Siteman Cancer Center


St Louis, MO, Oct. 9, 2009 -- Chess for Life, the partnership program founded by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, kicked-off at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The program's mission is to bring chess into Siteman for patients and their families.

"Chess for Life is special for us. Playing chess can help bring an escape and enjoyment in a time of tremendous stress," said Chess Club Executive Director Tony Rich to the crowd, which included competitors in the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship.

Chess for Life provides chess tables, boards and pieces, along with volunteers who will play and offer instruction. In addition, Siteman patients will be able to access a website allowing them to play with other people or a computer.

"Our goal is to grow our Chess for Life outreach program throughout the U.S., and we are honored to have the program launch here at the Siteman Center," said Rich.
Chess for Life was inspired by Jim Corbett, a Siteman patient who was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. During his treatment, Corbett's mood was lifted when he began playing chess. The Chess Club established Chess for Life as a tribute to Corbett who died last December.

For more information on how to volunteer for Chess for Life call the Siteman volunteer office at 314-747-7222 or the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis at 800-600-3606 or visit

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