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GMs Nakamura, Hess and Finegold to play in Saint Louis Open


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.

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Metro Class Championship brings out 58-player field

[imagefield_assist|fid=3471|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]Despite the festivities in Soulard, the real party was going on at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The 2nd Annual Metro Saint Louis Class Championship brought out 58 players on Mardi Gras weekend. The club once again flirted with the 60-player mark as word of the best club in the country continues to spread.

Grandmaster Ben Finegold took first place overall with a perfect score, and Todd Plageman, Tony Rich and Steve Landrum split first place in Class A with 2.5 points each.

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Winter Open a success


In case you missed it in this month's Check This! newsletter, last month's Winter Open was a resounding success. Read about all the action here, and stay tuned for more tournament updates.

After finishing 2009 with two strong tournaments, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis was geared up for 2010. The newest addition to the CCSCSL staff, Grandmaster Ben Finegold, was slated to participate in the inaugural event to kick off the 2010 tournament schedule.

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Podcast interview with IM John Donaldson at the WTC

[imagefield_assist|fid=1820|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]During round three of the World Team Championship in Bursa, Turkey, CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich got the chance to sit down with U.S. Team Captain and International Master John Watson for a candid interview about the chances of his young team, his background and the history of American chess.

The interview is available as a podcast on the front page of our Web site, but we have also transcribed the interview here for your enjoyment. 

To access the podcast directly, click the link here!

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Ben's Blog: Weight Update

[imagefield_assist|fid=1818|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]It has been a little more than 2 weeks, and so far I have lost 12 pounds.  I go to the health club everyday, and work the treadmill for one hour.  I listen to music and watch tv whilst I work out, so the time passes pretty quickly.  I have been sticking to my diet of fruits, veggies, rice, and soup, and that has been easy as well.

I have been receiving a lot of congratulatory texts and emails due to being on the cover of the recent Chess Life magazine.  Also, I am featured on the back cover of the latest issue of "New In Chess" magazine, in the column "checking in."

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Ben's Blog: Chess Life Cover

[imagefield_assist|fid=1815|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The February 2010 issue of "Chess Life" magazine features yours truly on the cover, and I wrote a 6+ page article on my career and my GM norms. Chess Life Online, also known as CLO, has put the content on the USCF Website.

In other news, the GMs from the Silver Medal Winning World Team Championship have and will come to the CCSCSL over the next couple of months. Sunday, January 31, GM Yury Shulman lectured for over 2.5 hours, and everyone enjoyed his stories and games from the WTC. 

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Ben's Blog: Working Out

[imagefield_assist|fid=1807|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]I have decided to be referred to as "Big Ben" no longer!  For the last week, I have changed my diet to: Fruits, vegetables, rice, and soup. This is not as difficult as it sounds, since I have been a vegetarian since 1986!

I also have a health membership at Sante, which is located in the basement of the beautiful Chase Hotel.  Luckily, the health club is located only one block from the chess club, so I can work out every day.  I have been pounding the treadmill for an hour each day.

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Exciting new format debuts at 2010 U.S. Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=1795|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The 2010 U.S. Championship, scheduled to be held May 13-25 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, will feature a new format, which includes a 24-player, seven-round Swiss tournament followed by a four-player Championship final. The idea is designed to ensure drama in the final three days of play and to avoid the potentially less climactic pairings that are typical in a 24-player, nine-round Swiss.

This innovative new format will ensure an exciting finale for chess fans around the world. After seven rounds of play, the top four players will ...

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Ben's Blog: Tales from the Winter Open

[imagefield_assist|fid=1794|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]My first slow-rated chess in Missouri (ever!) was more interesting than I had hoped.  Luckily, Spencer was able to keep the Finegold name in good stead, as he had a solid 3.5-0.5 score, beating three lower-rated players and drawing a higher-rated player (as well as winning $42). I, on the other hand, oscillated between playing like the Rams and the Lions, but was very fortunate to go 4-0. Perhaps I should ask Mark McGwire for some tips on enhancing my performance.

The tournament was VERY successful with 57 players in attendance. There were upsets all over the place, with experts losing to lower-rated players, in the vain attempt to make me look good by comparison.

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Winter Open results and prize payouts

[imagefield_assist|fid=1777|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]The Winter Open at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis was a huge success with 57 participants and intense fighting chess throughout. Eight players with a rating higher than 2000 filled out the Master/Expert class, and the CCSCSL's own GM Ben Finegold took first place with a perfect 4-0 score. 

Click Read more below to view the tournament standings and prize payouts, and stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of the tournament by esteemed tournament director Ray Kurczynski!

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