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Favorites draw at Women’s Champ, Harper tops Junior leaderboard

[imagefield_assist|fid=5861|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By Mike Wilmering and Katie Baldetti

The streak has been broken.

After 30 straight decisive games at the U.S. Women’s Championship, a run that began during round six of the 2009 U.S. Women’s Championship, the two early favorites agreed to a draw after an enthralling battle.

An aggressive yet calculated gamble by IM Irina Krush was countered by IM Anna Zatonskih’s solid defense, and the rivalry that has been stewing for years will be placed on the back burner pending a possible playoff to decide the championship.

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Stage set for epic showdown at U.S. Women's Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=5853|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By Mike Wilmering and Katie Baldetti

Victories by IM Irina Krush and IM Anna Zatonskih in round two of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Championship have set the stage for an epic round-three showdown. 

In 2007 Krush unseated Zatonskih, the 2006 champion, to claim her second U.S. Women’s Championship title. The following year, a heated Armageddon match allowed Zatonskih to reclaim the title and set the stage for a marquis match-up in St. Louis at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Championship. A slow start by Krush, however, and an unparalleled performance by Zatonskih allowed for a runaway victory and gave Zatonskih her third title.

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Women's and Junior Closed Champs feature fighting chess

[imagefield_assist|fid=5772|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By Mike Wilmering and Katie Baldetti

Fighting chess continues to be the theme for the U.S. Women’s Championship.

After 20 straight decisive games closed out the 2009 U.S. Women’s Championship, this year’s event followed suit as all five games produced a clear winner.

The first decisive game of the tournament featured WFM Abby Marshall, the first-ever female winner of the Denker Invitational Tournament of High School Champions, against 2009 U.S. Women’s Championship competitor WIM Alisa Melekhina. Marshall, who opened with a King’s Gambit, said she felt like she got a good position out of the opening.

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2010 Women's and Junior Champs Opening and Pairings

[imagefield_assist|fid=5629|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By Katie Baldetti and Mike Wilmering

The Opening Ceremony for the 2010 U.S. Women’s and Junior Closed Championships is complete, and the pairings have been determined:

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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.

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Karlow takes the June Knights tourney with 4.5/5

[imagefield_assist|fid=5613|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]Expert Nick Karlow won the June Knights with an undefeated performance. After taking a half-point bye in round two, Karlow put himself in a hole, one half point behind the leaders. After pulling off a much needed round three victory against thee-time Knights Champion Paul Goddard, Nick had a crucial round four match-up vs. CCSCSL chess instructor Alex Marler.

Alex had been perfect up until that point in the tournament, and a Karlow loss would put him out of prize contention. Alex got in time pressure, however, and missed an attack that ultimately cost him the game.

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We are the (Super Team) Champions!

[imagefield_assist|fid=5549|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]The 2010 Super Team Championship was well-attended this year, with 17 teams vying for a nice prize and team glory. My team was made of my son Spencer, CCSCSL employee and tournament director Ray “Ray Ray” Kurczynski, and yours truly. We were ranked 2nd behind the team comprised of Doug Eckert, Bob Holliman, and Nick Karlow.

The first round went as expected, with the higher ranked teams winning easily. Round 2 was a bit tougher, as some top teams were nicked for draws, including the top-ranked team, and our team, the 2010 Super Team Champions. No, I am not getting ahead of myself, that was the name of our team!

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New and Improved Lecture Videos with GM Finegold

[imagefield_assist|fid=5571|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]GM Ben Finegold presents Ben 2.0, the new and improved lecture videos from Ben Finegold. The Chess Club has partnered with Caesar Creative to produce higher quality videos for our members and visitors. We hope you enjoy the content, and as always, we are open to your feedback and suggestions.

We will be releasing a new video each week that Ben gives a lecture, and they will be appearing with more regularity. This week, Ben lectures on his games form the 2010 Las Vegas Chess Festival. We will have another lecture video appearing in a few days, so stay tuned!

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Fields set for 2010 U.S. Women's and Junior Closed Champs

[imagefield_assist|fid=5567|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]SAINT LOUIS, June 24, 2010 -- Saint Louis completes the Triple Crown of chess championships next month when it plays host to the prestigious 2010 U.S. Women's Championship and the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, July 9-20.

Right on the heels of the 2010 U.S. Championship, which took place in Saint Louis last month, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has organized yet another unique U.S. Championship tournament experience as it will host these two prominent events simultaneously.

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Ray-K saves the day


[imagefield_assist|fid=5549|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]The 2010 Super Team Championship concluded last Saturday, and a strong performance by the aptly named 2010 Super Team Champions netted them an overall team performance score of 3.5/4 and a share of first place. The 2010 Super Team Champions (Ben and Spencer Finegold and Ray Kurczynski) ended up in a tie for first with team TFD (Doug Eckert, Bob Holliman and Nick Karlow), but took overall first on tiebreaks.

Kurczynski helped his team finish at the top with a solid personal performance of 3.5/4, which helped offset Spencer Finegold's 1.5/4 performance and a surprising round-two draw by Ben Finegold against Joe Garnier.

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