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The End is Near: Armageddon Looms in U.S. Championships Finale

SAINT LOUIS (May 19, 2014) -- The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as a “vast, decisive conflict or confrontation.” The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis agrees.

Armageddon will hit Saint Louis on Tuesday, as the 2014 U.S. Chess Championships spill into overtime for one final day of reckoning. Both tournaments have gone fully around-the-robin, seeing 11 rounds of play in the U.S. Championship and 9 rounds of play in the U.S. Women’s Championship - but America’s top chess talent refuses to stop fighting.

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 Alex Lenderman drew Varuzhan Akobian in the final round of regulation at the U.S Championship. The two will play an Armageddon game to determine who faces reigning champ Gata Kamsky for the title. Image Credit: Lennart Ootes

Six in Title Contention in Final Round of U.S. Championships

SAINT LOUIS (May 19, 2014) -- Three has become a crowd.

Monday brings the final round for the 2014 U.S. Chess Championships and, in both races, three players are crowding the finish line. In the U.S. Championship, leaders Varuzhan Akobian and Aleksandr Lenderman (6.5/10) were able to break away from the pack over the weekend, but could not shake each other after both drawing their respective games on Sunday.

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GM Varuzhan Akobian

Logjam Atop Leaderboards at U.S. Championships

SAINT LOUIS (May 18, 2014) -- Irina Krush has decided to play this one out.

Only one round remains in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship, though for a moment, it wasn’t entirely clear the extra day would be needed. The five-time reigning champion Krush skidded into the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on Saturday afternoon, having just suffered three straight draws and falling a full point behind the leader’s pace.

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Irina Krush Image

Akobian, Zatonskih in Front; Reigning Champs Trail on Rest Day

Anna Zatonskih jumped into clear first place with a win over Camilla Baginskaite in round 6. Image Credit Sarah Carmody.

By Brian Jerauld

SAINT LOUIS (May 15, 2014) -- The show, for the moment, has been stolen.

After the bloodiest day yet - eight fought-out decisions across 11 games and another nail-biting escape with a draw by reigning women’s champion Irina Krush - both U.S. Championship races have new frontrunners as the tournaments turn down the home stretch.

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Krush Slips, Lenderman Falls; U.S. Championships Knotted on Top

GM Varuzhan Akobian jumped into a tie for first place after his round 6 win at the U.S. Championship. Image Credit: Lennart Ootes.

By Brian Jerauld

SAINT LOUIS (May 14, 2014) -- Now the fists are flying - though nobody is coming out of the pile.

Despite a slow, draw-filled start, the U.S. Championship heated up as it passed its halfway point, with Tuesday’s sixth round featuring another day of bloodshed to shake up the standings. Aleksandr Lenderman, who had raced out to an early lead with three wins through the first four rounds, has now been slowed to a crawl with just a half point over the last two. Sam Shankland issued the frontrunner his first loss of the tournament on Tuesday, while Varuzhan Akobian (4/6) turned in his second quality win in a row to catch pace with Lenderman on top.

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Irina Krushing; New Winners Shuffle Standings in U.S. Champ Race

GM Irina Krush is in clear first at the U.S. Women's Championship, leading by a half point through four rounds. Image Credit: Lennart Ootes

By Brian Jerauld

SAINT LOUIS (May 13, 2014) -- While the U.S. chess king questioned who might bear his crown next, America’s queen began resizing hers.

Four-time champion Gata Kamsky walked through another uneventful draw on Monday afternoon - his fourth split in five rounds - while Varuzhan Akobian, Alejandro Ramirez and Daniel Naroditsky each gained traction in the standings by notching their first wins of the tournament. Afterward, nodding to the competitive 2014 field and expressing frustration with his current inability to win, Kamsky admitted: “Probably you’re going to see a new U.S. champion this year.”

In the U.S. Women’s competition, however, reigning champion Irina Krush reminded us: Probably not.

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Kamsky Wins, Lenderman Still Leads at U.S. Championship

The reigning U.S. Champion, GM Gata Kamsky, scored his first victory in round 4. Image Credit Lennart Ootes.

By Brian Jerauld

Did someone just wake a sleeping bear?

Four-time U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky, seemingly idle with three ho-hum draws through the first three rounds, suddenly sprang to life on Sunday afternoon and made his mother proud. The reigning king rang the bell in the fourth round, waking up a 2014 U.S. Championship that had seen just four decisions across 18 games. Kamsky’s solid win with white over Sergey Erenberg set a rousing theme to Sunday, with four of the day’s six fighting games finishing with full points.

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Lenderman Leads U.S. Champs; Krush, Zatonskih Tied Atop U.S. Women's

GM Aleksandr Lenderman finds himself atop the leaderboard after three rounds at the U.S. Championship. Image Credit: Lennart Ootes.

By Brian Jerauld

SAINT LOUIS (May 11, 2014) -- Full-point victories: A dime a dozen for the ladies; but hard to come by for the men.

After ten draws and only two wins since the tournament’s start, the U.S. Championship saw just two more wins in Saturday’s third round. Aleksandr Lenderman’s second victory of the competition set him alone out front with 2.5/3, and Timur Gareev trails with 2/3 after adding a win over Daniel Naroditsky to a pair of draws.

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Fischer Prize Extended to U.S. Women's; Krush, Foisor Remain Perfect

Irina Krush and Sabina Foisor each remained perfect after two rounds of play to lead the field. Image Credits: Lennart Ootes.

By Brian Jerauld 

SAINT LOUIS (May 9, 2014) -- In the 1964 U.S. Chess Championship, a 20-year-old Bobby Fischer rolled over the nation in jaw-dropping fashion, showcasing his dominance over the field with a perfect 11-0 score. In 2014, that monumental record celebrates its 50th anniversary having never been repeated - though not without a lack of effort by Rex Sinquefield.

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