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On Chess: 2020 U.S. Championships To Take Place Online Oct. 8-29

2019 U.S Champion Hikaru Nakamura
Justin Kellar
St. Louis Chess Club
2019 U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura

In a historic first, the 2020 U.S. Chess Championships will be held online this year, comprising an exciting series of five national title events, including the U.S. Championship, the U.S. Women’s Championship, the U.S. Junior Championship, the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, and the U.S. Senior Championship.

Starting Oct. 8, 47 of America’s best chess players will compete for more than $330,900 in total prizes. The tournaments will be much faster than usual, featuring a rapid round-robin (all play-all) format, with each player getting 25 minutes for the game, along with an additional 5-second increment added after every move.

While these events are typically held throughout the calendar year, the quick online format will allow them to take place back-to-back, showcasing the “past, present and future of American chess.”

Headlining the field will be the five defending champions from last year: Hikaru Nakamura (2019 U.S. Champion), Jennifer Yu (2019 U.S. Women’s Champion), Awonder Liang (2019 U.S. Junior Champion), Carissa Yip (2019 U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion) and Alexander Shabalov (2019 U.S. Senior Champion).

EventTournament DatesPrize Fund
2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior ChampionshipOct. 9-11$10,300
2020 U.S. Junior ChampionshipOct. 13-15$20,600
2020 U.S. Senior ChampionshipOct. 17-19$50,000
2020 U.S. Women’s ChampionshipOct. 21-24$100,000
2020 U.S. ChampionshipOct. 26-29$150,000

Also vying for the title of U.S. champion will be the 2017 winner and top seed of the event, Wesley So; 2018 winner Sam Shankland; as well as Leinier Dominguez and Jeffery Xiong, who will also be the top seed in the U.S. Junior.

One notable absence from the event is World No. 2 grandmaster Fabiano Caruana, the highest-rated player in the United States, who will instead be taking part in the 2020 FIDE Candidates tournament, postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chess fans looking to follow the event live should tune in daily to USChessChamps.com, as well as to the St. Louis Chess Club’s channels on YouTube and Twitch, where live coverage of all the games will be provided by GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Alejandro Ramirez and GM Maurice Ashley.

The action kicks off with the virtual Opening Ceremony at 6 p.m. CDT Oct. 8, live at USChessChamps.com.

It’s an exciting time for American chess. Over the next three weeks, five new champions will be crowned!

Kostya Kavutskiy is a chess player, coach, writer and streamer. He currently lives in Mountain View, Calif.