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Highest-rated U.S. Chess Championship is starting in St. Louis; here are the basics

 Tables await players upstairs at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio
Tables await players upstairs at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Today the highest-rated U.S. Chess Championship opens here in St. Louis.  The event is held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis until the closing ceremony on April 13. 

Facts to know:

1.    Prize Money - $175,000 for U.S. Chess Championship, $75,000 for U.S. Women’s Championship

2.    Highest Ranked U.S. Chess Championship tournament ever.

3.    No. of Games – 11 (plus one playoff game if necessary).

4.    Start time – all games begin at 1 p.m..

5.    All games will be live-streamed online.

6.    It’s the 7th US Chess Championship held in St. Louis.

Notable Players:

U.S. Chess Championships –

Hakaru Nakamura – 27 years old. Rated top in the United States. Rated No. 3 in the world. One of the top Blitz chess champions. Youngest American to earn Grandmaster status.

Wesley So – 21 years old.  Enrolled in Webster University’s SPICE Program in 2012.  Now lives in Minnesota.  Known for aggressive style.

Gata Kamsky – 40 years old.  Current U.S. Champion.  Rated No. 2 in the United States. Rated No. 14 in the world. Graduated from Touro Law Center on Long Island, N.Y.

Women’s U.S. Chess Championships –

Irina Krush – 31 years old. Only female International Grandmaster to compete.  Has won U.S. Women’s Chess Championship 6 times. 

Annie Wang – 12 years old.  Youngest female chess master in the United States (a title previously held by Krush).

Tatev Abrahamyan – 27 years old.  Women’s Grandmaster. Third highest ranked female chess player in the United States. 

The championship marks two new additions to the Chess Club: a diner and a new media center.

The Chess Club recently created Kingside Dinerin a space formerly home to Lester’s. The restaurant will be open through the event although its grand opening is expected later in the month. 

The new media center will be home to commentary, recaps, and will broadcast the games live online.