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On Chess: New resident grandmaster at the chess club revels in her introduction to play here

Vita Kryvoruchko is the resident grandmaster for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Nicole Halpin | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted the 8th Annual Metro St. Louis Tournament on Feb. 6. I was very glad to participate in the event, which was the first time I played in the Chess Club. Every section played in different rooms, which was good because it was quiet and comfortable. The Master’s section had eight strong players: two grandmasters, three international masters and myself, a woman grandmaster.

The first game I played was with an IM who ended up winning the tournament. It was an interesting game; I could have won a pawn after the opening, but I didn't see this idea at the time because my knight would have had to go backward before attacking his pieces. Instead, I wanted to attack my opponent immediately and move my pieces forward. So, I lost this game step by step, but we fought for three grueling hours. The second game featured a win for me against a man who has a rating of 2120.

The last game was very crazy. I played against IM Eric S. Rosen, a much stronger player than I am. I really like to play with higher rated players because I can study from them a lot, and they always want to win! It is the greatest feeling when you win a game against a stronger opponent.

I played this game as Black for the second time in the tournament. I have never played three games in one day so this was going to be a challenge for me! Especially considering it was 2 a.m. in my country, it was not easy to play this game. Thankfully chess gives me a lot of energy.

I sacrificed few pieces and realized my advantage in the endgame. It was a very beautiful game in the style of former World Champion Mikhail Tal, and I really enjoyed it!

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is the type of club I could only dream about as a child. The club I first studied chess in was a small room underground at our school, where during the winter it would be freezing because the windows were so thin. However, maybe these unfortunate conditions gave me motivation to be a more powerful player since I was a two-time champion for girls in Ukraine under 14 and 16. When we got to visit the chess club, it was like a big holiday, especially if some grandmaster found time to teach us. My coach would always say, "You have only one reason to miss a lesson: If you are dead!”

Chess is a hard work, but for me it is exciting to do what I enjoy each day. An added bonus was being able to share second place with a GM and IM while winning some money in the tournament just for fun. Thank you to the arbiters and Chess Club managers for such a nice event this past Saturday. I hope these tournaments will help develop the next superstars in Chess World!

Women’s Grandmaster Vita Kryvoruchko is currently the resident grandmaster for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.