ST. LOUIS, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- In the closing ceremonies last night, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) crowned International Master Irina Krush, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y. the 2010 U.S. Women's Chess Champion, her third U.S. Women's Championship title and first since 2007. After a three-way tie-break match, International Master Samuel Shankland, 18, of Berkley, Calif. was crowned the 2010 U.S. Closed Junior Chess Champion.
The two prestigious tournaments completed the "Triple Crown" of chess championships this year, following the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship in May.
"The players in both the women's and junior's tournaments demonstrated extraordinary talent and dramatic play throughout the championships," said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. "We're honored to host the nation's three most prestigious chess tournaments at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, and hope the tournaments encourage those of all ages in St. Louis and around the country to play chess."
Krush beat out nine of the top-ranked women chess players in the United States to win the title and grand prize of $16,000. 2009 Women's Champion International Master Anna Zahtonskih, 32, of Long Island, N.Y., and Woman FIDE Master Tatev Abrahamyan, 22, of Glendale, Calif., tied for second place in the tournament. They each receive $10,500 for second place. The women's tournament's total winnings for first through last place total $65,000.
The rivalry of Krush and Zahtonskih came to a head early in the tournament with an unexpected draw after dramatic play on both sides. Heading into the tournament's final round of play, Krush and Zahtonskih were tied for the lead. After Zatonskih drew in the final round, Krush defeated Woman FIDE Master Abby Marshall to clinch the Championship's title.
Shankland beat out nine of the top-ranked chess players under the age of 21 in the United States to win the Junior's title. 2009 Junior Champion Grandmaster Ray Robson and National Master Parker Zhao tied for second place. Due to the tie-break, each of the three top players will split the prize money for first through third place, each receiving $2,167. The Junior tournament's winnings total $10,300. Each of the players will also receive a laptop computer, courtesy of tournament sponsor Hewlett Packard.
After a remarkable turnaround in the early rounds, Shankland managed to score six points in his final seven games to qualify for the three-way tie-breaker playoff, known as an Armageddon match. After defeating Zhao in the first tie-breaker round, Shankland defeated Robson, the tournament's only grandmaster, to claim the title.
About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.
Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.
SOURCE The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis