ST. LOUIS, April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- All eyes of the chess world were on Saint Louis in the final rounds of the 2017 U.S. Chess and U.S. Women's Championship, as the competition proved to be one of the most dramatic in recent history. Grandmaster Wesley So and Women's Grandmaster Sabina Foisor came out on top, taking home the titles of U.S. Chess and U.S. Women's Champions, respectively. The nation's most elite chess tournament was held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) March 28 - April 10, 2017.
"The U.S. Championship gets stronger each year," said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. "The fighting spirit all competitors demonstrated is a testament to the bright future for American chess."
Continuing his unbeaten streak, GM Wesley So, 23, took his first U.S. Champion title and the $50,000 grand prize in a playoff round against GM Alexander Onischuk April 10. As the No. 2-rated player in the world, highest rated player in the U.S. and 2016 Grand Chess Tour Champion - even winning the Saint Louis leg of the tour, the Sinquefield Cup - GM So was presumably the favorite to win the tournament, and yet again make his mark as the hottest rising player on the global chess circuit. GM Onischuk received the second-place $35,000 prize fund.
"This was my third try for the U.S. Chess Championship, and I really wanted to win this title because it means a lot obviously - it's one of, if not the strongest national chess championships in the world," said GM So. "With my top-end colleagues Hikaru and Fabiano, it's a real challenge. I'm glad to have finally won it."
On the Women's side, WGM Sabina Foisor, 27, also took her first title at the U.S. Women's Championship - taking down tough competitors, like six-time U.S. Women's Champion WGM Irina Krush and reigning U.S. Women's Champion IM Nazi Paikidze to do so. The surprise contender - placing fifth in last year's tournament - received the $25,000 grand prize, followed by IM Paikidze, who received the second-place $18,000 prize.
"I didn't think that this would happen - there was a lot of pressure, but I really wanted to make this a good year," said WGM Foisor. "I had the support of a lot of important people in my life for this tournament, and that was really something that I thought about in the moment I won."
The champions were awarded their victory title and prize at the tournament Closing Ceremony April 10.
The U.S. Chess and U.S. Women's Championship are part of the "Triple Crown" of chess championships held in the United States each year. The third event is the 2017 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, a tournament for players under the age of 21, which will take place at the CCSCSL July 7-18, 2017.
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.
About the World Chess Hall of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York and Miami. The World Chess Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue, housed in an historic 15,900 square foot residence turned business, and features the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The World Chess Hall of Fame partners with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences.
For more information, please visit the World Chess Hall of Fame online at www.worldchesshof.org.
SOURCE Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL)