2017 US Championship starts!

by Albert Silver
3/29/2017 – The 2017 U.S. Championship and 2017 U.S. Women's Championship are about to start and each will be 12-player Round Robin tournaments. At the top of the American chess Olympus will be stars such as defending champion Fabiano Caruana and Nazi Paikidze, as well as Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Irina Krush, and Anna Zatonskih to name a few. Here is all the info and a pictorial with photos by Lennart Ootes.

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All photos by Lennart Ootes

The general structure of the competitions is the same for both the US Championship (it won’t be called the Open since there is an event called the US Open Championship) and the US Women’s Championship. Each event will be played over 11 rounds, from March 29 (round one) to April 10 (April 9 if no playoff is needed) at the rate of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an additional 30 seconds increment per move starting from move one. In the event of a tie for first place at the end of the competition, a playoff will be held, using a combination of rapid, blitz and Armageddon games. The exact time controls for these, in their eventuality, have not been released.

The schedule

Date Time
Monday, March 27  
Player Arrival
Tuesday, March 28 7:30 PM
Opening Ceremony
Wednesday, March 29 2:00 PM
Round 1
Thursday, March 30 2:00 PM
Round 2
Friday, March 31 2:00 PM
Round 3
Saturday, April 1 2:00 PM
Round 4
Sunday, April 2 2:00 PM
Round 5
Monday, April 3  
Rest Day
Tuesday, April 4 2:00 PM
Round 6
Wednesday, April 5 2:00 PM
Round 7
Thursday, April 6 2:00 PM
Round 8
Friday, April 7 2:00 PM
Round 9
Saturday, April 8 2:00 PM
Round 10
Sunday, April 9 2:00 PM
Round 11
Monday, April 10 2:00 PM
Playoff (if necessary)
  7:30 PM
Closing Ceremony

* All times listed are EST (GMT-4)

Players in US Championship

No. Ti. Name Rtg
2 GM So Wesley 2822
12 GM Caruana Fabiano 2817
7 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2793
8 GM Xiong Jeffery 2674
6 GM Robson Ray 2668
3 GM Onischuk Alexander 2667
1 GM Shankland Samuel L 2666
9 GM Kamsky Gata 2659
10 GM Naroditsky Daniel 2646
5 GM Akobian Varuzhan 2645
4 GM Zherebukh Yaroslav 2605
11 GM Shabalov Alexander 2556

Fabiano Caruana is the reigning US Champion, having won it last year a full point ahead of a similarly elite field.

Compared to last year's line-up, aside from a couple of names swapped in and out, two changes do stand out: Wesley So, and Jeffery Xiong. Last year, Wesley So had stood at 2773 FIDE, in the world's Top 10, but now he is a staggering 49 Elo more at 2822 and World no. 2. Jeffery Xiong was also in the field last year, rated 2618 and playing his first US Championship. He was delighted to score 50% in such a tough field, rightly so. However, this year he comes as the 4th seed at 2674, only rate less than the Big Three. So was already an obvious contender last year, but in view of his great run these past months, the question will be whether he can extend it to include the US Championship this year. As to Xiong, he is still only 16, but on the rise, and the question is how he will fare this year.

US Championship Prize Fund

1st $50,000 7th $9,000
2nd $35,000 8th $8,000
3rd $25,000 9th $7,000
4th $20,000 10th $6,000
5th $15,000 11th $5,000
6th $10,000 12th $4,000
Total Prize Fund $194,000

In addition, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will sponsor the “$64,000 Fischer Bonus Prize”. Any player that finishes the U.S. Championships field with a perfect 11-0 score shall be awarded an additional $64,000. This special prize is valid for both championships.

Also, note that both the 2017 US Championship and the 2017 US Women's Championship are the FIDE zonal championships for the United States.

Players in US Women's Championship

No. Ti. Name Rtg
8 IM Zatonskih Anna 2451
11 GM Krush Irina 2444
7 IM Paikidze Nazi 2369
4 WGM Abrahamyan Tatev 2364
12 WGM Nemcova Katerina 2359
3 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2272
9 WFM Virkud Apurva 2262
1 WGM Sharevich Anna 2257
10 WFM Yip Carissa 2234
5 WIM Yu Jennifer R 2196
6 WIM Nguyen Emily 2173
2 WCM Feng Maggie 2162

IM Nazi Paikidze will be present to defend her title this year

Although the extremely fit Nazi Paikidze (it is rumored she works out twice a day) is a top candidate, she still faces the tough competition from both GM Irina Krush, who has won the US Women's Championship seven times, and Anna Zatonskih, who has four titles. Paikidze proved she could do it, by outlasting them last year, and will be eager to show she can do it again.

US Women's Championship Prize Fund

Place Prize Place Prize
1st $25,000 7th $5,000
2nd $18,000 8th $4,000
3rd $13,000 9th $3,500
4th $10,000 10th $3,000
5th $8,000 11th $2,500
6th $6,000 12th $2,000
Total Prize Fund $100,000

Opening ceremony

First rule: grab the grub

The opening cocktail saw players and guests enjoying the drinks and chess all around. ChessBase editor, Alejandro Ramirez, who wil be providing live commentary at the event, was playing some blitz with...

... his friend and colleague GM Ioan-Cristian Chirila from Romania.

Fabiano Caruana enjoys some blitz as well

Nazi Paikidze admires Jennifer Shahade's newborn

So cute!

Irina Krush was in good spirits

A standout leather choker!

"You look taller in real life"

The time came for the presentations

Patron Rex Sinquefield

Jeanne Sinquefield is a driving force

Yasser Seirawan will also be providing live video commentary

Nazi Paikidze at the drawing of lots

Faby's turn

2017 US Championship live!


Feel free to navigate through the games, use the embedded engine to analyze, and of course analyze any move directly on the board. Webmasters of any site can embed this by using the simple code here.

2017 US Women's Championship live!


Feel free to navigate through the games, use the embedded engine to analyze, and of course analyze any move directly on the board. Webmasters of any site can embed this by using the simple code here.


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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