Women take centre stage at Cairns Cup

2/4/2019 – Ten of the world's top female chess players will soon compete in a new event at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis: The "Cairns Cup" from February 6th to 16th. The tournament is similar to the Sinquefield Cup, but for women. The top six, including World Champion Ju Wenjun, are not attending, however. All the info, and how to watch...

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Alexandra Kosteniuk is top seed

Some of the best female chess players in the world meet at the Saint Louis Chess Club to play in the newly created "Cairns Cup" beginning on Wednesday, February 6th. The tournament format is a classical round-robin with ten players. Nine rounds will be played, one each day through February 15th (except the rest day on the 11th) with a possible playoff on Saturday, February 16th.

The Saint Louis Chess Club wants to promote the spread of chess among women and girls with this tournament, which was dubbed the Cairns Cup in honour of the co-founder of the club, Dr Jeanne Sinquefield (née Cairns).

"We are really excited to introduce this new international chess tournament for women," said Dr Sinquefield. "We hope this will inspire more women to play chess on a competitive level. We look forward to hosting this tournament for years to come and for it to become one of the premier chess tournaments in the world."

The total prize fund of USD $150,000 includes $40,000 for first, $30,000 for second and $20,000 for third.

The players

Participants include players from seven different countries, including former Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, former Women's World Rapid Champion Nana Dzagnidze, four-time US Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih and seven-time US Women's Champion Irina Krush.

Even without the leading six players on the February Elo rating list (Hou Yifan, Ju Wenjun, Kateryna Lagno, Anna Muzychuk, Humpy Koneru and Mariya Muzychuk), it will be one of the strongest women's tournaments ever in this format. 

Each round will be broadcast with live video daily at 13:00 local time (19:00 UTC, 20:00 CET) and the commentary team of WGM Jennifer Shahade, GM Yasser Seirawan, and GM Maurice Ashley, as well as a Russian language broadcast with IM Almira Skripchenko and WGM Anastasiya Karlovich. For the on-site spectators in St. Louis, commentary will be provided by WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and IM Tania Sachdev.


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spfamy1 spfamy1 2/5/2019 07:35
I agree that this is an excellent move. It's beyond incredible to realize women's chess events are hardly ever broadcast as opposed to the Open events so this is a welcome change. I am also interested in seeing whether this event garners interest in the future as well. Since the really big names are skipping this one out - the Muzychuk sisters, Goryachkina, Gunina just to name a few. If this event picks up steam...I'd love to see the heavyweights in the women's field really go at it for some interesting games. I'm also interested in seeing the draw ratio in this event as well and if I can hazard a guess I think the ratio will be alot lower than the Open tournament events.
the druge the druge 2/4/2019 09:39
This is a great move by St. Louis Chess Club. A good field, which will hopefully become even stronger in future years. The time zone and live commentary should really generate lots of interest. It will be interesting to see what the general standard is and if we see a similar draw percentage to mens' events.