2018 U.S. Championship begins

by André Schulz
4/18/2018 – Today the U.S. Championships start in Saint Louis, Missouri. The open and the women's championships will once again be held in parallel. The first prize in the Open Tournament is $50,000, with $25,000 for the winner of the U.S. Women's Championship. Wesley So is the defending champ, but both U.S. number one Fabiano Caruana and former U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura are also playing. All the key details... | Photos: CCSCSL

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Tenth edition held in St. Louis

Today, the US 2018 Championships and Women's Championships kicks off at the Chess & Scholastic Center in Saint Louis. Both tournaments are twelve-player single round-robins in which the competitors play not only for the national title but also considerable prize funds.

In the open tournament, in which only men participate this year, the total prize fund is just under $200,000; the women's tournament has a prize fund roughly half as rich. In addition to the trophy, the overall U.S. Champion will also take home a $50,000 winner's check. The new U.S. Women's Champion can look forward to $25,000.

Opening reception

Fabiano Caruana chats with GMs Robert Hess and Alejandro Ramirez

The games will be played from today through April 29th, with a possible tiebreak playoff match on April 30th, if necessary. The one rest day is April 24th. Each round starts at 13.00 local time, which is 20.00 CEST. 

Lennart Ootes and Wesley So

Lennart Ootes and Wesley So

In the open championship all three of the top American grandmasters are playing: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, the defending Champion. After the impressive performances in the Candidates Tournament and in the Grenke Classic Caruana is perhaps the top favorite. Rising stars Awonder Liang and Jeffery Xiong are two other names to watch closely.

Interestingly, five-time U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky declined his invitation this year and will miss his first Championship since the tournament has been held in St. Louis.

Participants Open Championship

Fabiano Caruana
Hikaru Nakamura
Wesley So
Alex Onischuk
Ray Robson
Sam Shankland
Varuzhan Akobian
Jeffery Xiong
Alex Lenderman
Awonder Liang
Yaroslav Zherebukh
Zviad Izoria

Prize fund

Place Prize Place Prize
1. $50,000 7. $9,000
2. $35,000 8. $8,000
3. $25,000 9. $7,000
4. $20,000 10. $6,000
5. $15,000 11. $5,000
6. $10,000 12. $4,000
Total prize fund $ 194,000

US Women's Championship 2018

The women's championship for many years (between 2006 and 2015) was a fight between Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih. But that changed in 2016 when the Nazi Paikidze won, and last year Sabina Foisor was the Cinderella story of sorts. This year, with Jennifer Yu, Annie Wang, Maggie Feng and Akshita Gorti — four teenagers are also in the mix.

Rex Sinquefield with Irina Krush

Irina Krush and Rex Sinquefield

Tatev Abrahamyan, Alejandro Ramirez and Dorsa Derakshani

Tatev Abrahamyan, Alejandro Ramirez and Dorsa Derakshani

Participants Women's Championship

Irina Krush
Anna Zatonskih
Tatev Abrahamyan
Nazi Paikidze
Sabina Foisor
Jennifer Yu
Annie Wang
Maggie Feng
Anna Sharevich
Dorsa Derakhshani
Akshita Gorti
Rusudan Goletiani

Prize fund

Place Prize Place Prize
1. $25,000 7. $5,000
2. $18,000 8. $4,000
3. $13,000 9. $3,500
4. $10,000 10. $3,000
5. $8,000 11. $2,500
6. $6,000 12. $2,000
Total prize fund $100,000

Schedule for both tournaments

Tuesday 17. April 18.30 Opening ceremony
Mittwoch 18. April 13.00 Round 1
Donnerstag 19. April 13.00 Round 2
Freitag 20. April 13.00 Round 3
Samstag 21. April 13.00 Round 4
Sonntag 22. April 13.00 Round 5
Montag 23 April 13.00 Round 6
  23. April   "Chess After Dark"
Dienstag 24. April   Rest day
Mittwoch 25. April 13.00 Round 7
Donnerstag 26. April 13.00 Round 8
Freitag 27. April 13.00 Round 9
Samstag 28. April 13.00 Round 10
Sonntag 29. April 13.00 Round 11
Montag 30.April 13.00 Possible playoff
  30. April 18.30 Closing ceremony

All local times in St. Louis (UTC -5)

Translation from German: Macauley Peterson

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.
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