Checkmate: 2014 U.S. and Women's Chess Champions Crowned in St. Louis - CW15 - OMAHA

Checkmate: 2014 U.S. and Women's Chess Champions Crowned in St. Louis

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SOURCE Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL)

Grandmaster Gata Kamsky and Grandmaster Irina Krush win prestigious chess titles

ST. LOUIS, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- After a grueling two-week marathon of chess play, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) crowned Grandmaster Gata Kamsky, 39, the 2014 U.S. Chess Champion and Grandmaster Irina Krush, 30, the 2014 U.S. Women's Chess Champion. Both players hail from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Checkmate: Kamsky and Krush Crowned U.S. & Women’s Chess Champions in St. Louis

Kamsky and Krush are no stranger to the winner's circle as they both have won their respective tournaments multiple times, including wins for each last year.

The prestigious tournaments are part of the "Triple Crown" of chess championships held in the United States each year. The third event is the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, a tournament for players under the age of 21, which will take place at the CCSCSL June 19-29.

"It has been a tough tournament for me … [My opponents] have been preparing and playing really well," Kamsky said. "Of course, there were a lot of blunders because they wanted to win, but that made everything very competitive. It was nice to win this event."

Kamsky is currently ranked No. 2 in the U.S. by rating. He beat out 11 of the top-ranked chess players in the United States to win the title and grand prize of $45,000. Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, the second-place winner, receives $25,000. The U.S. tournament's total winnings for first through last place totaled $172,000, the largest-ever per-capita prize fund in the history of the U.S. Championship.

Krush beat out nine of the top-ranked female chess players in the United States to win the U.S. Women's Championship and grand prize of $20,000. This marks her sixth U.S Women's Championship title. The second-place finisher, Tatev Abrahamyan, took home an $11,000 prize. The total winnings for first through last place in the U.S. Women's Championship totaled $72,000, which also is a record-breaking prize fund for the U.S. Women's Championship.

At the closing ceremony for the U.S. Championships, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay awarded Chess Club founders Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield a key to the City of St. Louis. This recognition comes on the heels of a U.S. Senate resolution that officially recognized St. Louis as the Nation's Chess Capital. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the resolution, which champions the success of chess after-school programs and the numerous educational benefits chess offers developing students.

This announcement came just days after the U.S. House and Senate announced the formation of a Congressional Chess Caucus. Caucus members will collaborate to raise awareness of the benefits of chess and to work towards bringing the educational values of chess to underserved schools, districts, rural and urban communities, and populations throughout the country.

"Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield have demonstrated enormous dedication to promoting chess and education, and their commitment has been pivotal in helping revitalize the U.S. chess scene," Slay said.

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) educational 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. Please visit www.saintlouischessclub.org for more information.

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