The 2017 Winter Chess Classic is the first of four tournaments each year featuring 20 international chess professionals. The Winter Chess Classic is comprised of two 10-player Round Robin tournaments. Over the course of nine rounds, these competitors will battle for $20,000 in prize money and gain valuable experience in top-level events.
David Howell has enjoyed a little luck – and beaten the World Junior Champion Jeffery Xiong in fine style – to take the sole lead on 2.5/3 in the A Group of the Winter Chess Classic in St. Louis. That’s one of two 10-player round-robins that form a warm-up for the US Chess Championships, with the other featuring regular commentators Alejandro Ramirez and Benjamin Finegold as well as 7-time Women’s US Champion Irina Krush. So far, though, Ukraine’s Andrey Baryshpolets and Romania’s Ioan-Christian Chirila lead.
Once upon a time up-and-coming US players like Fabiano Caruana were all but forced to travel to Europe to pursue their chess careers, with the US chess scene offering little other than open tournaments with tough schedules and no conditions for top pros. That’s all changed in the last decade, with Rex Sinquefield in particular putting St. Louis on the map as an international chess destination with the Sinquefield Cup and the reborn US Championship. The accompanying boom in the university chess scene has seen the picture almost completely reversed – a large number of young European players are now saved from the dilemma of whether to pursue studies or chess by offers of chess scholarships at US colleges.
That’s nearly the latest castling on record, and Marandi deserves praise for allowing it to be the move that ended the game! Peter Svidler once told a wonderful story of how he broke the rule about talking during games to insist that Vishy Anand beat him with 31.0-0! – that was more crushing, but with 15 more moves Alejandro can be proud of his achievement!
- U.S. Chess Champs Winter Classic page
- Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
- All the games with computer analysis on chess24: Group A | Group B
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