In recent years, the U.S. Chess Championship, which traditionally had its home in Manhattan – with occasional exceptions – has found a new venue in St. Louis with the extensive support of a local patron, Rex Sinquefield.
As if to prove that chess still “belongs” to New York City, two players from Brooklyn, Gata Kamsky and Irena Krush, continued their dominance in the recent men’s and women’s events.
For Kamsky, who is rated 37th in the world among all players, the victory was his fifth in the championship tournament.
For Krush, who is 23rd among all women players, the sixth.
As so often in the highly competitive event, the outcomes were determined by nerve-racking rapid chess playoffs.
According to the website “This Week in Chess,” Krush had “several moments when it didn’t look like she could win the title.”
Interestingly, both have a Ukrainian connection, Kamsky, who was born in Novokuznetsk, Russia, is of Crimean Tatar descent. Krush was born in Odessa, Ukraine.
A former Soviet republic, Ukraine continues to be a prolific source of grandmaster talent.
Only 30 years old, the women’s champion probably has her peak years before her.
Kamsky, who is 40, will likely have to struggle to maintain his position against upcoming younger talent. He is currently eclipsed in his adopted country only by the No. 1 U.S. player Hikaru Nakamura, the seventh-ranked player in the world.