Reports | February 24, 2012 9:48

Kamsky, Nakamura, Seirawan to play U.S. Championship

Kamsky, Nakamura, Seirawan to play U.S. Championship

After a year of absence, Hikaru Nakamura will be back in St. Louis this year to seek his third U.S. Championship title. His main rival will be reigning champion Gata Kamsky while former winner and "semi-retired" Yasser Seirawan will be playing for the second year in a row.


Nakamura seeks third U.S. Championship title in St. Louis

Fields set for 2012 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship

ST. LOUIS, February 22, 2012 -- The fields are set for both the 2012 U.S. Championship and 2012 U.S. Women’s Championship, scheduled to be held simultaneously May 7 through May 20 in St. Louis. Grandmaster Gata Kamsky and International Master Anna Zatonskih each look to defend their respective titles against strong and determined fields.

For the fourth consecutive year, these prestigious events will be held at Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL).

The 2012 U.S. Championship will feature an elite field of 12 grandmasters and a guaranteed prize fund of more than $160,000. With an average USCF rating of 2714 according to the USCF’s January rating supplement, this marks the strongest field in the history of the event.

After sitting out of the 2011 U.S Championship, GM Hikaru Nakamura, ranked No. 6 in the world, has accepted an invitation to participate this year. Nakamura, 24, is seeking his third U.S. Championship title. GM Yasser Seirawan, who came out of retirement to play in last year’s U.S. Championship, has accepted the final invitation for the U.S. Championship. Seirawan had a stellar performance at the 2011 World Team Championship in Ningbo, China, where he defeated three top-30 players on his way to a silver medal performance.

The field for the 2012 U.S. Championship is as follows:

  • GM Hikaru Namamura (2848)
  • GM Gata Kamsky (2804)
  • GM Alexander Onischuk (2736)
  • GM Yasser Seirawan (2723)
  • GM Robert Hess (2717)
  • GM Varuzhan Akobian (2709)
  • GM Alexander Stripunsky (2700)
  • GM Ray Robson (2674)
  • GM Alejandro Ramirez (2668)
  • GM Yury Shulman (2666)
  • GM Aleksandr Lenderman (2665)
  • GM Gregory Kaidanov (2658)

The CCSCSL also will sponsor the “$64K Fischer Bonus,” to be awarded to anyone that scores a perfect 11-0 in the U.S. Championship, in honor of Bobby Fischer’s 11-0 result at the 1963-64 U.S. Championship.

Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Camilla Baginskaite, the 2000 U.S. Women’s Champion, and 17-year-old Alena Kats, who was the youngest female to become a master in 2010 at age 15, have accepted the final two invitations for the Women’s event. The 2012 U.S. Women’s Championship will feature a guaranteed prize fund of $64,000 and 10 players, including:

  • IM Anna Zatonskih (2563)
  • IM Irina Krush (2500)
  • WGM Camilla Baginskaite (2419)
  • WGM Sabina Foisor (2413)
  • WGM Tatev Abrahamyan (2350)
  • WIM Viktorija Ni (2349)
  • IM Rusudan Goletiani (2337)
  • FM Alisa Melekhina (2321)
  • WIM Iryna Zenyuk (2298)
  • NM Alena Kats (2233)

Tickets for the opening ceremony, which will take place on May 7, and the closing ceremony, scheduled for May 20, will be available soon. Round one for each event begins on May 8.

The U.S. Championship and the U.S. Women’s Championship will both be classic round-robin tournaments, in which each participant will play every other participant exactly once.

For more information, visit, or call (314) 361-CHESS (2437).

Please note that in this press release USCF ratings are being used.

Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Sander's picture

Here's a tip for all who want to improve his rating, move to America and your rating will improve 100 points!

Shane Bonetti's picture

he he, i knew that i wouldn't be the only one to notice that those ratings seem a touch high

True Chess's picture

Kamsky crush those patzers.

choufleur's picture

completely overrated tournament, as usual. Please cover the Ukrainian championship instead !

steve's picture

the ukrainians are good at chess cause they can not afford internet connections, playstations, and other entertaining things that exist in usa. nothing to do in ukrain but to eat boiled potatoes and play chess.

Niima's picture

Wow, a point of view does not get more American than that!

franny's picture

ha, he probably just realized you silly fools would eat that comment up!

Anonymous's picture
aerodarts's picture

really now......the women are very hot!

Anonymous's picture

Can't cover both?

noyb's picture

Let's see... According to, the two highest Americans are rated 6th and 14th (Nakamura/Kamsky); the two highest Ukrainans are rated 10th & 23rd (Ivanchuk/Ponomariov).

Even if you want to count Karjakin (8th), who has changed to playing for Russia, you still have a better championship in the U.S. So quit yer b*tchin'!

Thomas's picture

This is a convenient snapshot on the live rating list - Ponomariov's rating is currently lower than on any official list since January 2009 ... . But let's look beyond the top2: the US #3 Onischuk is nominally weaker than the Ukrainian #7 Areshchenko (and Onischuk himself is originally from Ukraine).

A couple of other national championships are stronger than the US one (if the strongest players participate), e.g. the French, Hungarian and Chinese ones. It's more a PR and language issue that they receive less international media attention.

aerodarts's picture

you should put an ad in craig's list begging for airline ticket to go to ukraine...A lot of people enjoy the tournament in st louis. the club is fantastic...the weather is excellent...the coverage is high tech...the games can be viewed within a few feet from the chess boards..or you can hang out in the basement where the analyst are a fun bunch and know the players very well...the after game interviews are close up and deep....go to youtube to check out video i shot of the open...


maybe this year if you check it out you will enjoy the games ........oh by the way..nakamura played the champ of ukraine in st louis last year and won the match...even better go to st louis and see the tournament in person...

Thomas's picture

The point isn't whether Nakamura and Kamsky are strong players - they are, but what about the rest? By the same logic the Norwegian championship would be a major event IF Carlsen participates (well, in that case it would probably get international media attention).
The point isn't per se about USCF ratings - it's just that they are rather inflated with respect to Elo (why?) and thus leave a wrong impression. As a whole, the event is maybe comparable to Tata Steel B, with two players from the A group thrown in - I am not even sure whether all other participants could be considered for the B group. It is what it is, nothing more and nothing less.

darkergreen1327's picture

* GM Hikaru Namamura (2848)
If that 2848 is the rating, then we have a surprise world number one player!

ff2017's picture

With an average ***********USCF rating *************

steve's picture

how did i know that all the comments would be about trolls who are trolling a different rating system.
next you all will point out that online chess ratings, such as icc, are 'over rated'.
it never ceases to amaze me how stupid most of you are.

Anonymous 's picture

I know that I am stupid, but who else did you mean?

Mar's picture

Nice. The coverage last year was world class. Hopefully this will compare.

AWT's picture

Why would they NOT use Fide ratings? It is the international standard.

franny's picture

you did notice it is the USA championship... didn't you?

Rama G's picture

AWT, most tournaments in the U.S. aren't FIDE rated because FIDE requires that you pay them a rating fee plus the time control has to have a Fischer increment. In the US the Swiss system is the most popular format and organizers find it convenient to use a five second delay instead of a Fischer increment. Also, a player who doesn't have a FIDE rating can qualify for the U.S. Championship by doing well in the U.S. Open.

AWT's picture

Ok, I am shocked. Only in America!

AWT's picture

I have never heard of a tournament this strong not being Fide rated before.

GMBartek's picture

The part "plus the time control has to have a Fischer increment" is not fully true. Only in order to allow players to obtain norms for FIDE titles (GM/IM/WGM/WIM), a tournament needs to be played according to one of six FIDE official time controls. Three of them are with 30 seconds increment, the remaining three without any delay/increment.
For details look here:

Tournaments with 5-sec delay can still be rated (for rating changes).

AWT's picture

That's true about the norm/time control thing. Also a tournament with a 6 figure prize fund surely does not care about some rating fees to Fide!
I can't help but feel that this is a ploy by the Americans to make themselves look better than they are. Either that or it's to accommodate Nakamura who did not play last year in order to protect his rating.
Whatever, looking forward to the coverage!

aerodarts's picture

because only americans can play in the some to st louis and convert your money into dollars! see you there!

Pal G.'s picture

Nice, the Women's logo has 'curls'.

Anonymous's picture

LOL! I was thinking that too. It could be worse - at least it's not pink.

Andre From Outkast's picture

I predict 1st Kamsky, last Lenderman.

Axel Müller's picture

While it is not the strongest tournament ever, the field is eclectic enough to make it interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing Seirawan play again.
I’m also sure that the organizers manage to cover the event as excellently as last year and this will be very good for promoting chess.

Geof's picture

It's pretty easy to come up with stronger national championships. But in the U.S. we don't have a lot of strong closed events, so the Championship is a pretty big deal for us.

Anyway, it's really nice to see all the top dogs coming to the dogfight.

whatever's picture

your all missing the point - what other country championship pays out $160,000?

anonymous's picture

So WHY did Nakamura fly Ponomariov in for a match when Kamsky is right there in the same country?

aerodarts's picture

I heard Ponomariov is in love with Nakamura! hahah For money you fool!

Bartleby's picture

Last year the show was very good. If they provide the same coverage I'm going to watch no matter who plays. Crazy lines, a well attuned team, limitless energy, occassional serious insights, honest analysis, excellent interviews. They even made chess players sound interesting. Maybe they can cut through Kamsky's lawyerly nonchalance this year.

Johnnyballgame's picture

The player to watch out for is Robert Hess. He is a real up-and-comer.
And yes, USCF ratings are inflated around 50-75 points over fide, but it is still the elo system.

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