If you read here or if you've been following the live commentary of the 2010 U.S. Women's Chess Championshp provided by GM Ben Finegold and two-time U.S. Women's Chess Champion (2002, 2004) Jen Shahade, you've seen and/or heard that for the 2010 USWCC Goddesschess teamed up with 9 Queens, an organization whose work we greatly admire, to sponsor a $1,000 Fighting Chess Award. The tradition of the Fighting Chess Award continues.
The seeds of the Fighting Chess Award began in 2007, when Goddesschess sponsored a $300 Brilliancy Prize at the 2007 U.S. Women's Chess Championship. That prize was won by Elizabeth Vicary for her game against Camilla Baginskaite.
In 2008 Goddesschess increased the amount of the prize and changed its focus from a brilliancy prize to the Fighting Chess Award, in honor of the fighting chess played by the Polgar sisters, iconic female chessplayers. GM Susan Polgar graciously agreed to select the winner of the prize, which went to Tatev Abrahamyan for her score of 6 wins and 3 losses - no draws.
The winner of the 2009 Goddesschess Fighting Chess Award was again selected by GM Susan Polgar and was awarded to Anna Zatonskih, who not only won the Women's title, she did so in brilliant fashion, scoring an incredible 8.5/9.
Who will win the Fighting Chess Award in 2010?
The women started off the 2010 championship they same way the concluded the 2009 event, with ALL DECISIVE games until Krush and Zatonskih, the two leaders in this year's championship, drew their game in Round 3.
It seems the consensus among tghe players themselves that in order to win the title this year, 7.5/9 will be necessary. Going into Round 7 tomorrow, three players are positioned to make a run: Anna Zatonskih, 5.5; Irina Krush, 5.0; and Tatev Abrahamyan, 5.0. Barring a collapse, one or more of these players could reach 7.5/9, necessitating a play-off. The next closest player in score, Alisa Melekhina, is at 3.5 and if she should win out, she would finish with an incredible score of 6.5/9, probably not enough to take the title. Of course, anything can happen and sometimes does!
This year, our Judge has heavy duty! I have seen the overall level of play and intensity among the players increase in the USWCC every year since I've been regularly following them (2007), and this year tops last year, which hardly seems possible but I tell you, it's true.
So, please tune into http://www.uschesschamps.com/ to follow the action this weekend.
Now I have to get out there and cut the grass - its still 90 degrees F but the dew point is relatively low so I probably will not collapse from heat prostration, which may very well happen tomorrow when the dew point is scheduled to climb back into the tropical zone (70 and above). Oy!