OHMYGODDESS! I've totally let time overtake me but you know what, I'm on RETIREE TIME now, LOL!
The good news is that - I haven't missed it :) The event takes place March 31 - April 14, 2015 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
You can watch live action and listen to the entertaining commentary and analysis on both the U.S. (Men's) and the U.S. Women's events at chesschamps, that will once again be presented by two-time U.S. women's chess champ IM Jennifer Shahade, GM Maurice Ashley and GM Yasser Seirawan. What I REALLY love about this year is that I will be able to put them on live audio and not have to sneak quick listens through headphones and sneak clicks online to watch the live commentary and analysis at the office -- I can just turn on my computers throughout the house and watch and listen as I move from room to room!
Okay, enough of that. Here's the line-up of this year's female contenders:
FM Alisa Melekhina 2320
WGM Katarina Nemcova 2356
WIM Viktorija Ni 2300
NM Apurva Virkud 2260
WIM Annie Wang 2266
WFM Jennifer Yu 2227
IM Nazi Paikidze 2342
WGM Rusudan Goletiani 2312
WGM Sabina Foisor 2371
WGM Anna Sharevich 2388
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan 2459
GM Irina Krush 2516
They're joking, right?
Oooooh, well, guess not. Now I'm all for bringing young promising players to the table to play for big stakes, but really - why not just crown Krush right now and be done with it. Abrahamyan, a personal favorite, has been a perpetual "also ran" for years now, geez. Of course, she could get lucky, Krush could be suffering from cramps or food poisoning this year, you never know. Basically, this is going to be a battle for 2nd through 12th places and the money offered.
Here's the official blurb:
The 2015 U.S. Women's Championship is an elite national championship event, featuring 12 of the strongest female chess players in America. Over the course of eleven rounds, these competitors will battle for $75,000 in prize money, qualification into the Women's World Championship cycle, and the coveted title of 2015 U.S. Women's Champion.
Schedule and prize structure.
Er, by the way, just how many of these ladies are native-born American citizens? For that matter, how many are American citizens? If you don't have to be a U.S. citizen to play, why not invite GM Alexandra Kosteniuk? What about GM Susan Polgar as a sort of emeritus representative of great female chess players? I mean, how long did the USCF keep Bobby Fischer on the "active" list after 1975??? Just saying. I'm sure they could rig it anyway they want to. It's Jean and Rex Sinquefield's money fronting this event and the (Men's) U.S. Championship, so who cares, right?
I have to tell you up front, I'm disappointed in this year's line-up, but I will think of this as the equivalent of rebuilding the U.S. Women's Figure-Skating Team, which has been a rather unsuccessful multi-year process ever since Michelle Kwan retired at the grand old age of 28. They still haven't got it right. Sigh. Will we get it right with chess? What are the odds -- don't hold your breaths, darlings.
Total prizes for the ladies this year: $75. Total prizes for the men this year: $175. Ummm, well, whatever. Bwwwwwaaaahhhhhaaaaaa! Multiply each figure by three zeros, it still comes out the same. But now the organizers have gotten much smarter -- by not recruiting (and making it work to get) the best female chess players in the USA they can justify offering $100 grand less in total prize money to the female players, even though total effort and OTB agony will be just as great as among the dudes.