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Fischer Memorial Prize, Jackpot Bonus Added for 2009 U.S. Championships to be Held in St. Louis Print E-mail
By Mark Bretz   
February 19, 2009

For more information contact:

Mark Bretz, Slay & Associates

314-838-9371 or [email protected]  

For Immediate Release: 


ST. LOUIS, February 19, 2009  --  A $64,000 bonus in memory of late chess champion Bobby Fischer and a jackpot bonus for a "clear" first-place winner have been added to the prizes being awarded at the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship.  The tournament, which will be held May 7-17, 2009 at the new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, will offer a purse of more than $130,000 in prize money. 

Any player who scores a 9-0 sweep will be awarded the Fischer Memorial Prize, a $64,000 bonus in addition to the first-place award.  The prize is in remembrance of the late American world champion Bobby Fischer, who died in 2008 at age 64.  Fischer scored an 11-0 victory in the 1963-64 U.S. championship, the only perfect score in the event's history. 

Additionally, a jackpot bonus of $5,000 will be awarded to the first-place winner.  If there is a tie for first, the jackpot will be awarded in a playoff for the title of U.S. champion, to be contested on May 17, after the final round and before the closing ceremony. Up to four players will contest a series of one-game rapid matches designed to guarantee a decisive result ("draw odds games"). 

Two dozen of the nation's best players will be invited to participate in the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship.  The 24 players include:

  • the top 12 American players by rating, using the April rating supplement;
  • the top two female players by rating, using the April rating supplement;
  • the 2008 U.S. Junior Closed Champion;
  • the 2008 U.S. Open Champion;
  • the 2009 U.S. State Champion of Champions;
  • the 2008 defending U.S. Chess Champion;
  • a total of six wild card spots, to be determined later.
The winner will receive $35,000, with additional cash prizes awarded to all participants, including $2,000 to the last-place entrant.  Cash prizes will be divided equally among tied competitors.  Additionally, top youths from throughout America will be invited to compete.  Spectators will be welcome at the event. 

The championship will be a 9-round event, using the Swiss system with one round per day and a rest day on Friday, May 15 between rounds 7 and 8.  Time controls will be the classical 40 moves in two hours, with one hour allowed for all remaining moves.  There also will be a five-second "increment" added to each player's clock after every move.  Guest commentary will be provided by two world-class Grandmasters throughout the event. 

"We are excited to be able to provide these extra bonuses to the top-tier contestants who will be participating at the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship," said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.  "It is fitting to honor the fiercely competitive late chess legend Bobby Fischer in such an environment." 

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization that opened in July 2008.  Founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield, it already has nearly 500 members, surpassing its original goal of 300 for its first year of operation by 67 percent.  The club, which Steve Goldberg of United States Chess Federation (USCF) Online calls "certainly one of the most impressive chess centers" in the country, offers free classes for beginners, discounted tournament entry fees and discounted merchandise for club members.  For more information, please visit www.saintlouischessclub.org or call 314-361-CHESS. 

The United States Chess Federation is the official, not-for-profit U.S. membership organization for chess players and chess supporters of all ages and strengths, from beginners to grand masters.  Founded in 1939 with the merger of the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation, USCF has grown to more than 80,000 members and nearly 1,200 affiliated chess clubs and organizations.  USCF sanctions 25 national championship award titles to both amateurs and professionals, ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens.  For more information, visit www.uschess.org.