Qualify for the 2008 U.S. Champs!
By Tom Braunlich   
January 3, 2008
logoFKB2008lead.jpgYou too may qualify for the 2008 U.S. Chess Championship! Seven invitations will be up for grabs in a special Qualifier Open tournament slated for March 28-30, 2008, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
 
In recent years the system allowing players to win qualification into the prestigious U.S. Championship via other major tournaments throughout the year has been popular. Last year over half of the 36 championship invitees were qualifiers.
 
That tradition continues for 2008, but with no qualification events throughout 2007 the championship committee has announced a new format for qualifiers — a single special QUALIFIER OPEN, seven-round Swiss System tournament, at which seven players will earn an invitation to the 2008 Frank K Berry U.S. Chess Championship.
 
These 7 qualifiers will join 17 top-rated GMs and seeded players including defending champion GM Alex Shabalov to form a field of 24 contenders at the 2008 FKB U.S. Chess Championship to be held May 13-21 in Tulsa.  Also, the top female finisher in the Qualifier Open will receive an invitation to the 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, to be held alongside the U.S. Championship.
 
To win a qualification spot a player must be eligible to play in the U.S. Championship, of course, which means he/she must be a U.S. citizen or resident with federation listed by FIDE as “USA”. (American USCF players without FIDE rating are also eligible- see more detailed Residency rules below.)
 
Unlike some previous years there is no additional $75 fee to be considered for qualification. Players simply enter and compete in the Qualifier Open just as in any regular large event (see details below).
 
The top 7 finishers each receive $1000 (Guaranteed) plus a qualification spot (which is itself of value considering that all players in the Championship receive prize money there.). The event is open to all players, regardless of rating, though of course it is to be expected that masters will be the primary contenders for the top spots. There are also prizes of $1000 (Guaranteed) for top U2400, top U2200, top U2000, and top female finishers.  The Entry Fee is $25 for all masters, $100 for experts, and $200 for anyone rated below 2000. But to get this low EF your entry must be received in advance by March 13. All EFs received after that or at the door cost $100 more. Send entries to: Frank K. Berry, 402 S. Willis St, Stillwater, OK 74074.
 
The venue is the Best Western Trade Winds Central, ($55/60;  918-749-5561 or 800-685-4564) with free airport shuttle available. See www.tradewindstulsa.com. It is expected that the hotel will sell out, but note that there are three other motels within a very short walking distance of the venue — the Ramada ($60; 918-743-9811), the Howard Johnson ($55; 918-794-5156), and the Trade Winds East ($45; 800-254-7449). Ask for the chess rate.

 The Time Control for the Qualifier Open will be Game/90, with 30-second delay. Two half-point byes are available for rounds 1, 2, or 5, if requested in advance. Of course, if there are players tied for the qualification places the prize money will be split normally but the qualification spots themselves will be awarded by mathematical tiebreaks.

 Additional info on the Qualifier Open will be available online at www.uschess.org or in Chess Life TLA announcements. Please direct questions about eligibility and other issues to FKimBerry@aol.com.

 As far as is known, this is the first time a dedicated Qualifier Open event of this type has ever been held for the prestigious U.S. Championship. It should be interesting!

 Further details on the 2008 FKB U.S. Chess Championship, including info on the venue and the particulars of the seeded players, etc., will be forthcoming soon. It will be a 9-round Swiss, with 24 players and at least a $50,000 prize fund, May 13-21, 2008. The 2008 FKB U.S. Women’s Chess Championship will be held at the same time and place, as a 10-player round robin. The organizing committee for the championship is Frank K. Berry, Jim Berry, and Tom Braunlich.

RESIDENCY

Players without previous international experience and/or FIDE ratings shall usually be given U.S. status immediately by both the USCF and FIDE. If a question arises as to USCF versus FIDE requirements, USCF’s criteria shall be used for national events and FIDE’s criteria will be used for international events. Before becoming eligible for USCF invitations, non-United States citizens who have FIDE ratings or have represented another country in a chess competition must fulfill the following residency requirements:

1. Players under age 20 are considered eligible upon proof of full-time enrollment in a U.S. school. However, FIDE may still, at its discretion, require that such individuals fulfill a waiting period of up to three years.

2. A player who has a green card or other acceptable proof of permanent U.S. residency must complete one continuous year (12 months) of United States residency, with a U.S. address, immediately prior to the event in question. In addition, for FIDE team competition (Olympiad, World Team, etc.), candidates may be required to provide a written promise that they will apply for U.S. citizenship as soon as legally possible.

3. A player who does not have a green card or other acceptable proof of permanent U.S. residency must complete two continuous years (24 months) of United States residency, with a U.S. address, immediately prior to the event in question. In addition, for FIDE team competition (Olympiad, World Team, etc.), candidates may be required to provide a written promise that they will apply for U.S. citizenship as soon as legally possible.

4. Players must complete and sign a USCF residency form and a FIDE residency form, and these residency forms must be received by the USCF prior to the time when invitations are determined. The USCF shall then contact FIDE to arrange for the player’s national affiliation code to be changed to reflect the player’s status as a U.S. player. Blank residency forms can be obtained from the USCF office.

5. Players must refuse to represent other countries within the waiting period as specified above. Playing for another country at any time requires a candidate for invitations to begin the waiting period anew (i.e., one or two years from the time of the infraction for adults; at least one year for players under age 20). Representing another country is defined as playing in the national championship of another country, and/or playing as a member of another country’s national team in international competition.

6. Zonal events: In years in which the U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship are also Zonal tournaments, any qualification spots allotted by FIDE from these events for the FIDE world championship competition will be offered only to the highest-scoring players who also fulfill all FIDE requirements. If a question arises as to USCF versus FIDE requirements, FIDE’s criteria shall be used.

7. Players shall, in general, suffer no penalty for simply participating in a FIDE-rated event under their current national affiliation code (such as in futurities or other norm-granting events not listed above), until such time as their code is changed to reflect their status as a U.S. player.

8. Players who submitted a USCF residency from prior to August, 2003 have the option to use either these rules or the rules for residency that applied at the time that the application was submitted. Frank K. Berry, Jim Berry,