2008 U.S. Championship Qualifier Details Announced
January 4, 2008



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For Immediate Release
PR #2 of 2008
Contact: Tom Braunlich
Email: tom.braunlich@cox.net

2008 U.S. CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER DETAILS ANNOUNCED

You 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.)

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)