|First US Championship Wildcard Determined|
The 2010 US Chess Championship (May 13-25, Saint Louis), field is almost complete. 19 tournament qualifiers and February 2010 rating list qualifiers leave four open wildcard spots, and one Tournament of Champions qualifier (which is now down to Damir Studen of Georgia and Levon Altounian of Arizona.)
The first wildcard selection is also determined: Howard Stern, controversial New York City talk show host and rising chess star. Executive Director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Tony Rich explained the unexpected choice, "Howard's participation will bring the exposure of this year's Championships to new heights." Indeed, with millions of listeners, it's hard to think of anyone who could attract more attention to the upcoming Championship than Howard.
Stern, 56, learned chess as a kid in Long Island, and he is now coached by NM and author Dan Heisman. In a New York Times article, Stern said that he prefers playing chess to just about anything else. This Saint Louis in May, Stern will certainly get his fill.
The other three wildcards will be announced in the coming weeks.
The May Chess Life Magazine will feature an article on Stern by Heisman.