Home Page Chess Life Online 2009 October U.S. Women's Opens With Jazz, Hooping and Blindfold
|U.S. Women's Opens With Jazz, Hooping and Blindfold|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|October 4, 2009|
2009 U.S. Women's Championship in
St. Louis (Oct.3-13) featured a "Queens of Jazz" concert on Friday night with Denise Thimes and Ann Hampton-Callaway. Thimes, a Saint Louis native, raised everyone to their feet in a breathtaking performance. Hampton-Callaway also blew people away. She even created an improv song at the end of the evening using words called out from the audience including, "checkmate", "resignation" and "knight." See a few photos below and more on the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis website.
Two days of festivities to open the|
On Saturday, October 3rd the fun continued at the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis. A large crowd watched enthralled as Anna Zatonskih played a five-board blindfold simultaneous. Anna won all her games in just over two hours. The last man standing was Rex Sinquefield, founder of the CCSCSL.
Four players managed to win bounties in the 5-round "bounty blitz" tournament against the other nine players in the Championship.
In between the blitz rounds, players such as Rusudan Goletiani, Irina Krush and Tsagaan Battsetseg played came outdoors to play a little hula-chess.
Blindfold motifs continued into the evening ceremony. To draw round robin-lots, Carol Jarecki called out each woman to choose from ten colorful scarves with numbers from one to ten stitched on to their corners.
The order of choosing was determined earlier by Assistant Arbiter Chris Bird with a random drawing. The players then sat on alternating colored chairs numbered one through ten and were blindfolded by Carol.
Then a ceremonial group blindfold game began in which the women passed the mike to one another. The game, played at a rapidfire pace, was a Be2 Najdorf, but White lost a queen at some point.
When White resigned, the crowd rose to give the women a standing ovation.
Jarecki announced the round 1 pairings (Fan-Foisor, Zenyuk-Zatonskih, Tsagaan-Goletiani, Krush-Melekhina, Baginskaite- Abrahamyan.) See the full schedule here.
The evening wrapped up with CCSCSL executive Director Tony Rich presenting Jeanne & Rex Sinquefield with a copy of the 2009 book of the year, Blindfold Chess by Eliot Hearst & John Knott. The book was signed by Hearst and all the women in the tournament. Hearst told me that he'd never heard of a scheduled blindfold simul by a woman or a ceremonial group blindfold game. "an original idea...I have never heard or read of anything like that. I guess it's another way of popularizing BF chess and so I strongly approve of it."
The theme of blindfold chess ran through the days events and played into the show on display,
For the blind man in the dark room
looking for the black cat that isn’t there
The show, which will travel to London, was curated by Anthony Huberman and supported by CCSCSL founders Jeanne & Rex Sinquefield. Also instrumental to putting on the event were Paul Ha and Jennifer Gaby from the Contemporary. The organizing commitee for the opening events consisted of me, Susan Barrett, Joy Bray, Lauren Stewart and Jane Higgins.
Watch the U.S. Women's Championship live on the official website, the Internet Chess Club or Monroi.com.