The Final Four for the Last Spot in St.Louis
March 29, 2009
It's down to the Final Four in the State Champions of Champions: Ron Simpson of North Carolina and Mackenzie Molner of New Jersey in the East and Sam Shankland and John Bryant of California in the West. The four will battle for the last spot in the 2009 U.S. Championships in Saint Louis! The finalists were determined Saturday, March 28 on the Internet Chess Club in the qualifying round of the State Champion of Champions event.  Next week on April 4-5, one of these players will be awarded the title and a ticket to the big event in Saint Louis.

See a detailed report from John Henderson of the Internet Chess Club below plus rules and details on the ICC website. Here is a game from each of the winners:





U.S. State Champion of Champions: The Final Four

After a competitive day on the Internet Chess Club that saw 29 state champions from Alaska, Hawaii through California to Washington, and from Maine through to Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Tennessee, the U.S. State Champion of Champions tournament reaches the Final Four. 
The two zonal tournaments in both the Eastern and Western Conferences produced some epic battles and a couple of runaway winners.  All the early action came in the Western Conference, where the first to qualify  was the youngest competitor Sam Shankland from North California, who top-scored on 9.5/10 to dominate his zonal tournament.  Next up was John Bryant of Southern California, who scored 8.5/10 in the other zonal to also book his place in the finals.

But it was a different story in the Eastern Conferences, with two extremely close zonal battles. Connecticut top seed GM Sergey Kudrin found the going tough in a three-way showdown for the top spot alongside Mackenzie Molner of New Jersey and IM James Rizzitano of Massachusetts.  In the end though, age and guile proved no match for youth and speed, as Molner took the top spot ahead of the two veterans by a narrow margin.

And there was a more dramatic battle in the second zonal, which went to a playoff, as FM Ronald Simpson of North Carolina tied for first place on 11.5/13 with Dov Gorman of Virginia, with Simpson winning the playoff, 2-0, to reach the finals.

Next Saturday, April 4th, with independent proctors in place at each venue to ensure fair-play, and an extended time control of two G25min + 10sec games (and blitz playoffs, if needed), ICC will host the Final Four with Molner vs. Simpson for the Eastern Conference title and Shankland vs. Bryant for the Western Conference title; the winners then meeting on Sunday, April 5th, to play for the title of U.S. State Champion of Champions and round-trip ticket and final qualifying spot for the 2009 U.S. Championship, hosted by the Scholastic Center and Chess Club of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Go to U.S. State Champion of Champions page for crosstable of results and to download all zonal tournament games.
Further information:
John B. Henderson
ICC Director of Chess Content
Tel: 847-347-9593
E-mail: [email protected]