Jennifer Counts Down to the US Women's
By Jennifer Shahade   
October 1, 2009
Play Irina Krush in a bounty blitz tournament!
I'm off to Saint Louis tomorrow as tournament chair and a commentator for the 2009 U.S. Women's Championship. The first round begins on Sunday, October 4 at 3 PM EST but the festivities will start Friday night. The weekend kicks off with a Queens of Jazz concert at the Contemporary Museum Saint Louis. The action continues at the Contemporary on Saturday afternoon with a five-board blindfold simul by Anna Zatonskih and a "bounty blitz" tournament featuring the other nine competitors and prizes for anyone who defeats one of the female masters. At the opening ceremony, lots will be drawn and the ten women will play a ceremonial group blindfold game. Find the schedule and ticket sign-up links here. 

The Women's Championship has been getting a lot of great media coverage. Some highlights below:

Iryna Zenyuk in China, Photo Jennifer Shahade 2008
Pittsburgh: Check out two articles on Carnegie Mellon student WIM Iryna Zenyuk. The first one is in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the second in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Saint Louis: There is a piece in the Saint Louis Beacon which discusses last year's controversial tiebreak, and a blurb in the RiverFront Times about the Opening Day festivities.  Also see the Saint Louis Business Journal for a piece about Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis founder, Rex Sinquefield. (You have to subscribe to read the whole article.)

Chess & Motherhood: Finally, there is an in-depth article on the official CCSCSL website On Balancing Chess and Motherhood by FM Mike Klein. I found the article very interesting as it brings out the personal lives of some of our top women players. I also heard a lot about chess & motherhood in research for Chess Bitch and in interviews with GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, who won the World Championship as a new mother. Kosteniuk told me that winning the Women's World Championship soon after having a baby was not entirely coincidental- she was less mobile during much of the pregnancy and therefore had a chance to go through many books she hadn't had time to read previously, including Garry Kasparov's My Great Predecessors. I think it will be much easier to combine chess and motherhood if women's tournaments with large prize funds continue--that way playing in a tournament could help support a family, rather than simply detract from that support. Offering free childcare at tournaments could also help.
Defending Champion Anna Zatonskih with her family

The media team in Saint Louis is working tirelessly, so I'm sure there will be a lot more interesting articles and media pieces to come. Stay up to date by bookmarking the Women's Championship section of the CCSCSL homepage and if you're on facebook, becoming a fan of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Also look for more CLO updates from the scene. For live games, log on to the Internet Chess Club, or the official website. On air with me on will be none other than GM-elect Ben Finegold! Macauley Peterson will be producing the show. Feel free to email me any thoughts or questions to address on the air at [email protected].