Zatonskih Increases Lead at the US Women's
By Jennifer Shahade   
October 10, 2009
Anna Zatonskih at a simul on the free day, Photo Betsy Dynako
Defending champion Anna Zatonskih increased her lead at the 2009 US Women's Championship (Saint Louis, October 3-13) with a fifth round win over Tatev Abrahamyan.  Zatonskih is now at 4.5/5, a full point ahead of her closest rivals, the youngest and oldest participants in the tournament, Alisa Melekhina and Camila Baginskaite.


The battle of the Irinas started off as a staid London but turned into an exciting contest as Krush found the cool move, 23.b4 but Zenyuk hung on to play to an exciting draw. Krush was of course disappointed to stay on an even score, especially since she missed a win with 37.d7 in a wild time scramble.


Friday October 9th, also National Chess Day, declared by Ford (corr.) in 1976, was a rest day. The players participated in community activities during the day, including a breakfast at the Siteman Cancer Center to kick off the "Chess For Life" Initiative. Chess For Life is a partnership between the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The program provides chess sets and instruction to cancer patients and was inspired by Jim Corbett, a Siteman patient who was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. Corbett's mood was lifted when he began playing chess during treatments.

The Chess For Life Program kicked off at a breakfast, with the Women's Championship contenders as honored guests, Photo Betsy Dynako

Suzanne Corbett explains the inspiration behind Chess For Life program in memory of her husband.

The Championship contenders were special guests at a kick-off breakfast for the program.

Zenyuk, Tsagaan and Abrahamyan on a tour of the Siteman Cancer Center, posing in front of a wall of colorful tiles created by children.

Afterwards, seven women played against 70 kids in a series of simultaneous exhibitions at the Science Center, while Baginskaite and Tsagaan played a tandem simul at the Chess Club.

Tatev Abrahamyan helps a student, Photo Betsy Dynako

Camila Baginskaite plays while Tsagaan Battsetseg looks on, Photo Betsy Dynako

Rusudan Goletiani poses with a group of Science Center simul attendees. Photo Betsy Dynako 

Check out the full color bulletin covering the incredibly exciting and long round five games.
The bulletin is edited by Chris Bird and includes analysis by GM-elect Ben Finegold. Click here for a profile of Alisa.
Games and live commentary with WGM Jennifer Shahade and Finegold begins at Noon local/1 PM EST on Saturday, October 10. On round six Melekhina and Zatonskih will face off.