Written by MonRoi Support on Sun, May 10 2009 (02:41)

For immediate release:


Saint Louis, May 9, 2009 -- The second day of the U.S. Chess Championship was a repeat of the first, with big upsets and teenagers making the biggest buzz. While it's hardly a surprise that No. 1 ranked Gata Kamsky of Brooklyn, N.Y., is undefeated after round two, it's shocking that one of the two other undefeated players in the 24-competitor championship is Robert Hess, a 17-year-old from New York.


Anna Zatonskih

IM Anna Zatonskih, Photogenic as always, Happy Mother's Day! Photo: Betsy Dynako


Hess came into the tournament ranked 37th in the United States. He has defeated grandmasters in both rounds: sixth-ranked Larry Christiansen, of Cambridge, Mass., on Friday, and seventh-ranked Julio Becerra of Miami, Fla., on Saturday.


Other Round 2 winners included Missourian Michael Brooks. The 91st-ranked Brooks, from Kansas City, beat 15th-ranked Alexander Shabalov, a grandmaster from Glendale, Calif. The youngest player in the tournament, Ray Robson, 14, of Largo, Fla., was victorious over the oldest player, 12th-ranked Boris Gulko, of Fairlawn, N.J., who is ranked 12th.


Defending champion Yury Shulman, of Barrington, Ill., the fourth-ranked player, remained unbeaten. But the second-ranked player in the country, Hikaru Nakamura, lost his chance at an undefeated tournament, when he played to a draw with Jaan Ehlvest, of Baltimore, who is ranked 11th.


Any player going undefeated over nine rounds will receive a $64,000 prize named for Bobby Fischer, the only player to accomplish that feat. In all, there is nearly $200,000 of potential prize money available.


The nine-round tournament continues Sunday, May 10th from 2pm-8pm., and will conclude Sunday, May 17.For a live update of tournament play on Twitter, go to Results of Saturday's matches are available at Photos of Round 2 are available at


Macauley Peterson

Macauley Peterson, Live Commentary 


The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis opened in July 2008, and has over 500 members. The club also will host the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship from October 2-12.


Contact: Laura Slay
314-504-0081 or
Suzanne Corbett


The 2009 US Championship Opening Ceremony PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Sperry on Fri, May 08 2009 (06:55)

The 2009 U.S. Championship first round pairings were announced today at the opening ceremony, held at the Saint Louis Museum of Art. American Idol contestant Aloha Mischeaux sang the national anthem, while the lieutenant governor Peter Kinder and mayor Francis Slay spoke and also proclaimed May as the month of chess in Saint Louis. Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis founder & president Rex Sinquefield introduced the venue and the players. Click here to read more
St. Louisan Charles Lawton is up to the challenge of facing the best players in U.S. Chess Champions PDF Print E-mail
Written by MonRoi Support on Wed, Apr 22 2009 (06:22)

ST. LOUIS, April 17, 2009  --  When the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship is held in St. Louis in May, some of the nation’s best and best-known players will be in the field of 24 competing for more than $200,000 in prize money.  Included on that list will be St. Louisan Charles Lawton, the only African-American contestant but also a man who relishes the opportunity to compete on a grand stage.

The tournament will take place May 7 through 17 at the new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization that opened in July 2008.  Founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield, it already has more than 500 members, surpassing its original goal of 300 for its first year of operation by 67 percent.  Steve Goldberg of United States Chess Federation (USCF) Online has called the club “certainly one of the most impressive chess centers” in the country.  For more information, visit or call 314-361-CHESS.

Lawton pays the bills by working as an electrical engineer at BioMerieux Inc., where he’s been employed for more than 30 years.  The responsibilities of his job minimize the number of tournaments in which he’s able to compete, but he’s kept his skills sharp for such occasions through the years.

“I’ve been going to one major tournament per decade in the last 30 years,” says Lawton.  “In 1990, for example, I drew Gata Kamsky (one of the “Big Three” of American chess) at the national open in Las Vegas.  I played again in the tournament in 2000 and now am competing again this year.”

Lawton, who was born in 1953 and graduated from Saint Louis University High School and Washington University in St. Louis, became interested in chess while in high school.  “As a sophomore,” he says, “I saw two guys playing a game at recess.  It looked like checkers to me.  They showed me some moves and kicked my butt, but I was determined that I’d beat them.”

Lawton says that began a three-way competition between him, Jim McLaughlin and Doug McClintock.  “It ended up as a three-way rivalry, and all of us became chess masters,” he recalls with a laugh.

He played a considerable amount of competitive chess in California, in Chicago and on the East Coast while he was in the military.  “I served in the Navy as a nuclear power reactor operator,” he recalled.  “I was stationed in Groton, Connecticut aboard the U.S.S. Nautilus submarine.”

After returning to St. Louis and beginning his career at BioMerieux, he won the St. Louis District chess championship in 1982 and 1983 as well as two Missouri state championships.

Lawton has made several visits to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.  “I love the chess club,” he says.  “I think they did a great job with monitors, etc., making it one of the best clubs in the country.  I’ve been to clubs in Toronto and San Francisco, which also are top-notch.  They did a good job here in St. Louis making the club presentable, with separate sections for training.  Visual aids all make it easier to play as well as study and teach chess.”

While he doesn’t participate in many tournaments these days, Lawton is revved up about the U.S. Chess Championship being held in his home town.  “I’m looking forward to the tournament, although with trepidation,” he says with a laugh.  “This year it’s a zonal (competition), which means you get all the best players.  It helps get you into the world championship cycle, to get up to a point where you can play for the world championship.”

The United States Chess Federation is the official, not-for-profit U.S. membership organization for chess players and chess supporters of all ages and strengths, from beginners to grand masters.  Founded in 1939 with the merger of the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation, USCF has grown to more than 80,000 members and nearly 1,200 affiliated chess clubs and organizations.  USCF sanctions 25 national championship award titles to both amateurs and professionals, ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens.  For more information, visit


For more information contact:
Mark Bretz, Slay & Associates
314-838-9371 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Written by MonRoi Support on Tue, Nov 18 2008 (20:33)


The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which Steve Goldberg of United States Chess Federation (USCF) Online calls “certainly one of the most impressive chess centers” in the country, has been selected by the United States Chess Federation to host the 2009 U.S. Championship.


The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, which was founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield is located at 4657 Maryland Avenue in St. Louis’ fashionable and historic Central West End neighborhood. The three-level, 6,000-square-foot facility possesses an array of customized features, including electronic chess boards, hand-made wooden chess tables, LCD-screen televisions, video installation art, overhead paging and an adjustable lighting system. The primary colors of the club are black and white, the colors of a traditional chessboard.


“I am delighted that The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will host both the U.S. Chess Championship and the U.S. Women’s Championship in the coming year,” said Sinquefield. “I’ve had the privilege, and the occasional pain, of studying chess with Grand Master Jennifer Shahade, who focuses much time and energy in encouraging young women to take up the game. It is the goal of the Chess Club to encourage all of Saint Louis’ young people to learn chess and believe that bringing the best chess players in the country to Saint Louis will have helped us achieve that goal.”


The players’ room is private and enclosed with its own kitchen and restroom. There is ample natural lighting with windows along two walls and two skylights in the space. Recessed adjustable lighting fixtures cover the ceiling to ensure an even light with appropriate brightness.


The championship will be held in late summer or early fall 2009. The tournament is a 9 round event, paired using the Round Robin pairing system with one round per day and a rest day between rounds 5 and 6. Time controls will be the classical 40 moves in 2 hours, with the remaining moves in 1 hour. Invitations will be sent to the top 10 U.S. women by their rating.


The championship will have a purse of $64,000, with $15,000 awarded to the winner. In case of even scores, no tie-breakers will be used. Instead, prize funds will be evenly divided between winners.


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Chess Quotes

And for the chess-player the success which crowns his work, the great dispeller of sorrows, is named "combination."

-Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

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