Fab Four in St. Louis
After a pulsating series of group stages, followed by the high-drama of a six-player playoff, we're now down to the all-deciding fab four final of the US Championship being held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis!
The main contest is a rematch of last year's final, with Gata Kamsky playing Yury Shulman.
Defending champion Kamsky easily booked won through to the final by seeing off the spirited challenge from GM-elect Sam Shankland, by winning 220.127.116.11. However Shulman's route to the final proved a more difficult task, as he defeated rising US star GM Robert Hess in a close contest by winning their second playoff match.
Last year the final went to a do-or-die Armageddon game, with Kamsky drawing to take the title in a very evenly matched contest. And there's every possibility that this year's final between these two will be just as hard fought. Can Kamsky do it again to win back-to-back titles for a major moral boost before he plays Veselin Topalov shortly in the Candidates matches in Kazan, Russia, or can former champion Shulman get his revenge for last year's heartbreaker?
All of the semifinals in the US Women's contest went to a playoff. Another young rising US star, Tatev Abrahamyan, got her spot in the final by outplaying former champion Camilla Baginskaite. All the drama though was in the other semi, as perennial rivals Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih again went the distance of the Armageddon decider, with Zatonskih again prevailing. For Abryamyan, this will be be her second US Championship final, and she'll be looking to go one better than when she lost to Rusudan Goletiani in 2005. The favorite though on paper has to be three-time former champion Zatonskih, who will be looking for her fourth US Championship title.
Chess.FM will have all the action as it happens, when it happens with live commentary of the finals on Tuesday, 26th April and Wednesday, 27th April starting at 3:00pm ICC Server Time. On Tuesday, we'll have GMs Ronen Har-Zvi and Alex Lenderman sharing the mic in the commentary booth, and on Wednesday, it'll be Mig Greengard and GM Joel Benjamin.
The Chess.FM commentary team have also been breaking down all the action from the US Championship with their daily Game of the Day video service. The first round GOTD is free for non-members to view, with all the others being 5 minute previews. To tune-in to our live coverage of the US Championship finals and for access to all the other GOTDs, join ICC today byclicking here.
Every Russian Schoolboy Knows
Former World Champion and legendary chess trainer Mikhail Botvinnik was the originator of the "Every Russian school boy knows" chess aphorism, which alluded to the fact that thousands of unknown schoolboys back in Russia - due to the intense training methods they received from a young age - likely knew more about the game than most professionals did in the West.
And on the first Monday of each month, GM Alex Yermolinsky hosts a brand new series for Chess.FM, "Every Russian Schoolboy Knows". Alex will explain thebasic tips and tricks you'll need to know to become a better player - and his first show last month proved to be an instant hit with the ICC members who couldn't talk more highly of the new series. His second show is coming up soon, so as a special Easter treat this month we've made his first show free for everyone to view. If you want to watch the rest of this exciting new series, join ICC now byclicking here.
Episode 1 - 24:28
Young teacher, the subject...
Tiny chess-mad Armenia is about to make chess compulsory in the schools, but could mandatory study of the game really help develop children's academic performance and behavior? Yes, if we are to believe the pioneering work done by the likes of the Seattle-basedAmerica's Foundation for Chess.
Online, the debate is taken up in a major article recently in theBBC News Magazinewith arguments for and against.
The ICC Network
Last week ICC revamped their Facebook page - and we've had a great response from members and non-members looking to take part in the activities there, where we'll shortly be offering prizes and special membership offers.
On offer will be free Chess.FM video content and ICC membership extensions - and for non-members who have enjoyed in the past free ICC trials that have expired, look to our Facebook page for exclusive extra free trial times! We'll also have all the latest ICC news and tournament results as well as some fun caption competitions. And all coming soon as we continually update our Facebook page!
Go to Facebook now and click on our "like" button now - and what's not to be liked about ICC!
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