Champions Showdown 2019

The 2019 edition of the Champions Showdown will feature five unique matchups between top world players, as well as up-and-coming chess stars. Five U.S. players have chosen opponents from around the world and will face-off in a head-to-head format with three days of rapid play and two days of blitz play from February 20 to 24, 2019 at the Saint Louis Chess Club. In the end, $300,000 in prize money will be divided with each winner receiving $36,000 and the opposing player receiving $24,000.

Four players from the silver medal winning chess olympiad team, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Sam Shankland, along with new US Chess member Leinier Dominguez have chosen international chess stars to compete against this February. Opponents include former World Champion Veselin Topalov, as well as young rising stars like Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Richard Rapport. The tournament is sure to thrill fans, as well as give a look at the play of the U.S. players just ahead of the U.S. Chess Championships.

Official site

Each round will start at 1 p.m. CST and be broadcast live on uschesschamps.com.

Fans can follow the expert commentary of GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, and GM Maurice Ashley each day or visit the Saint Louis Chess Club to catch the action in person.

Watch the games of the Champions Showdown 2019 with computer analysis LIVE on ChessBomb.

You can see games from previous issues of the tournament with computer analysis at ChessBomb:
Champions Showdown 2018
Champions Showdown 2017
Champions Showdown 2016

Read the articles of:
Saint Louis Chess - Champions Showdown Features Ten Kings of Chess
FM Mike Klein - Grand Chess Tour's Triple Play: Expanded Field, Events, Continents
NM Matt Jensen - Time Controls And The Grand Chess Tour


Russian Grandmaster Valentina Gunina Crowned First Cairns Cup Champion

Inaugural Tournament Sparks Inspiration for Women’s Chess Around the World


SAINT LOUIS (February 19, 2019) – Russian Chess Grandmaster Valentina Gunina was named champion on Friday of the inaugural Cairns Cup, an elite tournament for the top female chess players worldwide. Gunina claimed the tournament victory in the final round with a draw against Russian Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, earning the competitors $40,000 and $30,000 respectively. American Grandmaster Irina Krush edged out Indian Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli for a clear third place finish and $20,000 prize. Krush is a favorite in the upcoming U.S. Women’s Championship, starting March 18.

Referring to the significance of this all-female, elite tournament Krush explained, “It's important that little girls will have a motivation to study so they could get into these events."

Gunina’s win was decided in the final round as her compatriot Kosteniuk sat just half a point behind her on the leaderboard. A former Women’s World Champion, Kosteniuk led throughout the first half of the tournament, but Gunina won four rounds back to back late in the tournament to put her in position for the Cairns Cup title and an eventual victory with 7/9 points.

The Cairns Cup solidified a special place in the Saint Louis Chess Club’s annual tournament schedule. The tournament will become a staple event in Saint Louis and, with one of the largest prize funds for an all-female chess tournament, the Saint Louis Chess Club hopes it encourages and promotes future events for women in chess around the world.

“We started the Cairns Cup in the hopes of creating a tournament that would showcase the best of women’s chess and inspire women worldwide to take up chess as a lifelong pursuit,” said Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield, co-founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “We end this inaugural Cairns Cup with an incredible champion in Valentina Gunina and an exciting future for women’s chess. We look forward to seeing the Cairns Cup provide unparalleled opportunities for today’s women and those in generations yet to come.”

At the start of the historic event, Saint Louis Chess Club co-founders Rex and Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield announced a $100,000 gift to U.S. Women’s Chess to continue the promotion, retention and encouragement of girls and women in chess. 

Saint Louis Chess Club | Building Champions

4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108 | (314) 361-CHESS (2437)

The Saint Louis Chess Club acknowledges Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support makes our tournaments possible.

The STLCC and WCHOF admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational & admissions policies, scholarship & loan programs, and athletic & other school-administered programs.
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