Friday, July 20, 2007

Krush Wins Women’s Championship

Popular New Yorker grabs her second title

Congratulations to Irina Krush, who emerged today from a week of grueling competition in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to become the winner of the 2007 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship.

Irina’s victory was decisive and, thank heavens, averted the cumbersome series of tiebreaking blitz games (including one called “Armageddon”) that would have ensued had the regular nine-round tournament ended in a tie. It looked as if that might indeed happen going into the ninth and final round, which Irina and Katerina Rohonyan entered in a dead heat at 6.0/8.0. But Irina, with the black pieces and playing the Sicilian Defense, beat Tatev Abrahamyan in 40 moves. Some time later Katerina was forced to settle for a 56-move draw against Alisa Melekhina, making Ms. Krush the winner with the tournament’s top score of 7.0/9.0.

Irina is a familiar face on the American chess scene. She won the championship once before, in 1998; she’s represented the U.S. in some number of chess Olympiads; and she is a member of the New York Knights of the United States Chess League. (Yes, there really is a league of professional chess teams, and no, Chicago is not part of it. Just one of many ways in which we lag other big cities as a chess center, but don’t get me started on that. As Monty Python would say, “This is supposed to be an ‘appy occasion!”)

Congratulations to Irina Krush on an excellent victory.

More at the official Web site and from Steve, Susan, Paul, and Mig.