U.S. CHESS gets revved up for the '02!

In the aftermath of the widely successful
U.S. Championship, the year 2002 will feature a number of tournament that are sure to increase the numbers at major U.S. events. Perhaps a chance for one to compete in the historic U.S. Championship will provide an incentive for players who had once "retired." Here's a survey of important events for Spring 2002:

U.S. Masters--(February 28th--March 3rd) This is the first qualifying tournament of 2002 and is the descendent of the once successful "Midwest Masters."  It has been renamed for the late FM Dr. Eugene Martinovsky, an active participant in the perennial tournament, an avid supporter of Illinois chess, and  national and international competitor. This tournament invites all players with a USCF rating of 2200+ or who have ever been so rated, plus invited Juniors rated 2000+. The site will be the Hyatt Regency Oakbrook adjacent to the Oak Brook Shopping Center (1909 Spring Road, Oakbrook, IL).

National Open-- (March 7th--11th) The National Open is another big draw… all the big guns will travel West to vie for the $64,ooo prize fund. Last year 48 GMs and IMs participants showed including the Chinese National Team who were traveling for the US-China Chess Summit Match. In the land of slot machines, one would think that a casino would be the oddest of places for a chess tournament, but the conditions are great and of course, many diversions and cheap food! Last year's event was won by Armenian GM Vladimir Akopian and Chinese GM Zhong Zhang. This year, many more guns will be fighting for a slot in the 2002 U.S. Championship as this is a qualifying event.

Foxwoods Open (March 28th--31st) Another qualifying event that has received raves in the past three years is the Foxwoods Open held at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in southern Connecticut. Yep… another casino! Don Colbert, President of the House of Ninigret Chess Association hatched the idea a few years ago with the support of chess organizer, Bill Goichberg. Foxwoods is a tournament that has been good to GM Maurice Ashley. He has tied for first place the past two years. Look for a repeat and a possible U.S. Championship qualification for the Brooklyn GM. NM Jerald Times also had a great tournament with a 2500+ performance rating and a tie for the under-2400 prize.  This tournament hopes to eclipse the 529 players  (96 in Open section) from last year.

Chicago Open (May 24th--27th)
Chicago is a wonderful city with a vibrant culture, beautiful skyline, and the host to one of the most popular chess events, the Chicago Open. Held during Memorial Day weekend (this year, 24-27th of May), last year's event attracted a record 916 entrants for a guaranteed $100,000 prize fund. British GM Julian Hodgson and GM Alexander Goldin tied for 1st. With 6-1. This year promises to be even better as the tournament continues to attract a large number of world-class players. The days of the Chicago Palmer House tournaments are distant memory, but the Chicago Open appears to have established its roots at the Hyatt Oakbrook, the same site as the U.S. Masters (above).


For additional details on these tournaments see the following links:

U.S. Masters (contact Helen Warren at apct@aol.com and (630) 663-0688)
National Open (http://www.64.com/natlopen/)
Foxwoods Open (http://www.chesstour.com/fox02.htm)
Chicago Open (http://www.chesstour.com/chio02.html)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 25 January 2002

The March to the U.S. Championship is on!!