The America's Foundation for Chess announces the 2005 US championship wild card selections:
The stated mission of the AF4C is to use two wild card spots in the US Championship to promote the development of exceptionally promising junior players. Last year, in line with our mission, we selected Varhuzan Akobian (based on his being the Samford fellow) and Laura Ross (based on her being the highest rated girl under 16). Those turned out to be fine choices, with Akobian battling for first place in the final round, and Ross benefiting from her experience to earn a qualifying spot for this year's championship at the World Open.
This year one wild card spot has been offered to Salvijus Bercys. Bercys, who is 14 years old, is the #1 US rated player under the age of 16 (USCF rating 2424). He was the 2003 US junior open champion and finished clear second in the 2004 US Junior invitational championship, half of a point behind Lev Milman (who earned a US championship qualifying spot for this victory) and ahead of Josh Friedel, Bruci Lopez, Matthew Hoekstra and Dmitry Schneider (all of whom have earned qualifying spots at other tournaments).
This was an unusual year with so many top juniors earning qualifying spots. Because of this unique situation, the AF4C was in a position to recognize the return of Gata Kamsky to active tournament chess, and offer him the second wild card spot. Gata Kamsky is America's highest rated USCF chess player, and one of the top rated players in the world. In 1996 he played Karpov for the world championship. Having reached the pinnacle of the chess world, Kamsky unexpectedly took a sabbatical from chess to pursue a higher education, and has just recently graduated with a degree in Law. He is preparing to take the NY bar exam.
With the completion of his formal education, Kamsky has returned to chess, is a regular player at the New York Masters and is anxious to participate in the US Championship. As the only American to become the official challenger for the World Championship since Bobby Fischer, Gata is a most deserving contender for the US Championship. His omission at a time that he is actively playing chess would be a serious oversight. As the US Championship is the premier event in America, the AF4C is very excited to have the opportunity to offer to Gata, now the number one ranked player in the US, a wild-card spot.
The chairman of the selection committee was AF4C co-founder and board member, Dr. Jim Roberts, and committee members were GM Yasser Seirawan, AF4C president Erik Anderson and chess journalist John Henderson. The committee would like to thank numerous US championship players and others in the chess community for their input into these decisions.
For further information contact John Henderson of the AF4C at +1 (206) 229-9233 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John B Henderson
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