U.S. Chess: Changing of the Guard

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has released a DVD that choronicles the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship. The video features video footage from the top players in the U.S. and their expressions on a variety of topics. The preview appears to capture the intensity of the event as well as the beauty of the venue. Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield have been the hosts of the championship since the USCF parted ways with the previous sponsor. This production appears to share a glimpse of the important role the Sinquefields are playing in what appeared to be a dying chess scene.

Changing of the Guard: The 2009 U.S. Championship DVD
Price: US$11.99


  1. Right… after Erik Andersen it got very shaky. Frank Berry stepped in in the nick of time before they almost skipped a year. The Sinquefields have done well and they seem to enjoy it. I chatted with Rex briefly when I covered the championship last year.

  2. Chess in the US is dying?! And they have Nakamura and had Fischer, Morphy, Marshall and Pillsbury…what a paradox. With such a rich history something must have gone very wrong in US chess.

  3. Mehul,

    It was a combination of factors… declining membership and tournament participation, financial troubles, political turmoil and lack of sponsorship. The post-Fischer era saw some periods of growth, but recently we’ve seen steady decline. Fortunately youth chess has been a boom in the U.S. Since Fischer, the U.S. had not produced a bonafide championship contender… until Hikaru Nakamura. Kamsky was already world-class when he emigrated. However, as the video suggests, there is a lot of young talent. Robert Hess and Ray Robson are definitely going to be strong players for many years to come. My only concern about Hess is the fact that he will begin college (probably Yale) and that usually means a break from chess in crucial development years. Nakamura sorely needs support and sponsorship. He has the drive and the aptitude to win the world championship.

  4. Chess in the U.S. is expensive in time, money, and in training. There have been many high caliber American talents who have made what seem like necessary life choices that deviate from chess. In general, I believe that America has had several world championship talents since Fischer: Yasser Seirawan, Larry Christiansen, Ilya Gurevich, Patrick Wolf, Tal Shaked, and a few others. In any event, it is nice to see new talent develop.

  5. Ilya Gurevich definitely. He was the World Junior champion (over Shirov) and after that faded away. I don’t believe the USCF has been able to draw sponsorship for chess. However, it will really be tragic not to be able to provide ample support to Nakamura, a legitimate world contender.

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