2003 US Chess Championship

The U.S. Championship will kick off in the home of the famous "Space Needle" (pictured left) as 58 players (45 men, 13 women) hope to make their impression in the city known worldwide as the home of Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Last year's competition was a rousing success as
America's Foundation for Chess (AFC) organized the tournament under the new format for the 3rd year. GM Yasser Seirawan, a world-class player and perennial participant, has played a huge role in helping to rejuvenate the yearly tournament and has lined up an impressive array of sponsors. The press will also be in full force at the Seattle Center.

The U.S. Championship had grown stale from the same handful of players competing every single year, but is now more inclusive and exciting. Men and women will compete and be paired together, but a Women's champion will be declared. Last year,
GM Larry Christiansen and WIM Jennifer Shahade were declared the National Champions.

Seattle's Space Needle

Seattle's "Space Needle"

In this year's tournament, several new faces will grace the stage in this year's prestigious event. Certainly the most noticeable changes will be both GM Maurice Ashley and FM Stephen Muhammad making their debuts along with teenage phenom IM Hikaru Nakamura. Another interesting story is the respective debuts of the Mongolian couple, FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat and WIM Tsagaan Battsetseg. While they are not the only couple participating (there are actually four!), they will add to the diversity to the field.  Look out for some exciting games in the U.S. Championship where the lions are the amongst the hunted!

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

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