Nakamura-So as US Champs kick off in Saint Louis
Hikaru Nakamura faces Wesley So in Round 1 as the 2019 US Championship gets underway in Saint Louis today. Fabiano Caruana starts with a remarkable 57-point rating edge over 2nd seed So, but with defending champion Sam Shankland now also joined by Leinier Dominguez, whose switch from the Cuban to the US Chess Federation came through last December, it’s set to be a tougher event than ever. Nazi Paikidze will not be defending her title in the women’s event, but serial winners Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih both play.
The 2019 US Championships again feature two 12-player round robins, with $50,000 for 1st place in the open section and $25,000 for the women’s. The venue, for an 11th year in a row, is the Saint Louis Chess Club, while Monday’s opening ceremony took place in the Saint Louis Zoo, with the players picking animals to decide their seeding numbers.