If you had to pick one player among women that has been the face of American chess in the past 10-15 years, it would most likely be GM Irina Krush. The Brooklyn native was born in Odessa, Ukraine (USSR) in 1983 and emigrated to the US in 1989. While an extremely talented junior prospect, she truly took the chess world by storm when she dominated the field of the 1998 US Women’s Championship with a score of 8.5/9. This would become a staple event for her, and she has been crowned US Women’s Champion an additional six times. Her most impressive streak was between 2012-2015, when she captured the crown four years in a row.
Irina has also represented her country well in team competition, playing her first olympiad in 1998. She helped lead the team to a silver medal in 2004 and a bronze in 2008. At the 2018 Olympiad in Batumi, Krush scored an impressive 7.5/10, securing a silver medal on board 2. Despite her continued success in women’s events, Irina most enjoys taking on and defeating strong grandmasters. She secured the title herself in 2013 after many years spent on the cusp.
Outside of chess, Krush graduated from NYU in 2006 with a degree in International Relations. Irina also enjoys tennis, yoga, writing, and practicing her French. She made a TV appearance on Steve Harvey, where Hillary Clinton was tasked with telling Irina apart from two imposters. The real Irina will be in St. Louis this month, hoping to add the Cairns Cup to her already extensive trophy collection.