2016 U.S. Women's Championship

Irina Krush

Irina Krush
Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2533
Residence: 
Brooklyn, NY
Age: 
32
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Irina Krush is hoping to secure her U.S. Women’s Champion title for the fifth time in a row this year against a field of familiar faces. She has won the Championship seven times as has been the reigning Champ from 2012 - 2015.

Krush has entrenched herself as the figurehead to elite American women’s chess play by earning the title of Grandmaster in October 2013. America's only active female GM says she doesn't spend much time contemplating her current chess success or failures -- "I'm more attached to my future accomplishments."

Born in Odessa, USSR (now Ukraine) in 1983, Irina learned to play chess at age five, emigrating with her parents to Brooklyn that same year. Krush attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, where she participated in one of the top high-school chess teams in the country. It has been a rapid climb for Irina since then, including exceptional showings in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Chess Olympiads, as well as a gold-medal performance in the 2013 Women’s World Team Championship -- a result Krush called the best of her career.

In addition to her chess studies, the 2008 Samford Chess Fellowship recipient enjoys tennis, reading, writing, yoga and music. Krush has a degree in international relations from NYU, though she is currently concentrating on chess. She said she enjoys the challenge of playing other Grandmasters most: "When you beat a strong GM, that's when you feel like you can play chess."

Anna Zatonskih

Anna Zatonskih
Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2544
Residence: 
Hartsdale, NY
Age: 
37
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Anna Zatonskih is entering the 2016 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship as the highest-rated seed and the competitor with the greatest chance of ending Irina Krush’s reign as Champion. Zatonskih did not participate in last year’s Championship, but having won the title of U.S. Women’s Champ four times she is always a serious threat to win it all.

In 2009, Zatonskih won the U.S. Women's Championship with a dominating score of 8.5/9, but she ran into stiff competition in 2010 against her longtime nemesis IM Irina Krush. Zatonskih recaptured the title in 2011 with a gutsy and grueling performance. Including the tiebreak and playoff matches, she played 19 games of chess over a two-week period to win the 2011 U.S. Women's title. In 2012, Zatonskih suffered a heartbreaking loss in a playoff match against Krush, who went on to win the event.  

Anna said her chess highlights include the 2004 silver medal and the 2008 bronze she helped the U.S. team win at the Chess Olympics.

Outside of the chess, Anna has a variety of interests from bicycling to ping pong to scuba diving. She even played an underwater match while in scuba gear on a giant board. The game couldn't go longer than 50 minutes, but she played to a draw. Coached by her husband, German Grandmaster Daniel Fridman, Anna comes into the tournament in the hopes of securing her fifth title.


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