2020 U.S. Chess Championships Winners Crowned In All Five National Tournaments


For more information, contact:
Rebecca Buffington
Saint Louis Chess Club
(314) 277-3930


For Immediate Release 

2020 U.S. Chess Championships Winners Crowned In All Five National Tournaments

The Nation’s Most Elite, Invitation-Only Chess Tournament Concludes With Five Champions

SAINT LOUIS, October 30, 2020 - As October comes to a close, this unique chapter in American chess history has also concluded with five newly crowned champions for the 2020 U.S. Chess Championships.  From October 8-29th, the Saint Louis Chess Club hosted all five national tournaments online this year due to COVID-19.  The winners of the nation’s top five chess events are as follows:  GM Wesley So; 2020 U.S. Champion, GM Irina Krush; 2020 U.S. Women’s Champion, GM Joel Benjamin; 2020 U.S. Senior Champion, GM John Burke; 2020 U.S. Junior Champion and IM Carissa Yip; 2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion.

Carol Meyer, the Executive Director of US Chess, says, “US Chess is pleased that our partners at the Saint Louis Chess Club managed to find a way to organize these premier events during such extraordinary times. I congratulate all the winners, and US Chess is proud to have them as our national champions.”

The U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship kicked off the series of five events, October 9-11, and featured a 10-player field of America’s best female players under the age of 20.  The top seed and two-time U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion, IM Carissa Yip proved a strong opponent and ultimately received her 3rd U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship title in a row; thanks to a brilliant final day where she won all three of her games to finish with 7.5/9 points.  Trailing Carissa during the final day was IM Annie Wang, who despite a loss was able to finish in 2nd place with 6.0/9, along with WIM Rochelle Wu, who finished the event in clear third place with 5.5/9 points.

The U.S. Junior Championship occurred October 13-15 and featured a 10-player field of America’s best chess players under the age of 20.  In one of the most thrilling finishes of the final day, GM John Burke managed to win the 2020 U.S. Junior Championship after getting the best of GM Jeffery Xiong in an Armageddon playoff that ended with the U.S. #5 ranked player losing on time in a winning position. The final game took place after the players both finished with 6.5/9 points during the regular event, leading to a two-game rapid playoff match that was also tied.  Xiong took the second place win and finishing in 3rd place with 6.0/9 was #2 seed GM Sam Sevian, who despite a poor start managed to fight his way back to the top.

The U.S. Senior Championship took place online from October 17-19 and featured a 10-player field of America’s best chess players aged 50 years and older. GM Joel Benjamin made chess history on October 19th after winning the 2020 U.S. Senior Championship and becoming the first trifecta (U.S. Junior, U.S. Championship, and U.S. Senior) champion in US Chess history. This win came after scoring a solid 2.0/3 during the final day of action, finishing with 6.5/9, a clear 1.5 points ahead of the rest of the field. Benjamin’s main contender, GM Igor Novikov ended up tied for second place with GM Gregory Kaidanov and GM Dmitry Gurevich, all with 5.0/9.

The U.S. Women’s Championship occurred October 20-24th and featured a 12-player field of America’s strongest female chess players. GM Irina Krush left no chance for her fellow rivals as she won both of her games on the fourth and final day to clinch 1st place with 8.5/11, this marks her eighth national title victory. Chasing Irina until the very last moment was the recently crowned U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion, WGM Carissa Yip, who also won both of her final games to finish in a clear 2nd place.  The biggest surprise of the event was 12th-seed IM Dorsa Derakhshani, who scored 7.5/11 points on her route to earning third place.

“After these four days of play, with all the stress, all the preparation, I mean for it to finally end in the way you want it to end, what you’ve been working for, I mean that just feels amazing”, said 2020 U.S. Women’s Champion, Irina Krush in the post-round interview. “I feel the support of my friends, my family, my students, my coach, all these people that are supporting me and watching the games and hoping I do well, I want to make them happy.”

The U.S. Chess Championship closed out the five events from October 26-29th and featured a 12-player field of America’s strongest chess players. With an incredible run, GM Wesley So became the 2020 U.S. Chess Champion, scoring a fantastic 9.0/11 after finishing the day with two draws to win his second national title. This winning result by So this year has not been seen since 1966 when GM Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship with a similar 9/11 score. Displaying an amazing performance as well, GM Jeffery Xiong finished in clear 2nd with 8.5/11, while GM Ray Robson took 3rd with 7.5/11.

“Winning a second title is really big to me. I’m really happy to have won it, this title is really prestigious.” said 2020 U.S. Champion, Wesley So.“This year has been so different from previous years and I look forward to when we can see each other again over the board.” 

2020 U.S. Championship Results

2020 U.S. Women’s Championship Results

2020 U.S. Seniors Championship Results

2020 U.S. Juniors Championship Results

2020 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship Results

“The last few weeks have been a unique showing of both grit and talent among these 46 competitors,” says Saint Louis Chess Club’s Executive Director, Tony Rich. “While this year was unique due to the virtual format, we are pleased to announce the crowning of these five amazing 2020 U.S. Chess Champions that truly represent the past, present and future of American chess. ”

Daily round recaps and results from the 2020 U.S. Chess Championships can be found online at www.uschesschamps.com and the video highlights and full commentary can be watched on the Saint Louis Chess Club's YouTube and Twitch.tv channels. 

About The Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures. 

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.


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