Animal Chess: U.S. Championships Open at the Saint Louis Zoo

The U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship opened on Monday, March 18th at the Saint Louis Zoo, coinciding with the US Hall of Fame and World Chess Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Players chose their lots in their respective 12-player round robins by choosing a stuffed animal from the Zoo gift shop, which were affixed with hidden pairing numbers.

Round one pairings in the Open includes a heavy-hitter match-up between two members of our "Big Three", Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura. Leinier Dominguez will be representing US Chess for the first time in the US Chess Championship, and will be playing local favorite and wildcard Varuzhan Akobian in round one. In the U.S. Women's Championships, GM Irina Krush plays Emily Nguyen while IM Anna Zatonskih plays Akshita Gorti. Find full pairings for the tournament and follow along on with commentary from GMs Maurice Ashley, Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade starting at 12:50 CT/1:50 ET.