Krush Leads in Berkeley IM Tournament

Ten women representing five countries (Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Mongolia and USA) are competing for FIDE norms in the Berkeley Chess School´s Summer IM Norm Tournament (August 16th- 20th).

After four rounds of round robin play, Grandmaster Irina Krush (seven-time US Women’s Champion) has 3.5 points, while International Master Lisandra Ordaz Valdes (CUB) and International Master elect Annie Wang (USA) each have 3 points.

Among women-only tournaments, an IM norm was achievable only at a handful of tournaments in the US: the US Women´s Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and the 2019 Cairns Cup. “Growth in chess has taken off, but too little attention is paid to the top women,” said Berkeley Chess School founder Elizabeth Shaughnessy. “The women who have not yet reached the top should be given their chance, and that’s why we put on this tournament.”

Only 37 women in the world have achieved the Grandmaster title. 110 women have achieved the International Master title. Irina Krush is the only active player that has the Grandmaster title and represents the U.S. The story is not so different when it comes to IM titles. Only 5 women who represent the U.S. have these titles: Nazi Pakidze, Dorsa Derakhshani, Anna Zatonskih, Rusudan Goletiani, and most recently, Annie Wang.

The Summer IM Norm Tournament is a FIDE Category 5 (avg. rating 2240) event, with WIM, WGM and IM norms all possible. 7/9 points are needed for an IM norm, 6.5/9 for a WGM norm, and 4.5/9 for WIM norm. The tournament would not be possible without the support of US Chess, Jim Eade and the US Chess Trust, and The Berkeley Chess School.

The tournament boasts a strong field, with 3 players that have been in the top 100 of the world ranking among women (Krush, Lujan, Ordaz). It has also young stars like Annie Wang who recently won the U20 Pan American Championship and Thalia Cervantes who played in the U.S Girls Championship. The participation of GM Krush, 7-time U.S Women´s Champion, gives even more prestige to this tournament.

Chess fans from around the world can follow the tournament live on Chess24 and Followchess websites. WGM Carla Heredia provides live tweets about the games, pictures and entertaining interviews with the players on Berkeley Chess School social media.

FM Josiah Stearman and GM Johan Hellsten are among the players who will analyze the best games of each round at the Berkeley Chess School YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCc7534wodujjhQK52cLbb6w.

Round 1 Analysis by FIDE Master Josiah Stearman
GM Krush -WIM Moya

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