What to Expect at the 123rd Annual U.S. Open



The 123rd Annual U.S. Open will take place in Grand Rapids, MI, from July 29 through August 6 at the DeVos Place Convention Center. Here is a primer of what to expect and how to follow all the action!


A True Open

As always, the “main event” will be the nine-round tournament that is unique in major American events for being a “true open.” While other tournaments feature top sections that are “open” to any player who chooses to forgo playing in their rating class (and, sometimes, pays an additional “play-up fee”), the U.S. Open is run as one gigantic section. Class players can earn prizes for finishing with the best score in their rating class, but they might have to play down, up, or “way up,” in order to get there.

At the time of writing, 322 players are registered, including GM Semen Khanin (a regular at the top of American opens) and GM Andrew Tang (a regular at the top of online bullet chess tournaments). As an extra motivator, the top American finisher also earns a qualifying spot in the 2023 U.S. Championship.

Last year’s winner was Russian GM Alexey Sorokin, who defeated GM Elshan Moradiabadi in an Armageddon game, although the latter still took the qualifying spot for the U.S. Championship as the top American finisher. Neither Sorokin nor Moradiabadi are currently registered for this year’s event.


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The 2022 U.S. Championship qualifier, GM Elshan Moradiabadi (photo Mark Cieslikowski)


One added wrinkle is that, while there is only one section, there are three separate playing schedules. The “traditional” schedule allows for a “European” approach to the event, with only one round of classical chess played per day over nine days. The six-day caters to players who might have plans that first weekend (more on that below), while the four-day is perfect for speedy players who don’t mind getting some of their games in at a much faster time control (guess which section Tang is signed up for).

Because of this, keep an eye out for round five and, especially, round seven, when the sections “merge” and top players have the opportunity to square off.

All rounds can be followed on USChess.live. Rounds seven through nine (August 4 through 6) will be broadcast live on US Chess’s Twitch channel, with coverage from five-time Olympiad representative WGM Sabina Foisor and former U.S. Junior champion GM Kayden Troff. Coverage will begin for rounds seven and eight at 7:00 p.m. EDT, and at 3:00 p.m. EDT for round nine.


The Champion(s) of Champions

The first four days of the U.S. Open are, funnily enough, primarily about a number of “closed” championships. Representatives from each state have the opportunity to fight for the title of “champion of champions” in five separate invitationals.


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The opening reception for the 2022 Irwin (photo Mark Cieslikowski)


The 6th Annual John T. Irwin National Tournament of Senior State Champions will feature 47 players from 46 states (California sends one representative from the northern part of the state and one from the southern part), including defending co-champion GM Enrico Sevillano (CA-S).


The man to beat in the Irwin: GM Enrico Sevillano (photo Mark Cieslikowski)
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The man to beat in the Irwin: GM Enrico Sevillano (photo Mark Cieslikowski)


The 39th Annual GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions will boast representatives from every state except Alaska and South Dakota. Defending co-champion IM Arthur Guo (GA) will be back, this time as a rising high school senior. Co-champion and regular Chess Life Online correspondent IM Sandeep Sethuraman will not be playing, but he will be covering several rounds of the event for CLO.

The 11th Annual WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions features 43 players, including defending champion FM Ruiyang Yan (CA-N), who is also coming off a strong second-place finish in the 2023 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. Interestingly, while last year’s Haring was a reunion for players in the 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior championship, this year Yan is the only invitee to both events.


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FM Ruiyang Yan is back to defend her title (photo Mark Cieslikowski)


The 13th Annual Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions will have 47 states represented, and will be the only invitational with a representative from Alaska (Elijah Pancoast). FM Brewington Hardaway from New York has been on a tear recently, earning his final IM norm earlier this month, and looks to defend his title one last time before going off to high school.

Finally, the 4th Annual John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions will feature exactly 50 participants. This is the only event without any defending champions competing, so we are guaranteed at least one new “champion of champion,” although I predict we will see several more.



While the games won’t be broadcast online, perhaps the most entertaining part of the invitationals is the 4th Annual FM Sunil Weeramantry National Blitz Tournament of State Champions. This is the only event that is split into sections by rating, rather than age/grade, allowing for some entertaining inter-generational clashes.


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The defending state champs: New York! (photo Mark Cieslikowski)


An additional category of competition is the State versus State Championship, which combines all the scores of representatives from a given state to determine which state produced the best overall performance. This category also offers additional prizes for the top state whose participants’ ratings average under 2100, 1900, or 1600.

All information about eligibility, funding, and the prizes for the various invitationals is available on this year’s program.

All six rounds of the invitationals will be broadcast on US Chess’s Twitch channel, with coverage from five-time Olympiad representative WGM Sabina Foisor and former U.S. Junior champion GM Kayden Troff. Round one begins Saturday, July 29, at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Rounds two and three will be played Sunday, July 29, at 12:00 p.m. EDT and 7:00 p.m. EDT, respectively. Rounds four and five are at the same times on Monday, July 31, and round six will be Tuesday, August 1, at 10:00 a.m. EDT.

In case it’s not clear, this means that all participants in the invitationals will be free to join the U.S. Open for the six-day schedule, and many of them do just that!


Quick Chess, Served with a Side of Blitz

There are side events every day except August 6 this year, with a number of options ranging from Bughouse to blitz and a multi-day Swiss tournament. Information about all of these events described below can also be found here.

Players who only want to play a “weekender” can fit five rounds of game-in-60-minutes chess with a five-second delay in on Saturday, July 29 and Sunday July 30. There will also be one-day quads, with sections based on rating, every day from Monday, July 31, through Friday August 4. The Tuesday quads will be special, with a slower time control, but every other day features the “action” time control of game-in-30-minutes with the same five-second delay.

For those who prefer faster time controls —or, at least, don’t want to have their standard rating risk taking a hit —the U.S. National G/15 Championship will take place on Wednesday, August 2 beginning at noon. If that’s still too slow for your liking, the U.S. Open National Blitz Championship, played without any delay or increment, will allow participants to enjoy 14 games of five-minute chess on Saturday, August 5.

The U.S. Open Scholastic will be held on Sunday, July 30, and is open to all US Chess members (including new members) in grade 12 or below.

And, before that, don’t forget about Bughouse, which begins on Saturday, July 29 at 10:30 a.m.


Meet, Mingle, Delegate

A number of workshops and meetings will take place from August 2 to 4. The Annual Delegates Meeting will follow on August 5 and 6. The time and place for the awards ceremony for the 2023 US Chess Awards Recipients is will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 4, in AG-Ford.


Quick Links:

Main event page

Round-by-round coverage

Pairings page

Live games on uschess.live

US Chess Twitch channel

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