Cairns Cup brings top female chess players to St. Louis

Ten of the world’s top female chess players came to the Saint Louis Chess Club in February for the first-ever Cairns Cup, an elite-level tournament created specifically for women and named in honor of the co-founder of the club, Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield (née Cairns).

Beginning Wednesday, February 6 and continuing until Saturday, February 16, the tournament had a total prize fund of $150,000, including $40,000 for first, $30,000 for second, and $20,000 for third.

Players competed in a classical round-robin, with one round played each day (except for a rest day), and in the end, GM Valentina Gunina (pictured, top) was the first place winner, with GM Alexandra Kosteniuk taking second place and GM Irina Krush finishing third.

“We are really excited to introduce this new international chess tournament for women,” said Dr. Sinquefield. “We hope this will inspire more women to play chess on a competitive level. We look forward to hosting this tournament for years to come and for it to become one of the premier chess tournaments in the world.”

In conjunction with the tournament, the Saint Louis Chess Club also held a “community day” for girl chess players seeking to earn their Chess Merit Badge for Scouts BSA. With the Boy Scouts of America officially becoming Scouts BSA and opening its programs to girls in February 2019, the event was the first such opportunity ever for the young players (pictured, center) to earn their badges, while also getting tips, photos and autographs from the pros.

The Chess Merit Badge has quickly become one of the most popular badges in the Scouts BSA merit badge catalogue, with more than 200,000 Scouts earning the badge since it was introduced in September 2011.

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Tuesday
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February 2019