The future is now — right now — for American chess, as New York IM Marc Arnold has claimed his first U.S. Junior title, and the U.S. Cadet Championship, featuring the country’s top players younger than 16 years old, is wrapping up in Rockville.
One more great thing about chess is that one can play the game irrationally at any age. Today's wild and woolly games come from the opposite ends of the chronological spectrum: a crazy back-and-forth affair from the recent Virginia State Senior Championship in Alexandria and an even more bizarre selection from the just-concluded U.S. Junior Championship in St. Louis, a game that featured seven passed pawns and six queens.
New York GM Gata Kamsky, the reigning national champion, was the first through to this year's U.S. Championship final, defeating young challenger GM-elect Sam Shankland 1 1/2- 1/2 in their semifinal match over the weekend at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
The field is set for next month's 2011 U.S. Championship as veteran GM Gregory Kaidanov and 16-year-old newcomer GM Ray Robson of Florida grabbed the last two spots in the 16-player field.