Congratulations to GM Gata Kamsky, the new US Chess Champion!

The U.S. Chess Championship was held at the held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, May 13-25.



No series of tournaments or matches enjoys the same rich, turbulent history as that of the United States Chess Championship. It is in many ways unique – and, up to recently, unappreciated.
In Europe and elsewhere, the idea of choosing a national champion came slowly. The first Russian championship tournament, for example, was held in 1889. The Germans did not get around to naming a champion until 1879.

The first official Hungarian championship occurred in 1906, and the first Dutch, three years later. But American chess fans knew as early as 1845 who their champion was: the little-known Charles Stanley – and many non-players knew it, too, because the title match of that year was well publicized.

Twelve years later the industrious American organizers mounted their first tournament for a national champion. And that event, New York 1857, won by the “pride and soul of chess,” Paul Morphy, was only the fourth true chess tournament ever held in the world.

In its first century and a half plus, the United States Championship has provided all kinds of entertainment.

It has introduced new heroes exactly 100 years apart in Paul Morphy (1857) and Bobby Fischer (1957) and honored remarkable veterans such as Sammy Reshevsky in his late 60s. There have been stunning upsets (Arnold Denker in 1944 and John Grefe in 1973) and marvelous achievements (Fischer’s winning debut as a precocious 14-year-old in 1957, and his remarkable perfect score of 11-0 in 1964, to his record-breaking eight title wins).

The championship has seen scandals and swindles, boycotts and brilliancies, bitter controversy and theoretical innovations. The games have been won and lost by geniuses and drunkards, prodigies and e?migre?s, college dons and coffeehouse hustlers.

It has also been a truly national championship. For many years the title tournament was identified with New York. But it has also been held in towns as small as South Fallsburg, New York, Mentor, Ohio, and Greenville, Pennsylvania.

Fans have witnessed championship play in Boston, and Las Vegas, Baltimore and Los Angeles, Lexington, Kentucky, and El Paso, Texas. The title has been decided in sites as varied as the Sazerac Coffee House in 1845 to the Cincinnati Literary Club, the Automobile Club of Detroit. The U.S. Championship has been held in the auditorium of a fundamentalist Christian college in Pasadena and, in 1984 the Student Union Building of the University of California at Berkeley, as well as the Seattle Center in the shadows of the Space Needle. The most recent title was decided at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, widely recognized as the premier chess club in the country if not the world.


With a heritage line that includes great legends of the game, no series of tournaments or matches enjoys the same rich history as that of the U.S. Chess Championships.

The first player to be termed, by popular acclaim, “U.S. Champion”, was Charles Stanley in 1845.

The first championship to name a true national champion was New York 1857, won by Paul Morphy. It was only the fourth chess championship ever held.

The first “official” U.S. Champion was Jackson Showalter (who is also credited with the invention of the curve ball in baseball) in 1890.

From 1905 through to 1936, the title was decided by a match between the top two players in the country; Frank Marshall holding the title throughout.

The longest gap between title wins is 33 years when Sammy Revshevsky won his first title in 1936 and his last, in 1969.

The first U.S. Women’s Championship was held in 1938 and was won by Gisela Gresser.

The youngest winner of the title at 14 in 1957 was Bobby Fischer. He also holds the record for the most titles won with eight.

The player with the best score is Bobby Fischer, who in 1964 recorded a perfect 11-0.



  • 1845-1857  Charles Stanley, defeated Eugene Rousseau in a match in 1845
  • 1857-1871  Paul Morphy, won the first American Chess Congress in 1857
  • 1871-1889  George Henry Mackenzie, won the 2nd, 3rd and 5th American Chess Congress

Match Champions: 1889-1935

  • 1889 – 1890  S. Lipschutz
  • 1890 – 1890  Jackson Showalter
  • 1890 – 1892  Max Judd
  • 1892 – 1892  Jackson Showalter
  • 1892 – 1893  S. Lipschutz
  • 1893 – 1894  Jackson Showalter
  • 1894 – 1895  Albert Hodges
  • 1895 – 1896  Jackson Showalter
  • 1897 – 1906  Harry Nelson Pillsbury
  • 1906 – 1909  Jackson Showalter
  • 1909 – 1935  Frank Marshall

Tournament Champions: 1936-1980

  • 1936  Samuel Reshevsky
  • 1938  Samuel Reshevsky
  • 1940  Samuel Reshevsky
  • 1942  Samuel Reshevsky
  • 1944  Arnold Denker
  • 1946  Samuel Reshevsky
  • 1948  Herman Steiner
  • 1951  Larry Evans
  • 1954  Arthur Bisguier
  • 1957/8  Bobby Fischer
  • 1958/9  Bobby Fischer
  • 1959  Bobby Fischer
  • 1960/1  Bobby Fischer
  • 1962/3  Bobby Fischer
  • 1963/4  Bobby Fischer
  • 1965/6  Bobby Fischer
  • 1966/7  Bobby Fischer
  • 1968  Larry Evans
  • 1969  Samuel Reshevsky
  • 1972  Robert Byrne
  • 1973  Lubomir Kavalek and John Grefe
  • 1974  Walter Browne
  • 1975  Walter Browne
  • 1977  Walter Browne
  • 1978  Lubomir Kavalek
  • 1980  Walter Browne,  Larry Christiansen,  Larry Evans

Tournament Champions:  1983-2009

  • 1983  Walter Browne,  Larry Christiansen,  Roman Dzindzichashvili
  • 1984  Lev Alburt
  • 1985  Lev Alburt
  • 1986  Yasser Seirawan
  • 1987  Joel Benjamin and Nick de Firmian
  • 1988  Michael Wilder
  • 1989  Roman Dzindzichashvili, Stuart Rachels, Yasser Seirawan
  • 1990  Lev Alburt
  • 1991  Gata Kamsky
  • 1992  Patrick Wolff
  • 1993  Alexander Shabalov and Alex Yermolinsky
  • 1994  Boris Gulko
  • 1995  Nick de Firmian, Patrick Wolff, Alexander Ivanov
  • 1996  Alex Yermolinsky
  • 1997  Joel Benjamin
  • 1998  Nick de Firmian
  • 1999  Boris Gulko
  • 2000  Joel Benjamin, Alexander Shabalov, Yasser Seirawan
  • 2002  Larry Christiansen
  • 2003  Alexander Shabalov
  • 2005  Hikaru Nakamura
  • 2006  Alexander Onischuk
  • 2007  Alexander Shabalov
  • 2008  Yury Shulman
  • 2009  Hikaru Nakamura
  • 2010  Gata Kamsky
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