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Grandmaster Dronavalli among world’s top 10 female chess players competing in US tournament

Saint Louis (USA), June 7 (IANS) While Koneru Humpy and R. Vaishali battle it out in the women’s section of the Norway Chess Championship, another Indian female player Grandmaster (GM) Dronavalli Harika will get into action in the Cairns Cup, which features ten of the world’s best female chess players, starting on June 12.

The Cairns Cup, an elite-level female chess tournament created by the Saint Louis Chess Club, will feature ten of the world’s best female chess players. The event, named in honor of Saint Louis Chess Club co-founder Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield, the tournament will be held from June 12 to 23, the organizers informed in a release on Friday.

As one of the premier women’s tournaments globally, the ten-player round-robin tournament boasts one of the strongest female fields, competing for an increased total prize fund of $200,000.

Besides Harika, the field includes GM Tan Zhongyi of China, Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine, Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia, Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, Alexandra Kosteniuk of Switzerland, International Master (IM) Elisabeth Paeht of Germany, Irina Krush of the United States, IM Alice Lee of USA and IM Anna Zatonskih of USA. The event kicks off on June 12 with the Ultimate Moves, a fun and casual exhibition event featuring 82-year-old Women’s World Chess Champion Nona Gaprindashvili from Georgia and the Cairns Cup field.

“We are proud to again organize an elite international chess tournament created to provide more opportunities for female chess players,” said Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield, Co-founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “We hope by providing a world-class facility and a competitive prize fund, we will help inspire more women to play chess on a competitive level.”

Each round of the Cairns Cup will be streamed live daily from June 13 to 23 at 1 p.m. CT with the expert commentary team of Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan and International Masters Jovanka Houska and Nazi Paikidze.

Gaprindashvili will be an honoured guest at the opening ceremony as part of her world chess tour. She will also host an all-girls simul event at the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF), where she will simultaneously play multiple games at a time, encouraging young girls along the way. Gaprindashvili will also appear at “Ladies Knight” on June 13 at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Gaprindashvili, a living chess legend, was the women’s world chess champion from 1962 to 1978, and in 1978, she became the first woman ever to be awarded the International Chess Federation (FIDE) title of grandmaster. Gaprindashvili is also an inductee to the World Chess Hall of Fame.

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