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Where the Women At, Part 2

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After only one woman entered to qualify for the US Championship at the National Open, automatically going to San Diego despite a negative score and a 1600 rating, it looks like something similar is afoot in Philly. There are two women's spots on offer and only three women paid the qualification fee. One is former qualifier Laura Ross, rated 2200. The other two are rated 1937 and 1837, both have 1/5, and one of them is guaranteed a place in San Diego.

The World Open came too quickly for changes to be made in the qualification rules. The AF4C would like to require at least an even score for future events. Last year's lowest-rated player, Vayserberg (2037), qualified at the Chicago Open with 4/7.


At the National open I got knocked out of the class "A" money in the final round by a young (10 years old?) female. She's rated 1987 currently. Why didn't she enter the Open section? I'm over the personal loss..in retrospect from her standpoint her payday would've been greater by far in the long run qualifying for San Diego (wouldn't THAT have caused a stir her being that young). Was it poor advice from her trainer? Was Mrs. Feingold (whom I congratulate for her shrewdness and daring) better informed? Is it all simply a fluke? I present this as grist for the DD mill.

Doesn't sound much like you're over it. A ten year old girl... Gee, could it possible have been because she wanted to win her class?!

think Noyb, THINK. She had no guarantee of winning a class prize at the National open..if she had instead entered the open section (as discussed here by the grownups a week or so ago) she would've been able to claim an automatic seed into the next U.S. championship. Last year even the last place finisher was paid $2,200..and the experience for a young developing player would be incredible.

I just took a quick snapshot of the top 20 women in the USCF list.

1 Kosteniuk, Alexandra FL 2565
2 Polgar, Zsuzsa NY 2554
3 Zatonskih, Anna OH 2463
4 Krush, Irina NY 2443
5 Levitina, Irina NJ 2384
6 Goletiani, Rusudan NY 2370
7 Belakovskaia, Anjelina AZ 2364
8 Baginskaite, Camilla CA 2342
9 Lu, Xiaosha Sarah CA 2303
10 Abrahamyan, Tatev CA 2300
11 Tuvshintugs, Batchimeg CA 2272
12 Hahn, Anna NY 2270
13 Battsetseg, Tsagaan MD 2242
14 Marinello, Beatriz NY 2201
15 Ross, Laura R NY 2197
16 Morkunaite, Egle CA 2188
17 Epstein, Esther MA 2172
18 Tsai, Cindy J FL 2166
19 Airapetian, Chouchanik WA 2145
20 Sagalchik, Olga

Alexandra Kosteniuk represents Russia and Lu Xiaosha represents China , so she wouldn't be eligible.

Irina Levitina , Camilla Baginsgate and ,possibly, Anjelina Belakovskaya are inactive.

I wonder why Jennifer Shahade's name doesn't feature in the top 20 list.

I also wonder whether people like Zsuszua Polgar and Jennifer Shahade and Anna Hahn fulfill the activity requirements.

6 people are directly seeded
so, my guess would be

Zsuszua Polgar
Anna Zatonskih
Irina Krush
Rusudan Goletiani
Jennifer Shahade
Anjelina Belakovskaya

The other people should be interested in taking part. People like Laura Ross or Vanessa West or even Simone Sobel or Rheanna English should be taking part, especially when free spots are on offer.

Sobel played in the last two Chicago Opens & possibly the last two Foxwoods as well. It gets expensive....

I think most women who are "top" players are not 100% professional, and have other obligations, which makes it difficult to take 2 weeks out of normal life, and go to a chess tournament. Last year, the US Champs were played over Thanksgiving, so most people had 3-4 days off anyway, and it was SLIGHTLY easier to play.

IM Ben Finegold

They'll likely be lifting the qualification fee next year, in favor of having a sponsor for the process.

Seems to me the simplest fix would be to require a 51% score to qualify. That would eliminate the "I'm-the-only-woman-who-paid" problem - which I gather is what's bothering USCF - as well as allowing for a rapidly improving underrated (presumably) young player to get what she deserves.

Sigh. Too bad there HAVE to be "set-asides". If only we had a strong, well-attended, *regular* program to find, get resources to, and develop young woman players.

Hell, how about *any* players?!

Maybe there are not many women because they suck at chess, except a handful of rare cases.

Don't flame me for my point here. I don't personally belive it either. But attendence is damning! Not having the passion to fight still equals sucks.


No, it doesn't. You have many players of both genders who are full of fight and still suck at chess. Lack of desire can result in lack of aptitude, but it does not mean lack of potential.

The other problem is that not only does the system mean low-rated players will qualify, but the championship format means they can actually compete closely for the women's title despite a performance rating several hundred points lower than that of the top players. I don't mind sacrificing some rigor for PR value since the women's title is an affirmative action title anyway. But it got a little out of hand last year.

out of hand last year? it looks to be more out of hand this year. the mixing is just bad. you have too many <2200's in the pool with men 2400-2800. it doesn't make sense. and a woman could win the title while performing much worse that her competition. If Goletiani had drawn Zatonskih last year in the last round, Abrahamyan would have won the women's title without doing much of anything compared to Goletiani, Zatonskih, and Krush.I really thought self proclaimed WFM Michael Casella would win the woman's title but he was excluded from the playoff. :)

It could be worse. At least it's not a rapid knockout tournament...

Anyhow, I figure the initial strategy to roll the women's championship into the overall championship was to add some excitement, but wouldn't it have been more exciting to have women there who qualified under the same rules as the men? I mean there are definitely ones very capable on qualifying normally w/o a spot set aside specifically for women. So my proposal is to just scrap the women's championship (isn't it so sexist?), maybe seed in the top 3-4 women by rating, and let the rest try to qualify like the other half of the population.

Careful whiskeyrebel, that's a big word for you. Lot's of thinking lead can lead to paranoia. She probably did what she wanted to do. Is there anything wrong with that? Or does she have to do what you think she has to do... Consider, whiskeyrebel, consider...

Back to the topic: does the USCF send the same mailings I get to all members..or do women and juniors get special notices about tournaments that apply to them? A qualifying info "rules" memo to the womens mailing list seems to be in order..if there is one. You could fund it by eliminating all the duplicate mailings I receive now.

Just a quick response for those who (understandably) thought the wise course would be for a woman to take what appears to be a guaranteed slot...


There is a small but significant number of women who feel that they ought simply to be working on becoming the best chessplayers they can, not the best "woman chessplayers," and who forego gender-segregated events and invitations.

I'm only rated 1700, but would never play for a woman-only invitation...if I had even a "lottery chance" at a gender-neutral invitation, say if I were rated 2050, I'd pay the qualifying fee, but decline if I qualified only for the woman-only spot.

Quite a few women feel that an "opportunity" to play for a gender-segregated invitation is simply a distraction from their true chess goals.


With regard to the 10 year old girl, I don't know her particular case, but I've often advised parents NOT to seek gender-segregated invitations for their daughters. It's a matter of long-term self-esteem.

It's one thing to seek the strongest competition you can earn the right to play. It's another to enter a strong event through a side door, knowing that there are many other higher rated players (quite a few sitting in the audience) who were denied the same opportunity because of an accident of birth.

You don't feel lucky. You feel that you have something to prove--but unlike true affirmative action programs, it is simply impossible that you have the skills to prove it, not because of any inherent weakness, but because you're just not ready.

So you are set up to fail, fail big, and fail with a very large audience watching. Many coaches and parents feel that that is NOT in the best long term interests of a junior player.


When you create an event where the top of the leaderboard is inevitably all male and the bottom of the leaderboard is inevitably all female UNLESS some male happens to be having a really, really bad day, you are perpetuating the illusion that women can't play chess. When the truth is simply that the event format shows that 2600 players play much better than 2200 players, regardless of gender. (Which should come as no surprise to anyone.)

All the qualifying event invitations should be gender neutral. Then if a 2200 player, either male or female, manages to qualify, good for them. They earned it.

Women already have a championship to play for--the same one the men do. Susan Polgar won the US Blitz Championship 11-1 in 2003, in a field with a number of other GMs who happened to be male, and didn't require any special invitation to do so.

Many women, myself included, find that much more inspiring than watching a group of 2200 players on special invitations lose a lot of games in a field they're not yet ready for.

I appreciate the motivations of the organizers, and wish them well. I think the qualifying events are a fun and interesting innovation, and hope that succeeds also. But I respectfully hope that they abandon the concept of special qualifying slots fo women very soon.

If they feel they MUST issue some gender-segregated invitations, I hope they would limit it to women who are on the top 100 overall list (not the top 100 women list). At the present time that would be Kosteniuk, Krush, Polgar, Zatonskih.

Think about it. An event with the usual mix of guys, and where there were only a few women--but they were GMs and IMs. No longer could you place a bet on a game based simply on gender.

I'd still prefer to have no gender-segregated invitations at all, but at least an event on those lines wouldn't create the continual visual picture that "women can't play chess."


Personally, i consider every gender-segregated invitation left unclaimed or declined a victory for "women in chess." It says we appreciate the sentiment, but we're not interested in a side-door entrance to an opportunity to get our heads kicked in when we know we're not ready for the field.

But it doesn't say we'll never be ready for the event. It doesn't say we don't want the competition.

Where are all the women? Right where they should be: playing right beside you, in ratings-appropriate events. And winning quite a few games, as well. :)


"quick response"? :)

"If they feel they MUST issue some gender-segregated invitations, I hope they would limit it to women who are on the top 100 overall list (not the top 100 women list). At the present time that would be Kosteniuk, Krush, Polgar, Zatonskih."

um. actually, it would be Judit Polgar, and that's it. If the women have to play the the men, they are going to be at the bottom of the crosstable, for the most part. That is not sexist, that is fact. It is based on ratings, not gender. This "affirmative action" is ridiculous. Women are not discriminated against. There just are not that many strong female chess players. What good does it really do to have experts (and below this year) playing in the US Championship? Really it's the men who are discriminated against. A male 1600 has zero chance to play in the US Championship, and that's really how it should be.

Duif, I respect your attitude, but I tend to disagree with the idea that a 2100 rated woman(or man) does not benefit from the possibility of playing in the US Championship(I do agree that the event as a whole is hurt by their participation.) Something that worked well enough for me is this idea of playing 1 class up when I was a B player, I'd play U2000. When I was an A player, U2200 an expert Open, and now,well at 2300, I try to aim for first place(avoid draws, unless necessary, even against GMs in order to learn) instead of my deserved finish right in the middle of the Open. My idea is, that by playing stronger opposition, you grow into it. You start off losing almost every game and then you become accostumed, learn to fight back to their play and you grow into a stronger player. It works. The Soviets said that it is best for a player to make 35-45% against slightly stronger opponents than win almost every game. The key is not to get caught up by your initial results, but to learn. I think the US Championship is a fantastic oppurtunity for growth for a strong expert or a low master. 1 rd per day, a chance to really prepare and study, analyse with your opponent(if he or she is so generous). If you come in last place.... it's not a big deal. You can be proud that you participated at all. And hell, you may even win some nice games. Laura Ross' victory over Stephen Muhammad last year was not bad at all... In short, declining an invitation is really not so advisable
in my opinion.

I am sure Z. Polgar is also on the top 100 US list. The rest.... I am not sure. If it were the FIDE list than there would be maybe 6 or 7 players in the whole event. HN, J. Ehlvest, G. Kaidanov, A. Shabalov, A.Goldin, and maybe Stripunsky and Ibragimov quite soon.

Sorry for the hat trick but I also wanted to point out that I do agree that women's only invitations are unfair. Why not native american, African American, non Russian American invitations. Each of these groups are even more underrepresented than the women's group. I don't think I have ever met a Native American player, much less a strong one. But let's just say strongest players qualify and let everyone do their best.

Zsuzsa is not even in the top 200.

US list? That is impossible.

come on. Zsuzsa is not in the top 100 on the world list. I am referring to the post ..."I hope they would limit it to women who are on the top 100 overall list (not the top 100 women list)."

who would you really rather see duking it out in the US Championship- American chess icon Larry C or Larry C's wife, rated 1847, with all due respect? guess which one qualified at the World Open?

"odds" of qualifiying at the World Open for men: 4/29. for women: 2/3 (plus 4/32). funny

For those who asked about the top 100 list, my apologies if I was confusing. This is about invitations to the US Championship. I was referring to the list of the overall top 100 US players kept by the USCF, not FIDE's world list. GM Zsusza Polgar is currently #39 on the USCF list, and IM Krush is #94.



I think the qualifying spots are a fun idea, and I agree it can be a wonderufl experience for an amateur (male or female) who has earned their way.

For example, last year Chouchan Airepatian became the first woman ever to earn a gender-neutral invitation to the US Championship. She did so by playing the tournament of her life at the Chicago Open, finishing with the same score there as GM Nakamura! She earned her way to the US Championship, and I'm sure it was a great experience for her. (She ended up playing a bit above her rating, doing fine in that sense, and finishing ahead of 2 men who were both higher rated.)

If any 2100 player, male or female, qualified through that kind of performance, I'd certainly encourage them to go.

But when you qualify through "the side door," there are corrosive effects that are hard to explain unless you've experienced them, or see those who have. But I do believe they exist.

On the invitation for African-American players... I do not believe that either Maurice Ashley or Stephen Muhammad (who have both qualified in previous cycles) would want any part of it.

I believe there should be some type of rating floor for qualification. Imagine a weekend golfer competing against the likes of Tiger Woods and David Duval. A firestorm was created when Linda Sorenstam was given a spot in a prestigious golf tournament with top players. Of course she is a professional and would have at least a 2500 rating if golf were rated like chess. BUT imagine is she were a golf 1600 out there hacking like she's chopping weeds from under the front porch. Certainly not made for TV. Of course, Kelly Finegold qualified according to the rules, but will it advance women's chess, or cause damage to it?

I wasn't suggesting the invitation was a good idea. I was pointing out that African Americans are a more underepresented race than women in the US championship(but not among chessplayers as a whole) so if you do one, it is not really fair not to do the other. My thinking is that neither is really a good idea.

This idea of requiring a plus score would seem to be a bad idea for AF4C. Firstly they will lose qualification fees going from the 1 seen at national open to 0. Secondly, it seems as though this standard is very arbitrary. Look at the disparity between what this requires for different events. I mean last year when I was rated only 1780, I managed a plus score in the US Open, but I certainly doubt I would score 5/9 at the World Open. Perhaps the solution is NOT to give away so many spots based on rating and instead get women interested in qualifying by these events. Anyways, the whole idea of having a Women's championship as an essentially an under-prize to the US Championship is rediculous. First of all, it seems bad that a "swiss-gambit" of having half a point less going into the last round than the leaders should be a viable strategy. This is always the problem of some major events as it is and the qualifying process later in the cycle. And the idea of having a US Women's Champion in the same event is strange, say for example Krush or Zatonskih were to win the entire event and Nakamura to come in second, probably unlikely, but would this make the woman the US Champion and Nakamura the US Womens Champion? I'm all for encouraging women to play chess, even giving spots to women specificaly into the US Championship, but I believe if they want to determine the US Women's Champion, they should do it in a seperate event and not try to skew the results. Maybe the solution is instead to reduce the women's qualification fee? I mean one of non-master female players last year qualified for a "men's" spot as it was. Where are some of the bigger name women this year anyways? Maybe they're boycotting this lottery for the women's champion? Anyways, my point is that this problem of lower rated qualifiers is really just a mask of the real problem and the plus score solution is a bad one as it stands.


All good questions.

I think the simple answer is that women already have a championship to play for--the same one that the men do.

And as Chouchan showed last year, women amateurs can qualify for a gender-neutral spot just as men can.


Keep the expanded Swiss for the US Championship, keep the gender-neutral qualifying spots, drop any gender-specific aspects, and you'd have a clean qualifying process and an interesting event. Maybe some years you'd have no women playing, but you wouldn't have any particular barriers to their being there.

The message would be simple: the championship rewards performance, either over time through rating or in individual events through the qualifying spots.

(Oh, and change the USCF Top 100 list system from two lists to three to keep the messages consistent.)


Any woman who has earned a 2000 rating is already in the top 5% of US players. She doesn't need additional special incentives to play.


Setting up programs to help any top 5% US player make the transition from pretty good to international title makes sense.

Programs that attract more new women players who will play on the same basis as men might also be worthwhile (and could be a real growth area for USCF adult membership).

Programs that simply favor one group of top 5% players over another don't seem to make much sense for either the organization or the individuals.

As long as women who are good enough can get a spot in the regular US Championships, and as long as the best women are already in the top 5% of US players, I just don't see any reason to have a separate women's title, however the event is structured.


"drop any gender-specific aspects" is exactly right. Please, it`s about time to drop this BS. People talk about wanting stronger women players. Well so do I. And it seems clear to me one of the things holding the women in the 2450-2520 range down are those very women-only tournaments supposedly designed to "help" them. Judit Polgar, even at her actual strength, could never maintain a 2700+ rating playing only 2300s and 2400s, even with an absolutely dominating record against them. Plus, she`d never have gotten the practice of playing top opposition.

If you want to be the best you can be, you play the best people you can face. Period. Totally eliminating gender-specific qualifying spots for the US championship would be the absolute best thing for women in US chess you could do. I mean, why strive to be a 2500 player to get into the championship when you can be a 2220 player and win big money? Where`s the incentive?

It's nice to see some sensible comments. Women can't ask to be treated as equals and get all this special treatment. Really there is nothing holding back a woman from playing chess, so what is the affirmative action for? I worked hard to get my IM title and it gives me a sense of pride. But it certainly doesn't help me any in tournaments. It's easier for a 1600 player to win big bucks in American opens. I would love to qualify for the US Championship. It's really my last real goal in chess. It's not easy. Sometimes a last round pairing is the difference, sometimes it is just an inferior tiebreak. Questioning a system that puts a 1600 into the US Championship may seem like "sour grapes" , but the system is ridiculous. Obviously the women themsleves don't even care about "women's chess" or we'd have more than one entrant in Las Vegas and more than three in Philly. They really may as well give the unused National Open spot to Medina Parrilla, the only woman who played and did not qualify at the World Open.

Clearly that a 1600 player has a greater chance to win more money in a tournament than IM Viggorito is something that must change in US Chess. I mean, even in Minnesota, how many IMs and GMs went home completely empty handed? But in terms of women's chess, I don't think there is anything wrong with a Zatonskih(sp?) or Krush or even Ross(because of potential) making it in on a woman's qualification spot(no doubt they could qualify on for a man's if they had a good tournament) just as I don't see anything wrong with Browne making it on the senior ticket. As I said earlier there should be a 2300 limit with maybe a few special cases being allowed. Of course a 1700 or 1900 is absurd and everyone realizes that. They are not statistically likely to make a point. But action will no doubt be taken and it is really not such an outrage that everyone is making it to be.

This has been much gone into before, here and elsewhere. Not only in chess, but everywhere affirmative action exists. The idea is that diversity and a broader set of participants is a worthy goal for its own sake. Next comes the fact that minority groups will, for various reasons, find it difficult or simply unappealing to exist as a minority. Then comes the part where you need to do things to encourage them to participate, to overcome the natural tendency of minority members to shy away and the natural difficulties they will have.

Ethnic groups do not face discomfort, difficulty, or significant underrepresentation in the chess world. Women do. We know there is literally nothing preventing women from playing chess. Nothing other than many years of tradition and being a tiny minority. It's a worthy goal to encourage their participation, within reason. If that can be done without hurting the level of their chess or ghettoizing them (women's events, women's titles), great.

Obviously there are serious problems with both the qualifying system and the system at large that produces so few serious female players. But I don't think experimenting is going to cause the end of the world.

On the other hand, if you don't think it's a problem that so few women play, or that there's nothing to be done about it, that's another story. I think diversity should be promoted, and to the point of healthy subsidy.

Apart from good of the players, there is also the fact that women help promote the game overall, like it or not. It helps if the sport can present a varied face, and you can't do that without women. If we want the game to grow, the biggest available population that can be defined is women. And hey, if 30% of every tournament were women, I bet more men would take it up as well. Rinse and repeat, all boats rise, zippity-do-dah. Good in theory, anyway.


What I don't like is the fact that everytime a talented female player comes along, the media (chess and general) has to talk about how attractive she is... or make her into some type of cover girl frolicking through sandy beaches. I've seen all kinds of articles on chess beauties or "chess babes." I'm sure this is not the right approach to publicizing women's chess.


I was going to make mention of Medina, but decided not to because (as an acquaintance) I wouldn't want to put undue pressure on her. She is a talented 14-year old with a 1937 rating and hopefully she will keep the zeal to make her into a champion someday.

My exceedingly dour view of such beauty references is well known. I even found this a while back, me being quoted by someone about the Kosteniuk "phenomenon."


We went into this in epic fashion in the beauty contest thread, where I wrote, "The issue isn't being human or not, it is which attributes to celebrate in our chessplayers. That we value appearance doesn't mean it should be brought to the fore of every endeavor. Would you be concerned about the attractiveness of the doctor performing your heart surgery?"


Having women players attracts other women players (and male players); it's cyclical and would be the case with any group. People like to be with others of their "kind" and are more comfortable in that situation. For various reasons we can debate forever, I don't think women will ever be 50% of chessplayers. We got into that can of worms here:


But continuing to look for ways to increase their participation is worthy as long as it's dramatically low.

I have learned *not* to read the Chessbase Kosteniuk articles on a full stomach.

"Say goodbye to the image of the chess GM as a pudgy middle-aged man!"

"Now Ms. Kosteniuk is showing the world that, yes, chess can be alluring and -- dare we say it? -- sexy!"

Reading this for the n-th time tends to make me lose my lunch.

Mig: To me, you appear to be conflating the concept of "affirmative action" with that of quotas, which is only one type of affirmative action. Generally speaking, "affirmative action" doesn't refer to quotas but to choosing to diversify when given a selection of equally qualified candidates.

Who said anything about quotas? I'm talking about good ways to promote the game to a wider audience. Having more women is a great way to do that. It's a means and an end.

Affirmative action doesn't mean selecting anyone from a field, that's regarding hiring practices or university admissions, two of the common applications in the US. Affirmative action is what underlies all these things: actively promoting minority participation to redress an imbalance. This can mean when there isn't a level playing field for groups that are discriminated against, as with hiring. But I mean leveling the playing field in a broad sense, in terms of comfort level and appeal. Of course women CAN play, but if they don't because the environment is hostile, artificially attracting them in various ways is affirmative action.

This is why I call the US women's title an affirmative action title. It's not necessary as such because women can play equally with men, but it exists to promote the participation of a minority group. This is the same with women's titles and tournaments.

As with all affirmative action this isn't done only to benefit the group in question. The principle is that diversity is a Good Thing for everyone and should be artificially encouraged if necessary until a better balance (who decides?!) is reached.

I would like to say I generally agree with the opinion that the current women's qualifying spots have problems, however I think these comments that there should be rating minimums or whatever for qualifiers is absolute crap. Late in the cycle, like North American Open this year, it will take a relatively lower score to qualify then it did at Foxwoods, and certainly I could set-up a reasonable situation in which some 1900 player both playing well and getting lucky could qualify for a "men's" spot, would this still be something to complain about? I mean you can't just attempt to be so elitist as to say that person didn't earn their spot. I realize that with no women trying to qualify this year it's a serious problem and there are a lot of low rated women, but this is a problem with the women's qualifying process, not with some minimum rating. If a player is willing to risk the $75, and has a good tournament, you shouldn't be able to exclude them, no matter how nice it is for the childish class players peppered with masters that gather on ICC that feel some kind of self satisfaction in seeing a game with a higher number next to the person's name.
As for the issue of class players having an easier time winning money than a good number of titled players, this may be true, and it is a serious problem, but the solution is in fact not to redistribute money as for most tournaments it is the large prizes for the class sections that actually create the extra money that goes towards to open at all since these players pay the same entry (except for when GMs and IMs pay none). The solution to this problem is to bring chess to a state where these large events can actually provide sponsors with an image they're both willing to pay for and willing to associate with. How can you expect a prize fund supported soley by entry fee to be distributed top heavy. I agree that 80%+ of the money that's brought home from a tournament shouldn't be by amateurs, but if they're paying 90%, they shouldn't get 20% either.


Affirmative action was never about promoting those with objectively lesser qualifications into an arena where they have to produce immediately.

It was about opening a door to an OPPORTUNITY to improve.

Getting someone into college, or into a training program, or even into the lowest rank of a job hierarchy is a totally different thing than admitting them to a two week national championship.

You're not saying, "Here are two equally qualified candidates, we'll let the woman in."

And you're not saying, "Let's open a door for previously denied women so they can improve their talents."

You're just dropping an unqualified woman into a two week high pressure performance situation. Then letting everyone watch her lose. And that's not sending the right message about what women can do in chess.


Back in World War II, the Allies faced a problem with their aircraft flying over Europe getting shot down. They could put more steel plating on the planes, but the plating was heavy, and reduced both speed and mileage.

So they started a study. Every plane that came back was examined carefully, and copious notes were made marking every place that had been hit.

The problem with that strategy? They were measuring the planes that came back! Not the ones that crashed...

Once they realized the mistake, they went to the crew, who said "protect the pilot and the fuel tank, and the plane will come back."

I do believe diversity is a good thing. And given that adult women are the majority of members of many competitive game associations in the US (among then Bridge and Scrabble), it's a source of members and income the USCF should be considering.

But any special program that focuses on women who are already in the top 5% of all US chessplayers is just measuring the planes that came back.

And any event that is structured so that it inevitably shows men in all the top positions and women in almost all the lowest ones is NOT going to attract women who are not already involved in the sport.



You make an exceptionally good point about sponsors being needed to support a professional class.

Amateurs have to rely on a percentage of the prize money because they CAN'T attract sponsors.

But professional players can and should be able to draw in support.

It's not uncommon, for example, in the LPGA for a professional who made $5,000 in prizes to have over $40,000 in corporate sponsorship. The same is true for US cyclists.

But I'm sure Mig will tell us that belongs in another thread. ;)

Still, a very good point...


I'm not sure where you get the idea that I think the current qualification system is without problems, Duif. I was explaining a general concept of affirmative action for women in chess.

The bottom-up vs top-down argument is valid for men and women. It's the old chicken and egg problem. Girls need examples to aspire to and the visible potential of a life in chess. "How to find the next Fischer?" is the old question. Where do you put the money, the US Ch or scholastic programs? If you want to create professionals, you need both.

Obviously the current system isn't working; I said as much above and in the previous item about this topic. If the top ten women participated it would be a respectable field. Why don't they? Would it be worth trying to get them to play?

As for personal sponsors, that's going to be incredibly rare. There's no big product to sell, no TV time. Maybe the top one or two, and perhaps a few very attractive women. Pro chess players just aren't visible enough in the US.

Well I can understand the issue about a 1900 man(probably too weak but 2100 definitely I could see) qualifying late in the cycle and I say to you that I don't want to see him in the championship either. Actually, I don't think players below 2000 should be allowed in the Top Section(I suppose you could not call it the Open Section) at all. But this is a side issue. I have already given one idea for how to decide the field(mostly inviting the top 64 and then filling the rest however you want with a 2300 rating limitation). Another idea is to make it so that qualification is based upon consistent results over the previous year. Maybe it could be based upon average performance rating(minimum 2 or 3 tournaments) in certain elite events. That could also prevent alot of the swiss miracles from happening---where one player somehow does better than another while performing 300 or 400 points weaker. And with due respect, it is not about watching players with higher numbers many of whom I have to play in Swisses all of the time. It is about keeping the closed championship different from the US Open or the World Open. Keeping the tournament special with only the best players. I think that is a reasonable enough goal. Don't you ?


I'm sorry if I wasn't clear--I did understand that you recognized various issues with the current sturcture, and of course, it's an evolving one.

I'd like to suggest that we not consider "scholastic" the place to start recruiting, though--what the USCF needs is more adult members. And that's an area where clearly we lack female members.

I think enough role models already exist...just in the last three years, Laura Ross made her #1 on an overall list, Susan Polgar won the US blitz championship, Chouchan qualified for a gender-neutral invitation to the US Championship. So the time has come to look at how we bring more adult women in at the amateur level, and how we make the sport accessible to fans both male and female.

On personal sponsors and fan outreach, see my article and follow-up at Chessbase recently:



Sponsorship is only rare because we make it so difficult.

I personally had corporate sponsors on a small level throughout my active career, from the time I was rated 1500 through 1800.

It has nothing to do with being a model type, and everything to do with understanding what businesses expect from a sponsorship arrangement. I never oversold where I was relative to other chessplayers ("talented amateur" was the usual description), but I was still a good story and a good business partner.

My very first sponsorship offer came when a woman who was my boss told me about her role in supporting two wannabee golfers, and that led to some tournament stories about chess. She offered to put together a syndicate to support me if I wanted to turn pro. I didn't, but later on I worked out a number of small sponsorship arrangements for everything from travel support to equipment purchases.

So it can be done in the way it's done in any sport--small sponsorships at lower levels, gradually working up as the player improves.

Finally, with regard to the top 10 women--it all depends on the structure of the event. If the top 10 women are still among the bottom 25 players in a 64 player field, it's not the right kind of message. I'd rather see a 2100 player like Chouchan get in on a gender-neutral invitation than seed in a 2300 player to #40 in a field dominated by 2600 male players.

Have faith, Mig--the women WILL get there on their own, as long as we bring enough of them in to the sport. :)

Given the current state of crisis in the USCF, I'd focus on things that have an immediate payback, and that means

a) recruiting adult female players (probably our largest potential growth area)

b) setting up good sponsor support, ala the US Cycling organization, so that money can be funnelled to the pros without taking it away from the organization.


Dear Mig, You seem to be very high on enforced"diversity" and affirmative action. actually ,Many of us see affirmative action as another form of discrimination;"negative action",if you will.Its a form of prejudicial quotas in the name of diversity of race & gender instead of merit! It rarely works as the do gooders who force it on society intend it to.
This is certainly the case with IM Fluffy's hard work & payouts to qualify in vain, while an amateur 1600 who wont understand how she loses gets to play the very cream of the US crop.
Lets face it,Chess, of all endeavors, is in the LEAST need of affirmative action.One's rating says it all about the player' skill level.this and truly strong qualifying results should be the selection criteria to have a better, stronger championship.
Im not going to repeat my self, but I laid it all out yesterday in my first post under "road to San diego"at this site;please read it. best regards, Modernman

I laughed in the U.S. Championship a few years ago when they kept comparing Hana Itkis to Fischer by saying she was the youngest ever to qualify. That was poor journalism... misinformed and just plain wrong!!

Hana, who recently played in the under-2200 section of the World Open, had a very low score. Fortunately she wasn't crushed by that, but why isn't she trying to qualify again??? Makes you think.

In efforts to champion the accomplishments of female chess players, the media really does more damage with these references.

Just checked...

Hana score one-half point from nine rounds.

Duif, you wrote:
"I personally had corporate sponsors on a small level throughout my active career, from the time I was rated 1500 through 1800.

"It has...everything to do with understanding what businesses expect from a sponsorship arrangement. I never oversold where I was relative to other chessplayers ("talented amateur" was the usual description), but I was still a good story and a good business partner.

"My very first sponsorship offer came when a woman who was my boss told me about her role in supporting two wannabee golfers, and that led to some tournament stories about chess. She offered to put together a syndicate to support me if I wanted to turn pro."

So, Duif, can you please go in to a little more detail so we can learn from your experiences.

I don't think it should be so difficult for GMs to get sponsorship -- at least enough to pay their entry fees and travel. If the GMs are willing to "work" a few hours here and there giving simuls, signing autographs, giving lectures, etc., they could attract sponsorship this way, basically just by being accessable to the amateur player. Maurice Ashley incoporated a version of this at the HB, where he required GMs to work an hour for their "free" entry. In effect, the HB Foundation was the sponsor in this case.

One other possible example of sponsorship at the local level: Barnes and Noble, Borders, Wal-Mart, etc., strikes a deal with the USCF, and what each side gets is the following: The sponsor gets to attach their name to the tournament; the class players, if they spend a minimum dollar amount with the sponsor, gets a percentage of their entry fee subsidized. Very simple. Everybody wins.

This is just one example out of multiple permutations of this idea.

Howard Goldowsky

Itkis got 5.5/9, not .5/9. quite a difference. If she had played in the Open she would have likely qualified, but the nice thing for her is she can play in any qualifier and have a great chance. must be nice!


Getting local sponsorship is something that most pro athletes do in most "niche" sports, from track to ice dancing.

I could write pages on this subject, because it's easier than most people think, but it's all about getting the details right.

I'll introduce the basic concepts here, then if people want to pursue it we can go to a different thread. (Or, Mig, maybe you want to move this right away with just a pointer? I DO want to answer the question, but I don't want to flood the topic.)


Big name companies are the hardest to get as sponsors (I never even tried for one of those for myself, although I've worked with a number during my business career, and have some knowledge of how their programs work).

I think you are on exactly the right track there--they generally prefer to have an organization such as the USCF or at least a CCA to work with.

I've already made a number of suggestions along those lines in my chessbase article, and the US Cycling organization provides an excellent model for a low budget operation.



I'd be glad to discuss those ideas more in detail with any organization interested, but as it's a lot of detail that's not relevant to individual players, I think this message board is not the place to do it. People can contact me if they're interested in pursuing that discusison.


For individual players, think local. People will sponsor you for one of four reasons:

a) they have something they want to sell directly to YOUR fans or peers

b) they want their business to be associated with your image OR the image of chess

c) they are individuals who just think it's cool to be associated with a professional competitor in a high class activity (doctors and lawyers are sometimes good sponsors)

d) they like you personally and want to help your career


In every case, you need to "know your story" (again, see my chessbase article). You need to have a 60 second version (sometimes called an elevator story), a 5 minute version, a 10 minute version (good for radio shows), a 2 paragraph printed version (good for press releases), a one page printed version, and a website version.

You need to be absolutely truthful, never oversell yourself, and always provide information that can be independently verified.
The worst thing you can do is embarass a spopnsor by having them repeat something you said that turns out not to be true. That's why the printed material is important. If you win a class prize, that's great--but make sure your sponsors or potential sponsors get the difference between that and winning the tournament.

(By the way, one of the most important things an organization can do is to provide this independent verification of accomplishments. That's why things like tournament standings, money lists, and player profiles on an organization site tend to help everyone.)


OK, so you know who you are. Now know what you need.

Do you need a new chess board? Help with travel expenses? Entry fees? Coaching fees? Here is where you need to be as specific as possible.

During your first year with any sponsor, you should generally ask ONLY for event-specific items or equipment or perhaps coaching expenses. Nothing that might be "living expenses" or even "marketing expenses."

Part of knowing what you need is knowing when you'll need it. You must (and I cannot emphasize this enough) have a calendar of what your competition activities will be for the next two years. It doesn't have to be written in stone, it can change depending on various results, but you have to have both a training plan and a competition plan. We can get into those details later.

You're going to put together a sponsor kit (don't let that sound scarier than it is, they're pretty simple at first), and it needs to include the calendar.


What will your sopnsors get? Ah, here's the creative part!

First, know that some sponsors just want contact and gratitude, especially for small amounts.

The ACU’s (motorcycle association) Dave Luscombe advises about “the importance of keeping in touch with sponsors throughout the season. Keeping them up to date with progress as well as offer some hospitality at race meetings. It all makes a difference when you ask for help next year”

You're going to want to write progress reports four times a year that talk about what you're doing and how it's going. You'll post these on your website and send them to your sponsors. And you'll include the sponsors' names.

So the minimum your sponsors will get is a thank you in your newsletter, and maybe a plaque (think about the plaques you see in local businesses that honor their sponsorship of scholastic sports teams, for example).

After that, there are usually three kind of sponsor rewards: personal contact, logo work, and appearance work.

Personal contact means contact WITH you. One of the coolest things you can do is a hospitality meeting at a tournament, even a local event. These can get big and fancy, but they can also be simple.

You might just invite your local sponsors to join you for brunch (each person paying their own way) during an event.

Of course if you do any public speaking, always invite your sponsors, and always acknowledge them from the podium.

Throughout, you want your sponsors to know that you recognize that they are an important part of your success.

There are many more things you can do in terms of personal contact, but it often varies by individual.

Then there's the logo thing. When I went to the World Open when I was a 1600 player, one of my sponsors had paid for a new roll up board and bag, and $50 towards travel expenses. A small amount, but very helpful to me. They also gave me one of their small logo binders.

I used the binder to hold my score sheets, and made sure they got a photo of me playing at the event with the logo visible. Now this wasn't a contracted agreement--they didn't even know it was going to happen. But they were really, really pleased.

I know Peter Leko has sometimes worn special shirts with his sponsor's logo on the collar. Very elegant, but certainly visible in photos.

There are a number of other logo opportunities, of course, varying by level of sponsorship. (If your sponsor already does coffee mugs with their logo, for example, that's easy.) Start thinking about what you might offer and when.

Anything that can be formalized can be listed in the sponsor kit.

Finally, appearance work. This can be anything from speaking to company employees, doing a simul at the sponsor's chosen location, or appearing at something for the sponsor's customers. Again, you can think of ways to formalize this and put it in your sponsor's kit. A lot of these are designed individaully for sponsors, though. So really just be aware of the possibility.

Oh, one more point: syndication, which is used in golf and tennis, is an entirely different kind of sponsorship, where investors buy shares in your syndicate and in turn get back shares of your prize money and endorsement money. These can be highly complex legally and at this point I don't really see anyone below perhaps Nakamura's level being a likely candidate, and I'm not sure it would be a good idea for him from a business standpoint. So if someone OFFERS you a sponsorship contract, make sure you read all details carefully, as other sports use models that might not translate well to chess.


So you know who you are, you know what you need, and you know what you can give back. It's time to start asking for help.

Obviously there's a whole lot that goes into this, and again we can talk about details in another forum. But sometimes it really is as simple as going to a local business and saying, "I'm a tournament chess player, and I'm looking for sponsors for the coming year." If you've done a good job with your story and your sponsor kit, this becomes a lot easier for YOU.

Most people find it easier to ask for $100 towards travel expenses for the state championship then just some random and undefined "sponsorship."

Anyway, who you ask, how you ask, what you ask for, will depend very much on your individual situation. I just want to reassure people that it's probably easier than you think it is, IF you're organized about it.


I cannot emphasize this enough: you MUST use the money for the purpose it was intended. If you ask someone for $100 towards travel expenses, you can't turn around and spend it on coaching fees without asking them first and getting a written approval. And you certainly can't spend it on rent!

I strongly recommend setting up a separate savings or checking account and putting all sponsorship money into that, then drawing it out only for the predefined purposes and keeping a record of its use.

You don't have to get overly complicated on this, but the more businesslike you are about the arrangement, the easier it will be for sponsors to trust you with their money.

I hope this is enough to start generating ideas. Sponsorship doesn't only mean big companies paying big amounts. In fact, most sports sponsorship in the US and UK is on a much smaller level

So, to recap, I believe personal sponsorship is entirely feasible for most US chessplayers at an 1800 level and above. Maybe an 1800 player only gets $200 a year--but obvoiusly that's better than not getting anything!

The five steps are pretty simple:
1. Know your story
2. Know what you need
3. Know what you have to give in exchange
4. Start asking
5. Keep good records


Most niche sports encourage their pros to go after sponsorships, and in fact provide a number of resources to help.

So why don't we do this in US chess? A lot of reasons, I think.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people tried to set up various sponsorship and endorsement deals with Bobby Fischer, and almost all fell through. So instead of setting a precedent for comemrcial sponsorship, it may have helped create the notion that chessplayers don't WANT sponsorship.

Because of its upperclass image, there may be the illusion that chess is a "gentleman's game," like polo, and that chessplayers don't need sponsorship.

A significant number of chess stars from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, came from formerly communist countries, and may not have had a tradition of individual sponsorship. I know that in the 80s when I talked to IM Boris Kogan about getting him some sponsors for his coaching efforts, he was so uncomfortable with the idea that we didn't pursue it.

Our organizations generally don't promote sponsorship. Again, see my chessbase article for some more discussion of this.

All of this leads to statement's like Mig's very understandable one that personal sponsorship is likely to be "rare."

But I don't see any reason why it needs to be. After all, a Master is already in the top 2% of tournament players. In most niche sports, someone at that level would be expected to have some level of personal sponsorship. Our community should expect the same.


Nice post Duif. Thanks for elaborating. I think you should take this post, along with the article you wrote for ChessBase, combine the two, and submit it to the new editor at Chess Life. Your article would be useful, and at the very least, stimulate discussion with a wider audience.

Plus, Chess Life could use some good articles.


No fluffy... Itkis got .5/9 in the U.S. Championship that she played in. They were comparing her to Fischer.

She played in the under-2200 section this past World Open because I also played there. However, she is not trying to qualify again. Why is this the case? Was she discouraged from her previous performance. You see the point?

Thanks, Howard.

I would hesitate to put this in CHESS LIFE, because I think it's best suited for those rated 1800 and up, who are a small minority of CL's readers.

I would be happy to help the USCF put together some info they could perhaps put on their Website as a recommendation for those rated 1800 and up. Or perhaps even use in a seminar at the US Championship or US Open.

Many sports organizations offer similar info for their top pros and top amateurs.

oops, that should have been "new pros and top amateurs." The top pros normally already have business managers and are working on a different level.

Well, okay she could be discouraged and therefore not want to return but I think that would be a bad attitude to take. I mean her expected score was very likely not much higher and I am sure she learned a great deal. I am sure that she realizes that she is not Fischer in almost anyway that you could think to make a comparison and that that is probably not a bad thing by most points of reference. In addition, Fluffy makes a good point that she could try to win the cash here and then at the last minute play a qualifier and make it. We'll see if that is indeed her plan.

Oh, and just in case anyone does decide to pursue the idea of a seminar at a major event, I would title it "Working with Sponsors: Tips for Pros and Top Amateurs." NOT "Getting a sponsor," which creates a different atmosphere and puts the wrong kind of pressure on any guest speakers you get.


Unfortunately, some of the things that women learn when they get a gender-restricted invitation to an event for which they would not otherwise qualify is that:

a) no one takes them seriously

b) some people feel a great deal of resentment

c) they are inevitably going to be asked to explain, dozens of times, why women are so much worse at chess than men. Since they themselves appear to be a case in point, this is
particularly painful.

d) losing hurts, even if you are expected to based on your rating

I don't know anything about Ms. Itkis' situation, but I do know a number of young women who have decided they just want to play in ratings-appropriate events (perhaps playing up one or two classes) because it lets them concentrate on chess rather than on sociology.

ok Daaim, I thought you meant at the World Open <2200. there she got 5.5. Listened to your interview with Lawyer Times. glad he did well, he's an old friend of mine. I like the drum website and what it does.
It's interesting that an article for 1800+ players may not be great for Chess Life. I pose this question- why do titled players not get free USCF membership? I do not think this is arrogance. The magazine is pretty much worthless for any titled player. Am I paying $50/year to get a few tournaments rated? Free USCF membership for GM, IM, FM and the corresponding W titles would at least show some recognition and support for those who strive for and achieve these goals. There are few enough players that it would not be terribly expensive for the USCF and it would certainly show a little good faith for the country's top players.

Maybe just IM and GM just like in the tournaments although I would not mind FM personally...

For the record, GMs do recieve free USCF memberships don't they? And I agree Chess Life material may be a little too accessible sometimes. I believe the USCF makes too much effort to publish something rather than to publish something useful. A perfect example is when they charge absurd amounts for those little bulletins at the National Open and US Open. In the past they've made some slight effort to have some annotations, but when they just put EVERY game from the Open section and if they have time maybe 2 or 3 randomly chosen games from other sections, there is no attempt at quality control there. The irony is that most of the chess life subscribers would get more out of the class-level games annotated by a master than a master-level game annotated since it's a little like learning to run before you can really walk. However with TWIC coming out every week, there is no need to publish these un-annotated games like they're gold. I think I should write for chess life and just have my own column where I have two computers play random moves until the game ends (probably in a draw??) and then annotate like 10 of them per issue, it could be almost as exciting as much of the chess life content, and certainly would be less redundant.

Oh, and I forgot to mention more current. I love when chess life covers events like 6 months after they occur.


Sorry for the confusion... I wasn't clear. Too much writing lately.

If you're a friend of Lawyer Times, then you must be an OK guy. (smile) The guy is absolutely a class act... a friend of mine as well.

Your suggestion is interesting, but I'd rather see the titled players writing for the magazine. Chess Life has lost that element. I must say that the chess journalism has a ways to go in the U.S.

Thanks for the compliments! Enjoy!


You really hit on something here. Before I started 'The Chess Drum,' it was supposed to be a bi-monthly magazine, but when the Internet ascended to the commercial realm, having a site was a no-brainer. Any webmaster can tell you the importance of dynamic content.

Nothing brings this point home more than in the movie, "Minority Report" when Tom Cruise is fleeing the authorities, he notices a guy reading the newspaper and the news content changes to show that he is a fugutive on the run.

I would say that the U.S.C.F. should leverage the magazine by improving the website. Many magazines do this and it is very, very effective. One of my favorite magazines, Business 2.0 has all types of features that push you from the magazine to the website and vice versa. The U.S.C.F. could also send short newsletters to its members. This will cut down on the six-month old news you're talking about.

I realize that when web journalists cover events, the magazines get cut out. We have a body called the Chess Journalists of America, but these issues may not have been discussed yet.


Those would be web newsletters of course... pretty much like what Chessville does (very well I might add). The USCF will have to push and pull the readers to its complementary information sources.

I have considered writing for Chess Life. I have an interesting (to me) article about my dramatic norm hunt in Budapest that is not quite as juicy as Taylor's, but it's much better. ;) But to tell you the truth, I never submitted it, because I don't really care much. I may sound jaded, but what does the USCF do for me? I get charged every year to have a few games rated. Big deal. Most titled players don't care about their USCF ratings, if they do care about rating, it's FIDE. I have been helped by individuals (Donaldson, Jarecki), but not the USCF, which is all about politics and publishes a magazine that takes me 30 seconds to read. I'd write for next to nothing too. Everyone should email the USCF begging them to have fluffy write for them. :)
Josh, you say "for the record" and then you are not sure about what you say? Do GM's get free membership? Why not IM's? The magazine is as worthless to me as it is to a GM. Even FM's and W's should. Who reads Key Crackers? The whole magazine is old news and filler. I think this month there is a 4 page article about draw offers. WHo reads that? I'll always remember in a June or July issue one year reading about the previous year's US Championship.
Many strong players get NIC magazine. It's all there is. The internet has taken up a lot of slack, but I still miss Inside Chess!

Key Crackers, Check in the Mail....aha its a useless magazine. No coverage of International events. Old news and the only big news is about the Open tournaments here. Sometimes, I wonder who these USCF people are? Do they know about tournaments like Linares? Do they care about members at all? It would be great if some one writes the inside story about this secret organization.

Of course the idea is that Linares is so well covered that it makes little sense to do it in chess life, even though they do it 6 months late. The idea is a little like the Local newspaper or news channel. This can either be well done or disastrously done, in Chess Life's case it is just pointlessly done. Probably the draw offer article was one of their better efforts as far as I can tell.

I completely agree that titled players shouldn't have to pay for their memberships. Sadly there is quality chess content out there (I subscribe to New In Chess Magazine) and it's absoultely fantastic, even sometimes it's slightly delays or split up (the olympiad was covered in two separate issues). I think the USCF should put their magazine online at least and make it so you have to enter your membership ID and PIN or whatever to view it. From there they can stop using the magazines to promote political agendas. There was an earlier point about making chess players recognizable. Maybe each month they could take 4 or 5 featured strong players and give a little bio, have them annotate some of their favorite games, tell their little chess story. Certainly something that could be interesting to here. Everybody asks how they can get better at chess, well, why not here the opinions of players who have actually done it. The chess drum does this kind of thing with their players and I think it can be absolutely fascinating. I realize this may not always be content geared towards higher rated players, but I think that Chess Life could come closer to emulating New In Chess Magazine, even if only covering US events and not world events. Why not have the top 3 finishers of the National Open each annotate 1 or 2 of their games from the tournament and tell you what they were thinking. These top players could even get paid for this quality content. This is all the problem with the cycle of the US Chess, how can you build any marketable base if you can't keep your news current. I believe I recieved a January or February Chess Life this year that referred to Shabalov as the current US Champion, even if you have delayed news you still might know when it will be published.

good idea Josh. Chess Life used to do a monthly like that on strong American players. They were not GM's, but strong masters. Profiles included New England legend John Curdo and Dimitri London. The USA has many interesting strong players that are very nice people. I really think USCF members from top to bottom may like to read profiles like this. At least they are interesting reading. Maybe I can move to Timbuktu and be the CL editor! We are a bit of thread topic now, so I suggest we also have a monthly profile on a female player. :)

I agree with some of the above posters. I have spent years passing right by "Key Crackers" and "The Check is in the Mail", and I wish these articles would be removed from CL. They belong in specialized magazines for those few who like problem solving and correspondence (I was a correspondence player myself, so I am not picking on these people, just stating that these articles don't really belong in a mainstream chess magazine). And while I do enjoy, to a certain degree, the articles by Evans, Soltis, and Pandolfini, isn't it odd to have major articles every month for years by people who no longer play the game? It is not terrible, but it makes the magazine feel dated. Where are the regular, topical, major articles by current players? And, I completely agree about the very outdated material in CL. It is shameful.

I don't know if anybody is still watching this thread, but I have news. It's official a 1000 player is paying to qualify for a women's spot at the US Open according to the entry.

57 Foley, Sayaka B 12918743 AZ TRAD Q

rated 1074


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 4, 2005 2:00 AM.

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