Kudos to Krush!

Irina Krush in a blitz tournament (five minutes a game) at the Polgar Chess Center in Queens.

Irina Krush, a member of my fantasy chess team and a friend whose chess career I’ve followed closely for a few years, can rejoice at her strong performance (four wins, including one over U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov, one draw, and one loss) at the just-concluded National Open in Las Vegas. 

Susan Polgar, hardly a chess slouch herself (a former women’s world champion, she is the only women in the United States to hold the title of grandmaster—and the first woman in the world to earn the GM title the same way men do), reports on her blog that Irina gained fifteen rating points at the National Open to become just the third female player in the country whose rating has broken the 2500 barrier.  Irina deserves a warm welcome back home in Brighton Beach.

Now rated 2512, Irina sees no intrinsic reason why women can’t play as well as men but doubts whether there will ever be many women in chess.  “You have to be obsessive to play the game well, and women aren’t as obsessive as men,” she told me when I interviewed her for King’s Gambit: A Father, a Son, and the World’s Most Dangerous Game.  “I’m not fanatically crazy about chess.  I like the game but I’m not going to study it ten hours a day like many male grandmasters did when they were teenagers.”


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