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Irina Krush

Covid-19 Survivor
2020 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion!

Irina on the Santa Monica pier in California

Irina Krush on Santa Monica Pier, California


John Bain

Irina Krush has won her 8th U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, edging 2nd Place 17-year-old Carissa Yip by a half point. Krush scored an undefeated 8.5/11 in a 12-player single round-robin. The tournament was held October 21-24, 2020 and had a prize fund of $100,000.

Irina has now won the title eight times! Irina Krush won the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship seven times between 1998 and 2015–once winning the title four times in a row between 2012 and 2015!

Irina now needs one more title to tie Gisela Kahn Gresser’s record of nine titles.

The Record Holder!

Gisela Kahn Gresser 9 time USA Women's Chess Champion 1944 - 1969

Gisela Kahn Gresser
9 Times
U.S. Women’s Chess Champion!

Gisela Kahn Gresser won the title nine times between 1944 and 1969.

Gisela Kahn Gresser was born February 8, 1906 in Detroit, Michigan and died December 4, 2000.

Gresser studied classics at Radcliffe, where she won a Charles Elliott Norton fellowship that she used to continue her studies at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece.

In 1927, she returned to New York, where she married William Gresser, a New York City attorney and musicologist. She was a housewife, and raised their two sons, Ion and Julian.

Gresser was also an accomplished painter and musician, as well as a classical scholar. She went on safari many times, even in her eighties.

Coronavirus Strikes! See below.

Irina Krush at chessboard in park

Covid-19 Survivor

In March 2020, 36-year-old Irina Krush contracted coronavirus and fiercely battled and beat it.

Irina Krush was born December 24, 1983 in Odessa, USSR (now Ukraine). Her father taught her to play chess at age five.

Also at 5 years old, Irina moved with her family from Odessa to the United States–in a wave of Jewish emigration from the USSR–and settled in Brooklyn, New York.

In Brooklyn, Irina attended P.S. 254, where she learned English, and later she went to Edward R. Murrow High School.

At 6 years old, she won her first tournament at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan, and took home a $20 check. She now teaches at the club!

At 14 years old, Krush won the 1998 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship to become the youngest U.S. women’s champion ever.

She went on to win the championship on six other occasions as well–in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Irena Krush 15 years old at chessboard in high school chess club

Irina krush 15 years old at chessboard in high school

In 2013, Irina earned the Grandmaster title.

Irina Krush earned Grandmaster title in 2013

Irina Krush after earning Grandmaster title in 2013

Coronavirus Strikes! What happened?

In recent years, Irina’s focus shifted from competitive chess to teaching. After the last class she taught at the Marshall Chess Club in early March before getting sick, a student told Irina she was not riding the subway home for fear of the coronavirus.

It was the first time that Irina began to consider the implications of the disease in the United States.

Then on March 12, Irina fell sick. By March 17, she developed breathing problems. The next day, she went to urgent care at the Community Hospital in Brooklyn–not far from where she played chess as a child–and tested positive for COVID-19. She spent two days in the hospital.

She returned home, still feeling miserable, and on March 22 she developed severe breathing problems that left her in agony. She could barely sleep–having to sleep sitting upright to alleviate the chest pain.

Fearful that she might not survive, she reluctantly returned to urgent care that night.

“I didn’t want to just die at home alone,” she said.

Irina Krush staring at camera at chessboard in park

Irina back at chessboard recovered from COVID-19

In the days that followed, Irina began to think about the similarities between her ordeal and a very challenging chess game, how everything she had learned through chess was helping her–like staying calm, moving quickly in a difficult situation to prevent further damage and maximizing her chances.

“It’s not just a disease,” she said. “It’s a life trial. Chess players know what it’s like to be in a bad position, to suffer. I realized it was going to be a long game, with no easy victory.”

Recovered now and with her health improving daily, Irina Krush looks forward to winning her 9th and 10th U.S. Women’s Chess Championships!

Teach Chess


Irina Krush

Teaches Chess!

Get the best materials for your chess club!

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Scholastic Chess Workbooks!

Beginner’s Book – Chess Rules For Students

Chess Rules For Students workbook

“Knights Battle”

Chess Rules For Students is a workbook for students learning the game of chess and for beginning students returning to the game. No previous knowledge of chess is necessary. Parents unfamiliar with chess will find this booklet a valuable guide to their child’s new interest.

Chess Rules For Students is designed with students, coaches, and parents in mind. Reading level is appropriate for grade-school use. All major rules of chess are covered, and algebraic notation worksheets are included. Each page is in easy-to-use worksheet format.

A student-friendly Answer Key makes self-correction fun!

Beginners & Intermediate Book – Checkmate! Ideas For Students

Checkmate! Ideas For Students

“Knight Checkmates King!”

Checkmate! Ideas For Students is a workbook for beginning and intermediate students. Checkmate! covers the tactics used in checkmate attacks with clear explanations, diagrams and arrows to pinpoint the key features.

Unlike many other basic checkmate books, Checkmate! categorizes the checkmates by the tactics used to force the checkmate–like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance and Attacking Flight Squares–rather than only the checkmate pattern itself.

The worksheets and Answer Key are clear and simple for the student to use, and easy for the parent, teacher and coach to correct! Fun!

Intermediate & Advanced Book – Chess Tactics For Students

Chess Tactics For Students workbook

“Profiles Face-Off in King’s Shadow”

Chess Tactics For Students contains 434 carefully selected problems in worksheet format.

Chess Tactics has been extensively field tested with elementary, middle-school, and high-school students over a four-year period. This book is ideal for independent seat work as well as for homework and classroom instruction.

The worksheet format and Answer Key enable self-correction with minimal dependence or direct help from a chess teacher, coach, or parent.

Chess for Students Shop Now


Solve a chess puzzle, enter the weekly drawing as often as you like, and win awesome prizes! Winners’ prizes are listed below. If you don’t win this week, try again next week! New puzzles are posted daily!


Below are the weekly prizes we send out! If you don’t win, try again the following week for your chance to win! Click on the prize to learn more about it.

Checkmate In One Prize
Chess Rules For Students Workbook
An instructional workbook designed for students learning the game of chess. Click here to learn more!
Checkmate In Two Prize
Checkmate! Ideas For Students
An instructional workbook containing tactics in worksheet format used to checkmate--like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance, and Attacking Flight Squares!
Checkmate In Three Prize
Chess Tactics For Students
An instructional workbook containing 434 carefully selected problems presented in worksheet format.

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