The U.S. Women's Chess Championship dates back to 1937. The tournament is a 9-round event using the Round Robin pairing system, in which every player plays every other player and the highest score wins. Time controls will be the classical 40 moves in two hours, with the remaining moves in one hour. There will also be a 5-second increment per move.
Invitations will be sent to the top nine U.S. women players by ranking based on the August 2009 United States Chess Federation rating list. An invitation will also be sent to the defending champion, Olympic gold medalist Anna Zatonskih. The championship will have a purse of $64,000, with $15,000 awarded to the winner, the highest first prize in its history. In case of even scores, prize funds will be evenly divided between winners.
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis also is the site of the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, which will take place from May 7 through 17. The details of that tournament, including a $64,000 Fischer Memorial Prize, were announced earlier this year.