Brian Jerauld

Brian Jerauld is a chess instructor to area students, including his own children, and a student of the game himself through the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. He is also a Mizzou journalist with a decade of experience writing about boats, sports and other odds and ends. This column is a weekly look around St. Louis, the U.S. Capital of Chess.

Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan plays a seven-board simul during a Venture Cafe gathering in the Cortex Innovation Community in early March.
Provided by Cortex Innovation Community

The United States Chess Federation, the governing body for chess competition in the U.S., recently announced that it has opened an office here in the nation’s capital of chess. The new St. Louis hub looks to handle marketing and development efforts for the organization, which received 501(c)(3) non-profit status last year, while customer and membership services continue to operate from its headquarters in Crossville, Tenn.

Hikaru Nakamura is currently ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 7 in the world.
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Just one problem with being at the absolute peak of your game: There is nowhere to go but down.

Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, the longtime American No. 1, is on absolute fire. A man on a mission, he spent the last half of 2014 making good on his intentions to become a World Champion candidate, and has spent the early portion of 2015 trampling on some of the world’s finer events.

Irina Krush
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Like a bulldozer, she has been demolishing American women for over a decade. Or maybe decimating. Obliterating. The aftermath of her participation often leaves these competitions looking more like massacres. Or maybe slaughters. Exterminations.

And best of all, just like her methods, her name is Krush -- a pun that would have worn thin years ago if it all weren’t so blatantly obvious.

Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA, looking at a portion of the WCHOF's Bobby Fischer exhibit during October's opening ceremony of Living Like Kings.
Carmody Creative | World Chess Hall of Fame

Last chance to experience Living Like Kings: The Unexpected Collision of Chess and Hip Hop Culture, as the endgame nears for the two-floor, multifaceted art installation on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The continuously evolving exhibit, exploring how chess has interwoven within the urban subculture, has included rotating features of music, art, dance and spirituality and now enters final stages before its close next month.

The St. Louis Metro Class Chess Championships pair players with similar rankings.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The St. Louis Metro Class Chess Championships were held recently at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center, drawing in a record 60-plus participants looking to cash in on a quick title.

Chess classes have been shown to have educational benefits.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The rhetoric has floated around for decades.

 “It develops your memory, improves your test scores — chess is good for your brains!” They always say. “It boosts your math! And it helps your science! Chock full of cognitive benefits, indeed!

Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The 2015 U.S. Chess Championships are due back in St. Louis in April, marking the seventh consecutive year that America’s chess capital will present the national crown. The two-week tournament will once again be hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in the Central West End, inviting 12 of America’s top Grandmasters to fight for the throne, as well as 12 of our best women to compete for the title of U.S. Women’s Champion.

Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis | File Photo

The acquisition of Grandmaster Wesley So was the big news coming out of 2014. The Philippine-born prodigy and former Webster University star joined the U.S. Chess Federation after cracking the world’s top 10. But just a month into 2015, So is already setting new headlines -- the latest causing a literal stir on the top.

Ray Robson
File photo | 2012

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis has once again received the bid as host to the annual U.S. Chess Championships: The 2015 event, along with the U.S. Women’s Championship, will be a 12-player round robin held March 31 through April 14 in the Central West End. It will mark the seventh consecutive year that St. Louis has hosted the national title event.

Wesley So
Courtesy of Susan Polgar

He arrives in the U.S. as a promising recruit from the Philippines, and in two years makes the jump from the top 100 to No. 10 in the world. He becomes an instant collegiate star, a freshman phenom who leads St. Louis’ powerhouse Webster University program to back-to-back national titles — and then plays the nation’s heartstrings by announcing that his promising future will be played under the red, white and blue for the burgeoning U.S. Chess Federation.