Johnny Buse | St. Louis Public Radio

Johnny Buse

Johnny Buse

Ways to Connect

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A journalist, professor and YouTube celebrity walk into a library. They’re followed by a hip-hop enthusiast, website editor and a first-degree black belt. They spend an hour and a half talking about chess, hip hop and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

There’s no joke here: Wednesday afternoon, Adisa Banjoko, journalist and founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation, led a panel discussion representing the above professions at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ed Gonzalves lives in Providence, R.I., where he works for the U.S. Postal Service. Gonsalves self identifies as a sports nut with a penchant for statistics -- he's a WNBA season ticket holder and lists off a dozen sports he follows, from baseball to tennis to boxing.

King of them all? Chess.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “Live, from the basement of the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center...”

Flip to Fox Sports Midwest sometime two weeks from now, and in the place of Waino and Yadi, Steen and Backes, there will be Krush and Robson -- not on a field or a rink, but hunched over chess boards, their each and every move picked apart by a trio of announcers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: University of Illinois as the fierce underdog to Webster University's likely championship, blue polo shirts worn in competition, and a request that the audience remain silent during matches.

Such is the world of collegiate chess. And this weekend, it is all coming to a boil in suburban D.C.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Henry Shaw was only 19 when he purchased parcels of land in a swath of St. Louis prairie in 1840. The French called the natural, unpopulated habitat on the western edge of the city Prairie des Noyers, after one of the original settlers of St. Louis.

It was a rural landscape on the fringes of the urban, and Shaw’s ideal spot for a garden and the city’s first suburban developments, marked by Shaw’s country retreat.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sami Bentil and Annetta Bentil-Vickers live on Enright in the West End neighborhood, in the former laundry facilities of ConnectCare. A large complex, the building also serves as headquarters for her office supply company and his art studio.

Sami Bentil was a budding artist when he moved from Ghana to the United States in the early ’70s. His pointillist work has been shown in Europe, the U.S. and Ghana, including a piece commissioned by the Ghanaian government for its 50th jubilee. “My American experience has been heightened by the fact that in my early years I devoted my time to [elementary] teaching,” Bentil said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Pity the driver at the intersection of Grand and Washington boulevards on a Saturday night. As crowds flock to and from the Fox Theatre’s national acts, Powell Hall’s St. Louis Symphony and other venues and galleries, traffic must yield to the arts, the grand institutions of Midtown.

But a few blocks from that intersection, backstage and on the fringes, the grassroots of independent artists and small organizations are taking hold.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bill Cleveland is a musician and author of four books who lives on an island near Seattle. As he walked onto the stage of the Sheldon Concert Hall last night, he was singing to a crowd of roughly 500 people.

“Art is everywhere! Art is everywhere!” Cleveland sang, striding on stage. “Some can’t people think you can’t beat the Devil with a song!”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Old North St. Louis, a roughly 250 acre neighborhood that sits a mile north of Downtown St. Louis, housed more than 13,800 residents at the time of the 1940 census — a community more densely populated than current-day New York City. By 2000, that number had dropped to less than 1,500.

The story, if not cliché, is known to anyone familiar with St. Louis’ history in the 20th century — again and again, a grand past followed by decades of disinvestment. For Steve Marx, Old North's saga is more than just a misty anecdote, but something he lived.

Girls get a chance to discover many others who love chess at the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.
Johnny Buse | For the Beacon 2013

As Michelle Chen’s time grew close to expiration last Friday afternoon, her opponent was a few yards away — Alice Dong’s back was turned to the board as she watched a chess game several tables over, one of the few other games still continuing in the final round of the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.

A draw would secure the championship for Chen. Dong needed a win.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There are tried and true elements of sports stories: Trades and transfers, perennial champions and scrappy underdogs, seasoned coaches and prodigious talent, complete with battles across fields, courts and — for a few universities in St. Louis — chessboards.

Just three years ago, St. Louis had no nationally competitive collegiate chess team; and as recently as January, Washington University’s student run chess club was the lone team in the area. Now, Lindenwood University and Webster University are preparing to roll out elite chess teams for the 2012-13 academic year with high hopes of bringing home national titles to a city that has quickly become America’s chess capital.