Tuesday afternoon, I got away from the office a little early and headed south, dodging raindrops on the way to Chester, Ill. Past Ruma, the sky commanded attention.
On my right, streaks of thin clouds danced against an opaque, pale blue. Straight ahead, dark, deep foreboding clouds layered upward. The rain streaked below. But above all that, a dome of the clearest, cleanest blue provided the beginning of a benediction that was completed in the rainbow patch shimmering at my left.
In chess, conquering the center is a strategy nearly as old as the game itself.
It is a building block, a foundation, with centuries of theory backing the blueprint. American legend Bobby Fischer opened all but one of his myriad games by instantly striking into the center with 1. e4, famously referring to the first move as “best, by test.”
The vibrancy of chess in the St. Louis area continues to grow. For example the U.S. Championships return to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis on May 8.
But one of the bright spots – the strength of the university programs here – recently received close scrutiny. While Lindenwood and others are building strong teams, Webster University brought in the chess world’s version of John Calipari or Coach K: Susan Polgar and her team of grandmasters left Texas Tech University for the St. Louis suburbs in 2012.
From the minute Patsy Cline’s biggest fan demands “How y’all doin’?” you just know it’s just a matter of time before she’s side-by-side with the singer, doing the swim to “Stupid Cupid.” Watch out, front row and bald-headed men, the spotlight's headed your way too.
The St. Louis area is crawling with photographic opportunities. Local professional Ryan Archer took advantage of one of them to win Best in Show in the Sheldon’s “The City at 250” photo contest.
Archer’s “City Museum Climbers,” entered in the “Events and People” category, garnered him $1,000 and a place in “The City at 250” exhibit, opening June 6. The competition was a collaborative effort of The Sheldon and the St. Louis Beacon, now St. Louis Public Radio. The Beacon merged in December with St. Louis Public Radio and is no longer a separate entity.
Young pianist Conrad Tao was scheduled to make his St. Louis Symphony debut in concerts April 25-27, 2014 led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. But when illness forced Markus Groh to cancel his appearances on February 1 and 2, 2013, Tao stepped in as soloist in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on less than 3 days’ notice and wowed audiences.
At its core, the St. Louis Outsider Art Fair is less about art insiders and outsiders than it is about belonging. Shana Norton has organized and grown this inclusive art event over the past three years. This year the fair is sponsored solely by the nonprofit organization Resources for Human Development – Missouri (RHD-MO).