chess

Jim Davies (right) is the first-ever inductee into the Missouri Chess Hall of Fame.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Obviously the most recent developments at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center and the World Chess Hall of Fame have firmly planted St. Louis as a major player in the chess world, but countless organizers and enthusiasts have helped maintain the interest in St. Louis over the years.

World's Fair and Wolbrecht

On Chess: St. Louis History Is Chess-Rich

Feb 12, 2014
Wikipedia

The chess boom in St. Louis may appear as though it has materialized out of thin air, but the Gateway City has a vibrant chess history.

Chess adds to a rich and developing cultural renaissance in St. Louis. And as we celebrate our city’s 250th birthday, I think it’s appropriate to take a look at some of the important names, events and places that have helped shaped our ever-growing chess culture.

This column explores the early days of chess in St. Louis and some notable champions and championships that placed St. Louis at the center of the chess universe.

Hikaru Nakamura last battled Magnus Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis. Levon Aronian observes.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

He came close this time. The great white whale was in his sights. His elbow was cocked, and in his hand the harpoon was ready to deliver the fatal blow. And then it all disappeared.

Georg Meier
Provided by Susan Polgar

Webster University’s Georg Meier etched his name in the St. Louis record books over the weekend by winning the 6th annual Club Championship, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL).

Meier, 26, is a world-class grandmaster who ranks No. 2 in Germany and No. 141 in the world.

Wesley So and Susan Polgar
Provided by Susan Polgar

The prestigious Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, started last week, and for once, super-GM Hikaru Nakamura is not the only St. Louis representative competing against the world’s best.

Nakamura, the U.S. No. 1, is no stranger to top-level tourneys. But for GM Wesley So, a Webster University sophomore, Tata Steel is his first-ever super-elite event.

On Chess: Championships Return To St. Louis

Jan 16, 2014
photo of Gata Kamsky and Irina Krush
Courtesy of the Chess Club and Scholastic of St. Louis

It’s going to be another year of checkmates and championships in St. Louis.

On Wednesday, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis announced that the United States Chess Federation had accepted its bid to host the 2014 U.S. Championship, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship and the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, the three top invitational chess tournaments in the nation.

That’s right. The Trifecta. The Triple Crown. The Royal Three.

U.S. Chess School Brings Royalty To St. Louis

Jan 8, 2014
Awonder Liang, 10, earned his second gold medal at the World Youth Chess Championships in the United Arab Emirates.
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Members of the chess royal family have been holding court in St. Louis with increasing regularity.

Xin Luo, Eric Rosen, Michael Auger, and Akshay Indusekar
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Everybody loves a good Cinderella story. There’s something about seeing the underdog prevail that gives people hope a fairy tale ending is actually possible.

When the top four collegiate chess teams come together in New York City in April, a champion looks to repeat while an unlikely contender hopes simply to keep the magic going.

It’s no surprise that Webster University dominated the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, held Dec. 27-30 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Daniel Naroditsky at World Youth Chess Championships
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Santa Claus is, almost certainly, a chess player. I can’t make that statement with absolute certainty as I’ve never actually witnessed the big guy over the board, but all the telltale signs are there.

Who but a chess player could lay out such a carefully detailed plan of attack and, as far as I can tell, execute flawlessly year in and year out with nary a blunder. In fact, a 1908 column by Russel Ramsey in the Philadelphia Sunday Item claims to be privy to a game played by the jolly old fellow himself.

Malcolm Pein presents Hikaru Nakamura his first-place trophy for winning the London Chess Classic.
Photo courtesy Ray Morris-Hill.

If St. Louis is etching its name on the list of emerging chess capitals of the world, then London is already firmly established. And the letters are in bold print.

The 5th annual London Chess Classic concluded this past week, and the marquee event featured a 16-player rapid tournament showcasing the world’s elite.

photo of Sam Sevian
Courtesy Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Sam Sevian should be earning a spot as one of your instantly recallable names: The 12 year old from Corning, N.Y.,  is the reigning world champion for his age and the youngest ever to play in the U.S. Championship, which he did this past summer here in St. Louis.

He has been under the chess microscope for years, having already served as the fastest American to both Expert and National Master status, and I believe it is safe to assume he has become a fixture in chess’ future. Go ahead and commit that brain wrinkle.

dullhunk / Flickr

Four of the best chess players in the world are squaring off this week in the Central West End during the first ever Sinquefield Cup.

The two best American payers will be joined by two of the top rated players in the world, including the number one ranked, 22-year-old Magnus Carlsen.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is hosting the event, and Executive Director Tony Rich expects heated matches that can hinge on a single move.

Erin Willams

At the age of seven, it’s safe to say that most kids want to be just like their parents – walk like them, act like them, work like them. For Diamond Shakoor, that meant being intrigued by her dad Abdul, who at the time was teaching older kids on how to play chess. “I asked him one day if I could play and he was like ‘Sure, if you stop getting in trouble in school.’ And so that’s how the journey started," she says. 

Teach her he did, and now, after playing in nearly 250 tournaments, she’s unstoppable.

If there's no such thing as bad publicity, how much is good publicity worth? Webster University wants to find out.

Last year, the university didn't have a chess team. On Sunday, its team took home the national college championship, the President's Cup, after winning what is often called the "Final Four" of chess.

Erin Williams/St. Louis Public Radio

Young people from across the world are turning St. Louis into the premiere international location for chess. This academic year marks the first that Webster and Lindenwood Universities are spearheading new competitive programs and offering scholarships to students from around the world. Those are among the moves in recent years that has allowed the city to emerge as one of the best and brightest hubs for the complex board game’s talent.

At the U.S. Chess Championships under way in St. Louis, all eyes are on America's top-ranked player, and the favorite going into the tournament, Hikaru Nakamura.

During the past decade, Nakamura has made a name for himself as the new superstar of American chess, and with it, he's become a kind of spokesperson for a game that hasn't been too popular in this country since the days of world champion Bobby Fischer.

courtesy Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

2011 has been a banner year for Chess in the city of Saint Louis.

The United States Chess Federation named Saint Louis “Chess City of the Year” in 2011 for all of the hard work we’ve put in to promote the game of chess both locally and nationally.

(via Flickr/Ian Sane)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay will travel to the Sunshine State (that's Florida) this weekend to accept the United States Chess Federation's "Chess City of the Year" award for our own Mound City.

This is the second time St. Louis has received the designation - the city also won the award in 2009.

The award, according to the the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, "recognizes the U.S. city that has done the most to promote and further the game of chess, both locally and nationally."

For the third year in a row, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is host to the U.S. and U.S. Women's National Chess Championships.  Play continues through next week at the Chess Club, which has become somewhat of a national hub for the sport.

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