chess

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

The Central West End has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Great Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association, for reasons that won’t surprise anyone from around here.

Ashritha Eswaran playing chess
Provided by the family

Local Grandmaster Ben Finegold is in Durban, South Africa, this week representing Team USA as part of the 2014 World Youth Chess Championship. The international competition separates its field into six categories, from under-8 to under-18 in both girls-only and open sections, and crowns 12 World Champions annually.

Magnus Carlsen in St. Louis earlier this month
Lennart Ootes| Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St.Louis

It’s not often that the World Champion of Chess gets his thunder stolen but, while here in St. Louis, GM Magnus Carlsen's moment away from the spotlight allowed him to tackle a serious decision.

Rex Sinquefield prepares to make a move as Grandmasters look on. Behind, from left, are commentator Maurice Ashley, Garry Kasparov, Yasser Seirawan and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

It is a question commonly posed to Grandmasters -- business-suit wearing giants with perennially furrowed brows, constantly wrinkled above troubled looks of genuine stress -- can you still have fun?

Fabiano Caruana
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

When you’re claiming a page of history, you just never know who might write on it.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, left, and Magnus Carlsen played to a draw in their first game in the Sinquefield Cup.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

This year’s Sinquefield Cup chess championship is underway here in St. Louis and it’s billed as the strongest chess tournament in the history of the sport. The tournament features six of the top nine players in the world and takes place at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. The compete for a first place prize of $100,000. Before the end of the tournament, each player will play every other player twice.

Lennart Ootes | CCSCSL

Make no mistake, we want him back.

In for his first visit to the U.S. Capital of Chess is Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana, one of only three players in the world with a chess rating that has surpassed the 2800 watermark. He’s here to pick a fight with the other two, Armenian GM Levon Aronian and World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen, as part of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup -- billed as the strongest chess tournament ever, for obvious reasons.

The new chess pocket park
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

St. Louis owns and manages approximately 10,000 vacant lots of land that have come into its possession through tax foreclosure. Concentrations of these lots create barren wastelands of pavement, driving down property values while driving up social and environmental impacts.

Maintenance alone on these acquiesced estates — the overwhelming majority of which do not even contain a structure — encourages slow economic leak, altogether suggesting a need to embrace alternative approaches to urban land use.

Sounds like a job for chess.

GM Maurice Ashley is the promoter of the Millionaire Chess Open, the upcoming tournament with the largest prize fund ever.
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

This is the busy season of chess, with lots going on in the scene. Scattered thoughts, like pawns, need attending:

Maurice Ashley is in town, looking for millionaires.

Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield presented Magnus Carlsen with the 2013 Sinquefield Cup.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Just announced was the 2014 Sinquefield Cup, the encore to last year's megalith international competition that delivered four of the world's most-elite chess players to the Central West End.

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