chess

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.

Bobby Fischer competes in the Piatigorsky Cup matches in 1966.
Provided by the World Chess Hall of Fame

The name Bobby Fischer is synonymous with outstanding intellect, intimidating competitiveness and intense focus.  His is a uniquely American success story that nearly everyone has heard - even if they can’t tell a rook from a bishop.

So what makes Fischer so captivating?

World Chess Hall of Fame

Bobby Fischer was the youngest-ever American Grandmaster, a title that took him 15 years, 6 months and 1 day to collect. That is, until Hikaru Nakamura came along, besting Bobby by three months and earning the title as the new youngest-ever American GM.

That is, until Ray Robson came along, notching his elite title two weeks before he turned 15.

Susan Polgar and Wesley So
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

It’s a great time to be a St. Louis girl in chess, I think. Just look at what surrounds them: Webster University coach Susan Polgar is adding something new to her resume. Right there at the bottom of page 11.

Kayden Troff with Tony Rich,
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The Triple Crown of chess is complete, in more ways than one.

Just this past week, Grandmaster Kayden Troff, 16, snagged the U.S. Junior Closed Championship crown after nine rounds of fierce competition against the top players under 21 in the nation. Troff finished the event in style, winning his final four games to finish a point and a half ahead of the rest of the field.

The newly anointed grandmaster took home the $3,000 first-place prize but, more important, earned a ticket to compete in the 2015 U.S. Championship, which will be held in St. Louis next year.

Left to Right. Jeffrey Xiong, Kayden Troff, Sam Sevian and Ashritha Eswaran, with Garry Kasparov.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Thursday night marks the opening ceremony of the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, the national title event for the top players under 21. The tournament is the third installment of America’s Championships annually hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, a parallel to the U.S. Championship and Women’s event, which took place simultaneously last month.

Wesley So
Courtesy of Susan Polgar

They say good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately, that’s shaping up to be true.

Wesley So, the 15th highest-rated chess player in the world with a FIDE rating of 2744, recently announced his intentions to switch to the U.S. Chess Federation (from the Philippines’ federation) for reasons rather obvious: He’s already here -- and he seems to like it.

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