Chess | St. Louis Public Radio

Chess

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

Two years ago, the inaugural Sinquefield Cup lured World Champion Magnus Carlsen to his first-ever American chess game -- and the St. Louis super tournament, then-celebrated as the strongest in U.S. history, was opened with rousing success.

The follow-up turned out to be the mother of all upgrades.

New world-wide chess tour announced in St. Louis

Apr 24, 2015
Rex Sinquefield, Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A new multi-national chess competition aims to draw attention to the sport.

“Hopefully we are witnessing now the creation of the network that will greatly donate to the promotion of the game of chess,” said chess legend Garry Kasparov at the announcement.

Garry Kasparov, with Rex Sinquefield in the background
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

When the king moves, every piece, on every corner of this checker-boarded earth, takes notice. That is why most of Garry Kasparov’s moves around St. Louis these days often come and go in secret.

Small circles know that the world’s greatest living chess legend sneaks into the Central West End a time or two a year; but for the non-privy, he simply appears at the front door of the St. Louis Chess Club, with no less surprise than if he had stepped from a sudden poof of smoke.

Hikaru Nakamura and Irina Krush
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

After 11 rounds of exciting chess, pre-tournament favorite GM Hikaru Nakamura -- the top American for the past five years, and currently No. 3 in the world -- emerged undefeated and victorious in the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship. Winning his fourth American title along with the top prize of $45,000, Nakamura finished with a score of 8/11, a half-point ahead of Webster University’s GM Ray Robson.

Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis | File Photo

The Webster University challengers provided excitement in this year’s U.S. chess championships, but in the end the top ranking players — GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Irina Krush walked away with the titles.

Wesley So, left, and Hikaru Nakamura played to a draw.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The youngest and strongest U.S. Chess Championship in history has just crossed the midway point at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, and the event has already seen enough drama to vie as one of the most-exciting U.S. Championships in history, as well.

After six games in the 12-player round-robin tournament, alone in front is the No. 1 seed and pre-tournament favorite, Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, who has scored three victories and three draws to earn 4.5/6 points.

Commentators Jennifer Shahade and Yasser Seirawan host the 2015 U.S. Chess Championships, which kicked off Wednesday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

The 2015 U.S. Chess Championships feature the strongest player lineup of all-time.

 Tables await players upstairs at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Today the highest-rated U.S. Chess Championship opens here in St. Louis.  The event is held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis until the closing ceremony on April 13. 

Facts to know:

1.    Prize Money - $175,000 for U.S. Chess Championship, $75,000 for U.S. Women’s Championship

Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan plays a seven-board simul during a Venture Cafe gathering in the Cortex Innovation Community in early March.
Provided by Cortex Innovation Community

The United States Chess Federation, the governing body for chess competition in the U.S., recently announced that it has opened an office here in the nation’s capital of chess. The new St. Louis hub looks to handle marketing and development efforts for the organization, which received 501(c)(3) non-profit status last year, while customer and membership services continue to operate from its headquarters in Crossville, Tenn.

Hikaru Nakamura is currently ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 7 in the world.
Provided by Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Just one problem with being at the absolute peak of your game: There is nowhere to go but down.

Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, the longtime American No. 1, is on absolute fire. A man on a mission, he spent the last half of 2014 making good on his intentions to become a World Champion candidate, and has spent the early portion of 2015 trampling on some of the world’s finer events.

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

Like a bulldozer, she has been demolishing American women for over a decade. Or maybe decimating. Obliterating. The aftermath of her participation often leaves these competitions looking more like massacres. Or maybe slaughters. Exterminations.

And best of all, just like her methods, her name is Krush -- a pun that would have worn thin years ago if it all weren’t so blatantly obvious.

On Chess: End game looming for Living Like Kings

Mar 4, 2015
Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA, looking at a portion of the WCHOF's Bobby Fischer exhibit during October's opening ceremony of Living Like Kings.
Carmody Creative | World Chess Hall of Fame

Last chance to experience Living Like Kings: The Unexpected Collision of Chess and Hip Hop Culture, as the endgame nears for the two-floor, multifaceted art installation on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame. The continuously evolving exhibit, exploring how chess has interwoven within the urban subculture, has included rotating features of music, art, dance and spirituality and now enters final stages before its close next month.

On Chess: Time rules the laws of chess

Feb 25, 2015
Chess clock
Andrejj | Wikipedia

Writing about the Rules of Chess, on the surface, seems to be a strange topic of discussion. After all, the last rule changes -- which included the enhanced powers of the Queen, En Passant and Castling -- have been defined for 500 years! You’d think that the rules of chess had been cast in stone, but you’d be wrong.

The St. Louis Metro Class Chess Championships pair players with similar rankings.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The St. Louis Metro Class Chess Championships were held recently at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center, drawing in a record 60-plus participants looking to cash in on a quick title.

Chess classes have been shown to have educational benefits.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The rhetoric has floated around for decades.

 “It develops your memory, improves your test scores — chess is good for your brains!” They always say. “It boosts your math! And it helps your science! Chock full of cognitive benefits, indeed!

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

The 2015 U.S. Chess Championships are due back in St. Louis in April, marking the seventh consecutive year that America’s chess capital will present the national crown. The two-week tournament will once again be hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in the Central West End, inviting 12 of America’s top Grandmasters to fight for the throne, as well as 12 of our best women to compete for the title of U.S. Women’s Champion.

On Chess: Rumbling In The Top Ranks Of American Chess

Jan 29, 2015
Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis | File Photo

The acquisition of Grandmaster Wesley So was the big news coming out of 2014. The Philippine-born prodigy and former Webster University star joined the U.S. Chess Federation after cracking the world’s top 10. But just a month into 2015, So is already setting new headlines -- the latest causing a literal stir on the top.

Jennifer Shahade has become a proponent of chess players working out.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen pretended he didn’t hear the question, but I knew he had.

Rex Sinquefield, founder of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, was about to throw the first pitch at a Cardinals game, and I wondered out loud which participant from the Sinquefield Cup -- the strongest tournament in chess history, held in the Central West End last September -- would be the best candidate for the same role.

“Magnus,” the other participants quickly concluded.

Ray Robson
File photo | 2012

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis has once again received the bid as host to the annual U.S. Chess Championships: The 2015 event, along with the U.S. Women’s Championship, will be a 12-player round robin held March 31 through April 14 in the Central West End. It will mark the seventh consecutive year that St. Louis has hosted the national title event.

On Chess: Say It Ain't So, Wesley Goes Pro

Jan 7, 2015
Wesley So
Courtesy of Susan Polgar

He arrives in the U.S. as a promising recruit from the Philippines, and in two years makes the jump from the top 100 to No. 10 in the world. He becomes an instant collegiate star, a freshman phenom who leads St. Louis’ powerhouse Webster University program to back-to-back national titles — and then plays the nation’s heartstrings by announcing that his promising future will be played under the red, white and blue for the burgeoning U.S. Chess Federation.

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