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Chess

Provided GM Hikaru Nakamura has achieved a career-best rating and is now less than three points from the No. 2 spot in the world.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If baseball is the thinking man’s game, chess is the best game to play with a bat.

Chess players get playoff fever, too. It’s just harder to gauge because we don’t get sweaty; we don’t often douse ourselves in alcohol after we win, and the chase of a chess World Championship moves even slower than America’s pastime.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I wonder if World Champion Viswanathan Anand is nervous.

The idea sounds a bit oxymoronic, as the Indian grandmaster has remained undisputed in his reign since 2007, but I find it hard to believe he wasn’t watching the next challenger to his throne at the Sinquefield Cup. And I wonder if what he watched made him uncomfortable.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Norwegian super Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen is in town for a few games, and his alone time must be at an absolute premium.

The world’s No. 1-rated player is in the Central West End for the Sinquefield Cup, fine-tuning his game against the world’s No. 2 Levon Aronian, as well as America’s top-two players, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky. It is Carlsen’s first chess-related visit to the U.S. and, after the tournament wraps up on Sunday, the 22 year old will disappear from the public. He’ll go into hiding to prepare for the impending world championship match against reigning king Viswanathan Anand in November.

Sinquefield Cup is living up to expectations

Sep 11, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: All eyes of the chess world are locked on St. Louis this week as four of its greatest titans battle it out for the 2013 Sinquefield Cup held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, 4657 Maryland Ave.

The top two ranked players in the world: GM Magnus Carlsen (2862) and GM Levon Aronian (2802) are mixing it up with the top two U.S. players GM Hikaru Nakamura (2774) and U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky (2741) over a week-long, double round robin style tournament.

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.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As the current resident grandmaster at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, I was initially hesitant when  asked to write a guest column about the upcoming Sinquefield Cup. After all, I was brought to St. Louis because of my chess abilities, not my writing skills. My first reaction was: Really? Me? But, why? What have I done?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In less than two weeks, St. Louis will be the center of the world’s attention.

Granted, only the chess world will be watching, but how often does our city draw the spotlight of any worldwide audience? Plus, St. Louis gets to be named in sensational headlines that feature global conflict and war – in a positive light. Let’s see you pull that off, Washington.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: What is it about a bracket that brings such fervor?

Chess could admit that its tournament systems can get a bit impotent and confusing at times – from round robin to Swiss systems, half points to full – but the good, old-fashioned bracket has the ability to transcend all forms of competition with its familiar emotional frenzy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Three St. Louis kids represented Missouri on the national stage this week as they competed in elite, invitational scholastic events as part of the U.S. Open in Madison, Wisc.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Considering the escalation of tension over depleting oil reserves, I’m seriously concerned with the level of meltdown America will encounter as we run dangerously low on intellectual reserves.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the United States is running out of chess pieces.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Super-GM Gata Kamsky did not seem very comfortable in Beijing. The No. 2-ranked player in the United States was in China on business over the past couple weeks, participating in another FIDE Grand Prix event. The Grand Prix is a series of six tournaments held over two years (2012-13), where the top players in the world compete for a guaranteed berth into the 2014 Candidate’s Tournament – the winner of that gets to challenge the world champion for his title. Beijing hosted the cycle’s fifth event, which wrapped up this past Tuesday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This past Sunday, we crowned a new national champion for players under 21: California’s Daniel Naroditsky, a humble, tall and lanky 17-year-old who has played in the elite U.S. Junior Closed Championship tournament for three years.

Magnus Carlsen is 22 and the world’s highest-rated player ever. He will be in St. Louis for a tournament in September.
Ray Morris-Hill | 2013

Does anyone have a horse I can borrow? I want to ride one through the streets of the Central West End and holler at people.

Magnus is coming! Magnus is coming!

International Master Daniel Naroditsky, 17, will be the top seed at this year's U.S. Junior Closed Championship.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The 2013 U.S. Junior Closed Championship -- the nation’s most prestigious invitational tournament featuring the best players under 21 – is getting underway in St. Louis. This event has the reputation of offering a few more fireworks than the U.S. Championship, which just concluded here last month.

On Chess: U.S. champ regains spot in world's top 10

Jun 7, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Grandmaster Gata Kamsky put on an impressive performance last week in Thessaloniki, Greece, by defeating several of the world's best players. Apparently no one's mentioned to 39-year-old Kamsky that his best days are supposed to be behind him. Through this recent success, including his victory at the 2013 U.S. Championship, Kamsky is displaying some of his finest chess yet and has re-entered the world's top 10 ranked players.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: If Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan ever decides to completely hang up chess, he should be comforted to know he has a future in golf. Maybe not as a player – I haven’t even seen his backswing – but certainly as a commentator.

GM Maurice Ashley, left, interviews GM Gata Kamsky immediately after Kamsky secured his fourth U.S. Championship title.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

If there is one person who might be upset with the performance of 2013 U.S. Chess Champion Gata Kamsky, it is former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards.

I’m not sure if Edwards is a chess player, but his long-viral media tirade that proclaimed “Hello?! You play to win the game!” was a line of theory that Kamsky apparently overlooked for much of the past week.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A journalist, professor and YouTube celebrity walk into a library. They’re followed by a hip-hop enthusiast, website editor and a first-degree black belt. They spend an hour and a half talking about chess, hip hop and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

There’s no joke here: Wednesday afternoon, Adisa Banjoko, journalist and founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation, led a panel discussion representing the above professions at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ed Gonzalves lives in Providence, R.I., where he works for the U.S. Postal Service. Gonsalves self identifies as a sports nut with a penchant for statistics -- he's a WNBA season ticket holder and lists off a dozen sports he follows, from baseball to tennis to boxing.

King of them all? Chess.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “Live, from the basement of the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center...”

Flip to Fox Sports Midwest sometime two weeks from now, and in the place of Waino and Yadi, Steen and Backes, there will be Krush and Robson -- not on a field or a rink, but hunched over chess boards, their each and every move picked apart by a trio of announcers.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I teach kids how to play chess.

I show up weekly to various elementary schools around St. Louis, with my oversized, roll-up chess board and easel. It’s an easy task, enjoyable, rewarding, even if a tad repetitive: Get your pawns in the center. Castle your king. You’re going to like these forks and pins. Nothing fancy. Not exactly searching for Bobby Fischer. Just making sure everyone gets the standard fighting chances.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: University of Illinois as the fierce underdog to Webster University's likely championship, blue polo shirts worn in competition, and a request that the audience remain silent during matches.

Such is the world of collegiate chess. And this weekend, it is all coming to a boil in suburban D.C.

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.

Girls get a chance to discover many others who love chess at the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.
Johnny Buse | For the Beacon 2013

As Michelle Chen’s time grew close to expiration last Friday afternoon, her opponent was a few yards away — Alice Dong’s back was turned to the board as she watched a chess game several tables over, one of the few other games still continuing in the final round of the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.

A draw would secure the championship for Chen. Dong needed a win.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There are tried and true elements of sports stories: Trades and transfers, perennial champions and scrappy underdogs, seasoned coaches and prodigious talent, complete with battles across fields, courts and — for a few universities in St. Louis — chessboards.

Just three years ago, St. Louis had no nationally competitive collegiate chess team; and as recently as January, Washington University’s student run chess club was the lone team in the area. Now, Lindenwood University and Webster University are preparing to roll out elite chess teams for the 2012-13 academic year with high hopes of bringing home national titles to a city that has quickly become America’s chess capital.

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."

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