For the next six months chess and hip-hop will live under the same roof here in St. Louis. "Living Like Kings: The Collision of Chess and Hip Hop Culture" is an ever-evolving exhibit examining the relationship between the two art forms. Hip-Hop Chess Federation founder Adisa Banjoko, 44, thinks hip-hop and chess share a common noble truth.
“The spirit of competition in hip-hop and in chess is what helps us figure out who we are,” Banjoko said.
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.
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.
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.
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.