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On Chess: Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield & Rex Sinquefield are inducted into U.S. Chess Hall of Fame

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Lennart Ootes
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St. Louis Chess Club
Rex Sinquefield and Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield

At the opening ceremony of the 2021 U.S. Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship, St. Louis Chess Campus co-founders Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield and Rex Sinquefield were inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame for their overall contributions to American chess and beyond.

“I wanted to have a small place in the community for people to play and never dreamed of what it has now become,” Rex Sinquefield said about the St. Louis Chess Club and the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Held at the Muny in Forest Park, the induction featured speakers such as legendary former World Champion Garry Kasparov, as well as U.S. Chess Trust’s Vice President for Scholastic Chess Sunil Weeramantry.

After starting and funding the St. Louis Chess Club in July 2008, the Sinquefields provided the funding to relocate the World Chess Hall of Fame to St. Louis, opening in September 2011. Their other achievements include hosting and revitalizing the U.S. and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships since 2009, as well as organizing and running countless top tournaments since the opening of the club.

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Lennart Ootes
Former World Champion Garry Kasparov was among the illustrious speakers at the induction.

In addition supporting professional chess, the Sinquefields set out to vastly grow and improve scholastic chess. To that aim, Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield was personally responsible for introducing the Chess Merit Badge to Scouts BSA, resulting in nearly 500,000 kids learning how to play chess nationwide.

“This year, chess was ranked as the No. 2 merit badge of all merit badges offered last year,” said Cairns Sinquefield.

Furthermore, the St. Louis Chess Club started over 100 school clubs and programs in the greater St. Louis area, while also starting college chess teams at Webster University, St. Louis University and the University of Missouri. In 2018, Sinquefield also wrote a booklet titled “Learn to Read and Write Chess,” an introduction to the game for children, which has since been translated in eight other languages and is available for free online.

Given the long list of achievements by the Sinquefields, it is no surprise that St. Louis was declared America’s chess capital in 2013. From here, the Sinquefields plan to continue growing the game, raising interest in chess not just in the United States, but worldwide. For more information about the St. Louis Chess Campus, visit stlchesscampus.org.

Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess player, writer, and streamer currently residing in Mountain View, California. You can follow Kostya at twitter.com/hellokostya.

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