Chess | St. Louis Public Radio


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.

Female chess juggernauts compete and befriend

Jul 30, 2012
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.

Collegiate chess checks into St. Louis universities

Jun 11, 2012

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - In just the past few days, St. Louis has become the new home of collegiate chess in that U.S. Lindenwood University and Webster University have become the two latest institutions to offer chess scholarships, and each is committed to a developing a world-class program.

The article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 11, 2012 - It is 2012, and everyone has a resolution or two. I recommend playing more chess!

Improving your chess game is a great resolution because it is beneficial for your mind, and it can be a lot of fun as well. Here are a few steps to help you along your path to chess success in 2012:

A banner year for St. Louis Chess

Dec 27, 2011
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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 8, 2011 - I was watching ESPN Sunday night, and I noticed the World Series of Poker was being shown (live, with a 15-minute delay, due to Nevada gaming laws). One of the announcers noted that there was an "expert" chess player at the final table. In chess lingo, an expert is someone just below master level (unlike bridge, where an expert is above master).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 11, 2011 - Almost everyone, chess player or not, is fascinated with the chess clock. Explaining how the device works to a new class is always a challenge.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 4, 2011 - When I teach a class of beginning players, it is customary to explain the "value" of the pieces. If both sides exchange pieces, knowing their approximate value will help explain who gets the better deal. Some things are pretty obvious, like if I capture a queen and my opponent captures a bishop, we both know who is doing better. But some things are not so clear.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2011 - When I was a much younger man, I saw a film titled "Who's the Man?"

It was a light comedy, but throughout the movie, the two main characters would pronounce, "You the man!" to each other.

Review: Chess in three movements

Sep 14, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 14, 2011 - The history of music is an account of quite limitless invention, innovation and adaptation. There's evidence, for example, that flutes were made of animal bones as long as 37,000 years ago, but one suspects that for millennia before that invention, prehistoric men and women and children were making musical sounds with their hands and feet, with rocks and sticks and sinews -- and of course with their own voices.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2011 - The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is hosting an event this week that has captured the interest of the chess community. Kings versus Queens: A Battle of the Sexes pits two teams against one another, one made up of five men, the other of five women. The total prize fund is more than $50,000 as players compete for individual prizes, and included in the prize fund is a special bonus for the winning team: $20,000!

(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."

Nation's best chess players gather in St. Louis

Apr 22, 2011

For the third year in a row, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is host to the U.S. and U.S. Women's National Chess Championships.  Play continues through next week at the Chess Club, which has become somewhat of a national hub for the sport.