St. Louis rules the chess scene
On May 8, the first rounds of the 2012 U.S. Chess Championship and 2012 U.S. Women's Championship began at the Chess Club in the Central West End, but surprisingly, that’s not even the biggest chess news to come out of St. Louis this week.
On Monday, May 7, the world’s largest chess piece, a certified Guinness World Record, was unveiled on the patio of the World Chess Hall of Fame. The behemoth chess monument stands 14 feet, 6 inches tall, is 6 feet wide at the base and weighs in at a whopping 2,280 pounds. Needless to say, it is quite a sight to see. Mayor Francis Slay was even on hand to issue an official mayoral proclamation that declared May 7, 2012, Gateway to Chess Day in St. Louis.
This world record is just another example of why St. Louis has become widely recognized as the chess capital of the country.
A few months ago the chess world was abuzz with the news that two new collegiate chess teams will be launching in St. Louis starting in the fall. Both Webster University and Lindenwood University will begin the season with two of the top 10 collegiate chess teams in the nation. Soon-to-be Webster freshman Ray Robson is participating in the U.S. Championships, and he has a big round 3 game on Thursday against another St. Louisan, the No. 1 ranked player in the country Hikaru Nakamura.
If all of these examples weren’t enough to solidify St. Louis as the chess capital of the country, the staff at the Chess Club is planning some other exciting events throughout the summer that will leave no doubt that St. Louis is firmly cemented as the chess epicenter of the universe.
My readers can follow live analysis of all the game from the U.S. Championships at www.uschesschamps.com. WGM Jennifer Shahade and I will be broadcasting live commentary of all the games every day. The action is even more exciting in person, so come on down to the Chess Club at the corner of Maryland and Euclid in the Central West End and see all of the action live!
Games start each day at 1 p.m. from May 8-19.
Ben Finegold is the GM in residence at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.