Already, three chess Grand Masters have moved to St. Louis. The U.S. Chess Championships will be held here for an unprecedented fifth time. Children all over St. Louis are now learning to play the game. It’s all going according to plan.
****UPDATE TO STORY: The St. Louis area boasts 11 Chess Grand Masters. Two at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis and 9 at Webster University.****
Hear Debbie Monterrey’s Voices of St. Louis feature:
Several years ago, chess fan Rex Sinquefield decided St. Louis needed a chess club. And not just that, says Susan Barrett, but the most beautiful chess club in the country. Barrett, who admits she knew nothing about chess or chess clubs, created a wonderful space on Maryland Avenue in the Central West End. And the chess world was watching.
The World Chess Hall of Fame, then located in Florida, expressed interest in St. Louis’ burgeoning chess scene. So Barrett went back to work, making the World Chess Hall of Fame across the street from the Chess Club more than a bunch of plaques and chess memorabilia. It includes two exhibit spaces, meeting rooms and a gift shop, all open to the public.
Mike Wilmering of the Chess Club says everyone in the world of chess knows St. Louis is “mecca.” Now they’re working on getting the rest of St. Louis to see it!
Special thanks to producer Dave King.