The Saint Louis Chess Club (STLCC) was founded in 2007 and opened its doors in July of 2008. It is a nonprofit organization that is committed to promoting the game of chess locally, nationally, and internationally with a specific focus on bringing the benefits of chess to Saint Louis area school children. It is open seven days a week and offers kids classes, adult beginner classes and intermediate classes free for members on a weekly basis. The STLCC currently boasts more than 500 active members and runs over 80 tournaments annually. Membership is remarkably affordable, just $10/month or $50/year for students, and $15/month or $100/year for adults. Family memberships are just $150 for a year.
Located in the historic Central West End of Saint Louis, the STLCC is a three-level, 6,000-square-foot community center featuring a classroom, library and world-class tournament hall. The STLCC is widely recognized as the premier chess facility in the nation and one of the best in the world. In 2014, the United States Senate passed a resolution naming Saint Louis the country’s Chess Capital due to its work in raising the awareness of chess and its benefits.
The STLCC's scholastic mission brings chess to students in school and has been rapidly expanding. The club implemented programming in hundreds of different classrooms and community centers across the Greater Saint Louis area, affecting thousands of students each year. In addition to the club’s affordable student rates, it offers summer camps, field trips, private lessons and free classes in an effort to make the game accessible to all students.
Saint Louis has become the home of the three most prestigious, invitational chess tournaments in the United States. The STLCC has hosted the U.S. Championship and the U.S. Women’s Championship since 2009, as well as the U.S. Junior Championship since 2010. In 2017, the STLCC introduced the U.S. Juniors Girls' Championship to its roster of national tournaments.
The STLCC also hosts one of the highest rated international tournaments in the world, Sinquefield Cup, as a stop on the Grand Chess Tour. In 2017, the STLCC introduced the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, which is another stop on the Grand Chess Tour and invites international players to participate in faster time-controls, as opposed to the classical Sinquefield Cup. To further promote women in chess, in 2019, the STLCC introduced the Cairns Cup for the top female players from around the world. The tournament was aptly named after its co-founder, Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield.
Awards from the United States Chess Federation (USCF):
- In 2009 and 2011, the USCF awarded Saint Louis the title of “Chess City of the Year.”
- In 2010, the STLCC was named “Chess Club of the Year.”
- In 2009 and 2010, Executive Director Tony Rich won “Organizer of the Year.”
- In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 club founder Rex Sinquefield won the Gold Koltanowski Award, given to the person who does the most to further chess in the U.S. each year.
- In 2012 and 2013, Jeanne Sinquefield also was awarded the Gold Koltanowski Award for her work in establishing the Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge for chess.
- In 2014, the STLCC was named "Organizer of the Year."