[imagefield_assist|fid=15090|preset=fullsize|title=The competitors of the 2012 U.S. Championships stand in front of the world's largest chess piece, which was unveiled today in Saint Louis. The piece stands 14 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs more than 2,200 pounds.|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=700|height=467]
SAINT LOUIS, May 7, 2012 – The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) unveiled the newest Guinness World Record today – a chess piece that stands 14 feet, 6 inches tall and is 6 feet wide at the base. The king piece is based on the “Championship Staunton” design and is made of layers of ¾-inch exterior grade plywood and is 45 times larger than a standard chess piece. This new record beat the previous record, set in 2003, by 1 foot, 5 inches.
The Club, in partnership with the World Chess Hall of Fame also located in Saint Louis, set the new record to help further cement the city’s reputation for being the hub of chess in the United States. The piece was unveiled to kick off the 2012 U.S. and Women’s Chess Championships, which take place May 8 through May 20. This is the fourth year in a row the Club has hosted the tournaments. As a part of the unveiling and tournament kickoff, Saint Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay issued an official proclamation, declaring Saint Louis the “Gateway to Chess.”
“The Saint Louis Arch was built to commemorate Saint Louis as the gateway to the west,” said CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich. “This record-breaking chess piece is meant to celebrate another distinction for our city. Saint Louis has truly become a center of chess culture, and this larger-than-life chess piece serves as a striking monument to honor our city’s involvement in the game.”
The piece was built by R.G. Ross Construction, located in Saint Louis, and has been officially approved by Guinness as a world record. Following are some key statistics about the World’s Largest Chess Piece:
• The piece took 18 days to construct and weighs more than 2,200 pounds.
• The piece is taller than a professional basketball hoop (10 feet), an average-sized female giraffe (14 feet) and the Statue of Liberty’s fingernail (13 feet).
• If the piece were to be used during a chess game, the square the piece sits on would be 9 feet by 9 feet, and the board would be 72 feet by 72 feet. This board would be big enough to hold 392 bathtubs or nine school buses.
For more information about the 2012 U.S. Championships, please visit www.uschesschamps.com.