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House with the chess view

by WGM Anna Sharevich


Chess is Saint Louis; Central West End is chess.


There were previously many articles about the international importance of our city as the official “chess capital of the United States of America.” Today I would like to tell you about how Saint Louis chess has changed for the perspective of people who live in the city. In my five years of being in Saint Louis, chess has become unbelievably popular among the locals. People of different chess levels come to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) to play, analyze, watch games, have wine and cheese (Ladies’ Class on Thursdays), and just enjoy the positive and very creative atmosphere of the place. And everybody has the same commonality – they are happy! It seems like the magic comes out of this place which is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the City of Saint Louis. Right across the street from the CCSCSL there is a cultural center of the Central West End – the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). People who never even played chess follow all the events and admire exhibitions and performances held at the WCHOF. Everybody feels as a part of one big chess family in the area – bars and restaurants (and even the nail salons) have the posters of all the events that are held at the CCSCSL and the WCHOF.



There are many things to do on the chess block – have a glass of wine and play a couple games outside of the CCSCSL, or watch other people compete, or join one of the classes with the best chess instructors in the country, or play a tournament – the schedule is fitting for everybody.


Both times that I played in the United States Women Championships I felt tremendous support from all my neighbors and friends who live/work in the CWE. Many of them not even knowing how the pieces move were cheering and wishing me good luck all the time – it always meant a lot for me and gave me additional motivation to play well knowing that so many people want you to succeed because you are a part of the CWE family.  Chess has united people in Saint Louis – isn’t that the main thing about any sport? Unite, make people kinder, happier, and remind us that we are all one big family. Bridging the gaps and going with the chess programs to intercity and educating kids and adults how to play chess – one of the best teaching experiences I’ve had – this is what the real chess family of CWE is; everybody is welcomed equally.



Being a local in the Central West End, you hear chess talk all the time – people share information about this or that event at the WCHOF or a chess celebrity coming to the CCSCSL to compete. Chess is in the air when you enter Maryland Plaza, which I strongly believe one day should have a chess name.


Chess in the Central West End is more than just a chess club – it is a huge part of people’s leisure time when they can stop by for a game or two after a long work day and leave all the worries of the day outside of the chess board.