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Schmitt, Hassan, Saint Louis Chess Club Host Bipartisan Congressional Chess Tournament with Leading Chess Figures, Saint Louis Students in Nation’s Capital

Saint Louis Students in Nation’s Capital

Event held in celebration of 10th anniversary of Congressional proclamation naming Saint Louis as the Chess Capital of the United States


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., hosted a special bipartisan Congressional Chess Tournament in partnership with the Saint Louis Chess Club, where members of Congress faced off against chess students and two world-renowned chess players during the event designed to showcase the importance of chess in schools across the country. The tournament coincided with the 10th anniversary of the passage of a U.S. Senate proclamation naming Saint Louis as the Chess Capital of the United States.

Eight students from the Saint Louis area traveled to Washington to participate in the tournament, squaring off against Schmitt and members of the Congressional Chess Caucus. The event featured student chess matches against Schmitt, fellow Missourians Senator Josh Hawley and Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo.-7, Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., and more than a dozen Congressional staff. Earlier in the day, chess students also met with Saint Louis Congresswoman Cori Bush, D-Mo.-1.

Chess is a great way for students to learn strategic thinking skills and get involved with programs that allow them to make friends and learn valuable life skills, said Schmitt. It's my honor to co-host the bipartisan Congressional Chess Tournament with Senator Hassan and celebrate St. Louis as the chess capital of the world.

Chess is not only fun for students, but it also teaches them strategic thinking skills that will help them throughout their lives, said Hassan. I am pleased to co-host the bipartisan Congressional Chess Tournament with Senator Schmitt and celebrate the excellence of student chess players.

Schmitt was joined by Rex Sinquefield, founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club, as well as long-time ambassador Maurice Ashley, who made history as the first and only African-American Grandmaster, and International Master Gulrukhbegim Begim Tokhirjonova, one of America's brightest rising chess talents.

It's an honor to be back on Capitol Hill to bring the Chess Capital of the United States to Washington for this time-honored tradition, said Sinquefield. Our work to revitalize chess in schools across Missouri and more broadly throughout the United States is just getting started. With more than 100,000 students in the greater Saint Louis area engaged in scholastic chess, we are excited about the game's growing popularity among America's youth, and we look forward to continuing to partner with Congress to help foster greater awareness of the game and its many benefits.

Seeing so many bright and talented young students excited about chess makes me optimistic about the future of the game and the future of our country, said Ashley. There are many life lessons that are learned from the squares on the chessboard, and these students are well-primed to be our future leaders.

As the Chess Capital of the United States, Saint Louis is home to the Saint Louis Chess Club, the leading chess club in the country for scholastic and competitive chess. The scholastic chess programs of the Saint Louis Chess Club reach more than 100,000 students through innovative programs including Scholastic Tournaments, Digital Classroom, First Responders C.H.E.S.S., among others. Seven in 10 students enrolled in these programs say they look forward to school more on days with chess and believe chess has taught them that they can complete difficult tasks if they work hard.

On the competitive level, the Saint Louis Chess Club has made history through the creation of the Sinquefield and Cairns Cups, the strongest ever tournament and strongest women's tournament held on American soil. By creating these elite tournaments, it has allowed new chess talents to grow, have attracted top players and revitalized the game in the United States. To date, approximately 25 Grandmasters live and train in Saint Louis - more Grandmasters per capita than anywhere else in the world.

The World Chess Hall of Fame, a leading arts and cultural institution centered around chess which has welcomed more than 200,000 visitors across 75 exhibitions, is also located in Saint Louis.

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About Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit