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Simul at the Science Center: The Chess Club Does First Friday

Science Center, First Fridays, Chess

By Lulu Wojcik

First Fridays are an event the Saint Louis Science Center hosts every month featuring artists, students, crafters and creators from the Saint Louis area. Each month exhibits a different theme for locals to set up a booth and share on the topic. This month’s theme was Fun and Games, and on April 1, 2016, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the World Chess Hall of Fame showed off the world’s oldest and best-loved games. The Chess Campus set up a booth for attendees interested in chess to learn more about the Club and World Chess Hall of Fame. But it did not stop there. The group also brought a life-sized chess set measuring 9 by 9 feet with pieces taller than toddlers! Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan was available at the booth, playing chess and talking about some of the great events happening on the Chess Campus.

Science Center, First Fridays, Chess

At 9 p.m. that evening, GM Seirawan played five separate chess games against five attendees at one time—four children and one adult—as the Chess Club’s manager Ryan Chester gave enthralling and educational commentary of the games. The games were broadcasted on a large screen in the Science Center for thousands to watch. In a shocking twist, the adult lost the fastest to the five-time U.S. Chess Champion! The four children soon followed suit, with GM Seirawan racking up 5 decisive wins. Everyone in attendance had a fun time watching and learning more about the game, and the players all enjoyed playing such a famous grandmaster.

It was certainly a fun night for the Chess Campus and a great way to get the community more involved. Thank you to the staff that helped make this event a success and to the Saint Louis Science Center for helping us reach out to chess fans that may have not even known the chess capital of the nation is in their own backyard.

To learn about upcoming First Fridays at the Science Center, look online at