Saint Louis, May 9, 2009 - The defending champion of the U.S. Chess Championship, along with the top two rated players in the United States all were victorious Friday in the first round of the 2009 championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
By Sean P. Trani
24 of the strongest chess players in the world were seated at the tables of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center Saint Louis as club founder Rex Sinquefield rang a large bronze bell to signify the start of the tournament. The players varied in their poses from confident to irritated as cameras circled the room and they pushed their opening pieces forward.
By Travis H. Brown
They called him one of the best closers of all time in St. Louis Cardinals history. But today, his opening game was hard enough – on the chess board.
Over his major league baseball career as a hard-throwing reliever, Todd Worrell has pitched over 256 saves. Today, celebrating the opening of the U.S. Chess Championship, Worrell came out of the bull-pen with his aggressive, high-speed burners. However, this time it was a bishop screaming off the mound.
Tune-in for Chess Talk with IM John Watson on ICC Chess.FM. John's weekly 60+ minute show will feature an interview with leading chess personalities. All shows run on demand for members after airing.
In this episode (Tue., May 5), joining John on the second of his U.S. Chess Championship Specials will be Rex Sinquefield and Tony Rich of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
Tony Rich, Director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, talks about the weekend's events with Grand Master Jennifer Shahade over a quick but brutal game of chess. Shahade played a simul at the St. Louis Science Center, and Chess Club members pitched in to paint a St. Louis Metro Bus (thanks to Metro Arts in Transit) encouraging everyone to visit the Club May 7-17 for the 2009 US Chess Championship.
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center was packed for their first free blitz tournament and movie night featuring the classic "Searching for Bobby Fischer". Free chips and soda were available for all club members.
"I love "Searching for Bobby Fischer", commented an enthusiastic young club member. The movie chronicles 7-year old chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin's quest to become a national scholastics championship. It's not all fun and games as Josh deals with pressure from parents and coaches, the pros and cons of sandbagging and learning what it takes to be a true champion in all phases of life. "Searching for Bobby Fischer" is a must-see for all chess players, especially if you've played scholastic chess or have a child interested in chess.
On April 25th and 26th, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis played host to the 2009 Saint Louis Open. For the past few years, this prestigious event has been forced to use the rather unassuming conference room at a no frills hotel because of cost constraints. This year saw this high class event finally get the proper venue it deserves, and Missouri chess players showed their support for the change. While some common names were missing from the list of registrants, the event also managed to bring in some unfamiliar names that were hopefully dazzled by the venue and will continue to support the chess endeavors of the CCSCSL and its tournament aspirations. Overall, the event brought in 51 paid entries and the event was extremely well run by the very competent TD staff of Ed Baur and MCA president Thomas Rehmeier.