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CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP HELPS UNITE THE COMMUNITY
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 1, 2009 — Sure, there will plenty of great chess at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, which will be held Oct. 4-13 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. But thanks to a variety of partnerships involving the arts, cultural and a health care communities, the tournament offers much more.
The championship will leave its mark from the Contemporary Art Museum to the Siteman Cancer Center and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art to the Saint Louis Science Center.
For jazz aficionados, the unofficial kickoff of the championship starts 7:30 p.m. Friday with the Queens of Jazz , which features Tony nominee Ann Hampton Callaway and Denise Thimes at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
On Saturday, the Contemporary also will host “Playing in the Dark: A Collision of Art and Chess.”Anna Zatonskih will play five people simultaneously while blindfolded. She will have to make moves while seeing all five boards only with her mind’s eye. Other special chess games will be played during the day. The games start at 2 p.m. and the public is invited.
Defending U.S. Women’s Chess Champion
The Saint Louis Science Center will host “Chess Queens Express,” from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 9, a community day for the players. The event, part of the center’s SciFest ’09, features competitors from the championship playing up to 10 members of the public at the same time.
On the same day, the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine will unveil a chess playing program designed to brighten the lives of patients and caregivers during treatments. Called “Chess for Life,” the program was developed in conjunction with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The goal is to use chess to help improve mental focus and allow for interaction.
Capping off the tournament will be a discussion of seminal works by Marcel Duchamp, an avid chess player and artist, on Oct. 14 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The discussion will be led by Bradley Bailey, Saint Louis University assistant professor of art history. The evening also will feature “A Game of Chance” — a chess match between Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis founder Rex Sinquefield and the newly crowned 2009 U.S. women’s champion that will involve a roulette wheel to determine each player’s moves. Roulette chess is an invention of Larry List, an artist and writer, and Jennifer Shahade, chair of the 2009 U.S. Women’s Championship. Duchamp was an advocate of combining chess, the ultimate game of skill, with chance.
“Chess is pervasive throughout American culture,” said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “The partnerships we are creating throughout the community reinforce the innate belief that this simple game brings hope, education and pleasure to so many. We are proud to support chess programs in such diverse environments.”
For a complete listing of all events surrounding the 2009 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, go to http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/US-Womens-Championship-2009 .
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization that opened in July 2008. Founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield, it has more than 500 members. The club offers free classes, discounted tournament entry fees and discounted merchandise for club members. For more information, please visitwww.saintlouischessclub.org or call 314-361-CHESS.