On the eve of hosting the most prestigious chess tournaments in the nation, St. Louis received national recognition from the United States Senate, which on Monday, May 5 passed an official resolution naming St. Louis the “National Chess Capital.”
The resolution, which was introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), also was intended to raise awareness of the educational benefits of chess and to encourage schools and community centers to engage in chess programs that promote important developmental skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, spatial awareness and more.
“The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosts all major U.S. chess competitions and has been a driver in educating children throughout the State since its inception,” Senator McCaskill said. “The intellect and creativity needed to learn and compete in chess also helps students think creatively and strategically in traditional academic areas, including math and science. We are proud St. Louis is leading the way in competitive American chess while providing students the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed in an ever‐advancing world.”
“I’m pleased the Senate approved our resolution to designate St. Louis as the National Chess Capital,” Senator Blunt said. “Chess programs like those offered by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis challenge young people academically and help motivate them to succeed.”
The news came just days after the announcement that a Congressional Chess Caucus has been formed to promote the educational benefits of chess and just days before the top chess players in the country competed in St. Louis for the title of U.S. Champion and U.S. Women’s Champion.
The 2014 U.S. Championship and 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship took place May 7 through May 20 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL).
This was the sixth consecutive year that each of these prestigious events was held in St. Louis. Grandmaster Gata Kamsky repeated as the U.S. Chess Champion, his fifth time holding the title, after defeating GM Varuzhan Akobian 1.5-0.5 in a playoff on Tuesday evening. As well, GM Irina Krush turned in a three-peat as the U.S. Women’s Champion, her sixth year as title holder, after knocking out WGM Tatev Abrahayam 1.5-0.5 in their own playoff on Tuesday. Though both champions admitted struggling with the 2014 fields, Kamsky and Krush were the only players to finish undefeated.