Posts Tagged ‘Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis’


Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield writes new book about chess notation

by Dean Minderman

Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield has written a new book about chess notation, Learn to Read and Write Chess.

Published by the World Chess Hall of Fame, the book (pictured) is intended to help players of all ages learn the basics of chess notation. Starting with the fundamentals of piece names, locations, and written move types. the book takes a “hands-on” approach that combines chess reading and writing skills with physically moving pieces.

For her work on the book and her ongoing support of chess, Dr. Sinquefield received a Meritorious Services award from the US Chess Federation at the annual US Chess Awards ceremony held in August in Orlando, FL.

Learn to Read and Write Chess is available now for purchase at the World Chess Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Chess Club. The book also can be downloaded for free in PDF form from the US Chess Trust website. There also are plans to translate the book into more than a dozen foreign languages, which will be made available as free PDF downloads.

Thursday
17
October 2019
Comments Off on Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield writes new book about chess notation

University of Missouri launches competitive chess team

by Dean Minderman

Officials of the University of Missouri have announced the launch of a competitive chess team with help from a grant of nearly $800,000 from the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Christian Chirila (pictured), a 28-year-old grandmaster from Romania who has won chess titles and tournaments all over the world, will coach the team. He already has begun recruiting undergraduate and graduate players from around the world to compete in intercollegiate chess competitions for Mizzou starting this fall. These players will get university scholarships, live and practice together in dedicated space in Respect Hall, and travel to competitions throughout the year.

“Mizzou is home to top athletic teams, and I am planning for the MU Chess Team to continue that tradition of excellence and be a top competitor from year one,” said Chirila, who attended the University of Texas at Dallas on a chess scholarship and had been coaching chess in the Bay Area of California.

According to a news release, as the program is developed, Mizzou will collaborate with the Saint Louis Chess Club to become a chess resource for the state of Missouri. There are plans to develop chess summer camps, state and national high school chess tournaments, distance-learning courses on chess, and chess teacher certifications. The university also is interested in hosting new collegiate events in cooperation with the U.S. Chess Federation to create more opportunities for collegiate players to compete.

“The MU Chess Team is a welcome addition to the Mizzou family,” said Patricia Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science, which will be the team’s academic home. “Chess teaches important skills, such as logic and focus, that everyone needs. Learning more about this sport will benefit the entire university and community.”

Opened in 2008, the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and the World Chess Hall of Fame provide extensive educational and competitive opportunities that have made chess synonymous with Missouri, and have led some to call St. Louis “the chess capital of the world.”

“The Saint Louis Chess Club is thrilled to partner with the University of Missouri and is looking forward to working with the team as we continue to grow and advance chess,” said Rex Sinquefield, who co-founded the club with his wife, Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, and serves as its president.

Tuesday
05
March 2019
Comments Off on University of Missouri launches competitive chess team

Check Mate

by Dean Minderman

Rex Sinquefield

Rex Sinquefield (Photo by BUCK)

From the May-June 2013 issue of Sophisticated Living magazine
By Craig M. Kaminer

As the developer of some of the first index funds and the co-creator of a multibillion-dollar investment firm, Rex Sinquefield’s success in the business world was immense. After retiring in 2005 from his firm, Austin, Texas-based Dimensional Fund Advisors, Sinquefield returned to his hometown of St. Louis to tackle what he considers some of his most important work. In his roles as an activist and a philanthropist, he has brought a myriad of changes to St. Louis, much as his business career has changed the investment field.

Sinquefield has donated time and money to many organizations, including the St. Louis Art Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation and the St. Louis Symphony. One of his biggest projects – and biggest successes – is guiding the city to become the epicenter of the competitive chess world.

Thanks to Sinquefield, the Central West End is home to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, which is perhaps the best chess center in the world, and the World Chess Hall of Fame. A who’s who of tournament players have moved to St. Louis because of Sinquefield’s passion for and investment in chess. The club’s membership has topped 1,000, and traffic to its website reached nearly 500,000 during the past year.

I caught up with Sinquefield recently at the World Chess Hall of Fame to talk about his philanthropy and why he has committed so much time and money to chess. I was interested in learning more about his interest in chess and how he (almost) singlehandedly has changed the course of chess history.

As a boy, he says, he was fascinated by chess. When Sinquefeld was 13, his Uncle Fred taught him the game. “To his surprise, I beat him the second game we played, and from that point forward I was hooked,” Sinquefield says.

He played on the chess team at Bishop DuBourg High School and began playing in tournaments while in business school at the University of Chicago. “But I slowed down for many years because of family and kids, and came back to it when I had more time,” he says. “Now I have a chess lesson once a week from Jennifer Shahade, who is a two-time chess champion. I study and play online every day. Currently I’m playing 16 games at a time via computer. Sometimes I play speed chess, and other times I do ‘tactics.’”

He estimates he’s played thousands of games, but only 180 of them have been in tournaments.

“I love chess because it’s so beautiful,” he says. “It’s stimulating and so demanding. And the fact that it is one of four things that stave of dementia — chess, bridge, foreign language, and playing music – it’s good for me, too!”

His powers of concentration help him succeed, and not just in chess. “When I play, I don’t think about anything else,” he says. “Other players often do. I only focus on the game I am playing.” Chess is like life, he says, requiring good judgment, constant study and problem solving. And like life decisions, a chess player’s moves have consequences. “Tat’s why I think it is so important for schools to teach chess to children. I would like nothing more than to have chess taught in every school. “

With that in mind, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center employs more than 20 instructors who travel to more than 100 classrooms and community centers. “We even have a partnership with a judge in the juvenile courts who approached the Chess Club to teach at-risk kids the game of chess,” Sinquefield says. In addition, more than 70 children visit the Chess Club each Sunday to learn from grandmasters who teach at the club.

“I am most proud of the reception the club has received,” he said. “Our work is covered by media around the world, including being the cover story of more than one magazine. We’ve had visits from many famous players, including Anatoly Karpov, who was the world champion from 1975-‘85. Ironically, we wanted to show Karpov what we are doing for chess, but he came here in part because he always wanted to see the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.”

Sinquefield is working to create a match featuring six of the top players in the world. “We want to invent a specific event associated exclusively with the club and St. Louis,” he says.

When I asked, “What do you want people to know about you?” he responded quickly. “I don’t think about my legacy,” he said, adding that he hoped the Chess Club, World Chess Hall of Fame and Show Me Institute, which proposes solutions to state and local policy issues, would continue to thrive.

“My message is that individuals can make a big difference,” he says, whether through charity or by starting a business. “People shouldn’t underestimate their power to do good.”

Tuesday
21
May 2013
Comments Off on Check Mate