Friday, July 11, 2014

#167: The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

It wasn't brought to my attention until recently that St. Louis was the new home of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Hey, I knew we had the National Bowling Hall of Fame, but now this. I guess I'd have to say this is quite a thrill and should be for St. Louisans. Let it be known that I am not a chess player and unfortunately I have never taken the time to learn the legendary game (or sport?). Maybe sometime down the road.......

As I was cake-hunting on foot at good ol' Central West End, I did stumble in here, looking for the cake. I didn't realize it was actually across the street at the Chess Center! But I did hang out in the Hall of Fame Museum for quite a bit. Spent most of the time in the gift shop talking to these two guys who worked there. I've never met that many people who were happy with their job. Period. These people were so enthused to tell me so much about chess and the Hall of Fame. They pretty much answered a lot of my questions.

The WCHOF was originally in Miami for several years, but for reasons unexplained, the organization decided to move. In the mid-to-late 2000s, they were scouting for a new location. This means overseas as well, as chess is without doubt, more popular all over the globe. Of all places, St. Louis looked to be a great candidate, possibly because the Chess Center on Central West End was highly acclaimed. And like that, was history. The WCHOF opened in St. Louis in 2011, and hopefully it will be there for years to come.

Since that time, many internationally-known chess players have visited St. Louis. By that term, I mean people who are only known in the chess world. Maybe not Bobby Fischer (who passed away in 2008), but many people who have won chess tournaments and championships all over the world. It's a totally different world, I must say. But in a good way :)

The museum is worth checking out, and it is FREE.
St. Louis is also home to the World's Largest Chess Piece (standing at 14'7")!

Front part of the building

Description of the World's Largest Chess Piece

An enlarged chess board too!

And now, the Chess Center, which is located across the street (and where the cake is at!):
Frontal view of the building from across the street. It was a bit hard to get, mostly because of the trees and cars parked...but, better than nothing I guess

The sign

Through the Chess Club window, you can actually view games live as well as live interactive ones. How flipping cool is that? (Well, if you're a chess freak that is...)

 Not gonna lie: the place seemed really chill. Just people doing their thing. College students reading, and people of all ages playing chess outside. There were a few chess tables outside the building. I wanted to take a picture, but I didn't want to come off as rude/annoying. Again, this was a part of St. Louis I had not seen up until that time. People having fun and not disturbing others. And loving it.

Back side of the cake

Left side of the cake

An episode of KETC Channel 9's 'Living St. Louis' devoted to the Chess Club

World Chess Hall of Fame on FB
Wikipedia link
Official website

4657 Maryland Avenue, ST. LOUIS, MO, 63108
Cake artist: Screwed Arts Collective

The cake is no longer there. Its whereabouts are unknown.

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