Saint Louis – Chess City of the Year

Mayor Slay to accept award at U.S. Open Chess Championship in Orlando

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ST. LOUIS, August 4, 2011 – The United States Chess Federation (USCF), the governing body of chess in the U.S., will present the award for “Chess City of the Year” to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay on Saturday, August 6.

This marks the second time St. Louis has won this prestigious award, which recognizes the U.S. city that has done the most to promote and further the game of chess, both locally and nationally. St. Louis also won the award in 2009.

“We wouldn’t have gotten this award without the hard work, commitment, and innovation of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis,” said Mayor Slay. “The skills one uses playing chess – patience, foresight, and problem-solving – are skills I want to see in our citizens. I’m confident that St. Louis will continue to attract and produce chess champions through the great work of the Chess Club.”

St. Louis has become the home of U.S. Championship chess, crowning the U.S. Champion and U.S. Women’s Champion each of the past three years and the U.S. Junior Champion for the past two years. These tournaments, the most prestigious in the nation, all were held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL), which also has an agreement in place with the USCF to bring the U.S. Championships back to St. Louis next year. The CCSCSL was named “Chess Club of the Year” by the USCF in 2010.

In addition to the promotion of national tournaments, the USCF recognized the CCSCSL’s commitment to implementing chess programming in area schools and community centers.

Alex Vergilesov, the scholastics coordinator at the CCSCSL, said more than 40 schools and organizations have already signed up to implement scholastic programming for the coming school year with many more expressing interest.

“The response to our scholastic programming has been overwhelming,” Vergilesov said. “It’s great to see administrators, parents and teachers recognizing the multitude of benefits that chess has to offer.”

CCSCSL founder Rex Sinquefield also will be honored in Orlando as the recipient of the Gold Koltanowski award, which is given to the person who does the most to further chess in the U.S. each year. This is the third straight year Sinquefield received the award, winning it in 2009 and 2010 as well.

The emergence of St. Louis as a major player in the chess scene attracted the interest of the World Chess Hall of Fame, which is relocating to St. Louis from Miami and will open its doors to the public on September 9, directly across the street from the CCSCSL on Maryland Avenue in the Central West End.

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About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit