Chess has long been considered a somewhat serious, intellectual pursuit. But it’s gained a broader popularity, thanks in part to the 2020 Netflix hit, “Queen’s Gambit.” Interested in learning more about the game? We’ve got the perfect opportunity.

Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club

By Peg Camron Gill

Saint Louis is home to the Saint Louis Chess Club, the club’s campus, and “The World’s Largest Chess Piece.” The club is widely recognized as the premiere chess facility in the country and one of the best in the world. And during March of 2023, a new piece of chess history will play out there.

The club’s proud to host the American Cup Chess Tournament. It will run until March 26 and features an exciting and rare double elimination format. It will bring world class chess masters to America’s chess capital to compete in a fierce do or die struggle for $300,000 in prize money. 

With a double elimination format, fans can expect the American Cup to have a combination of exciting chess play, stunning upsets, and epic comebacks.

Matches will be played at 1, 3, and 5 pm. until March 26. Please visit the Chess Club’s website for a complete list of America’s Cup events.

Opened in July of 2008, the Saint Louis Chess Club is a 501 C3 educational organization widely recognized as the premier chess facility in the country – and one of the best in the world. This 6,000-square-foot state-of-the-art center features a world-class tournament playing hall, classroom library, and casual play area. 

More than just a community chess center, it takes a multi-level approach to promoting the game of chess. For instance, its Scholastic Outreach Initiative spreads the educational benefits of chess to thousands of students in hundreds of schools and community centers across the greater Saint Louis area, primarily through afterschool programming.

The origins of chess, like the game itself, are somewhat secretive. According to the website, there’s no credible evidence explaining the true origins of chess and its early forms before the 6th century that explains how we know the game in its current form today. 

The site states that although there were distantly-related board games using dice – and sometimes boards with 100+ squares – over 4000 years ago, there is still speculation about chess’s origin.

One thing seems certain: No specific person invented this well-known game of the kings and it likely had its roots in Asia.

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