Oh, what a site it will be for next month’s U.S. Chess Championship in St. Louis.
The $1-million Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis features 150 chess boards — some wired so that when a player moves a piece, it shows up on an overhead screen. Flat-screen TVs abound. Framed pictures of chess greats are arranged along a wall. Technology allows people walking by on the street to watch a game in progress.
The basement includes a chess library and classroom space. At the championship, live commentary will be provided on the lower level by grandmasters Jennifer Shahade and Emil Sutovsky.
The upstairs rooms, where the games will be played, will hold small groups of spectators who must remain quiet in roped-off areas, club director Tony Rich said. He expects 350 to 500 people to visit each day.
And why wouldn’t they? Competitors will include the “Big Three” of U.S. chess: Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Onischuk, along with current U.S. champion Yury Shulman. The female medalists in the Chess Olympiad, Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih, also are competing.