Masterminds: Chess Prodigies - An exhibtion of the World Chess Hall of Fame

by ChessBase
2/2/2021 – "Masterminds: Chess Prodigies" is an exhibition that tells the stories of notable chess phenoms including Bobby Fischer, Magnus Carlsen and the Polgar sisters. Through photographs, videos and mementos of important chess matches and tournaments from the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, visitors will learn more about these talented young players as well as their later accomplishments. The exhibition will also highlight the achievements of players who took up the game later in life and still made a mark on the world of chess. Virtual tours of the exhibition are available.

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World Chess Hall of Fame Exhibition Celebrates the Ever-Popular Game's Youngest and Brightest Minds

Show includes milestones achieved by Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, the Polgar Sisters, and others

Press Release

SAINT LOUIS (February 1, 2021) - The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) will host an opening reception for its newest exhibition, Masterminds: Chess Prodigies, celebrating achievements by the game’s youngest and brightest players, on February 11, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The RSVP-required reception is free and open to the public and includes curator-led tours of both Masterminds and the wildly-popular Keith Haring: Radiant Gambit exhibition, paying homage to the late art icon. Virtual tours of both exhibitions will be available on the WCHOF’s website, Facebook and YouTube channels. 

Over 80 artifacts will be on display, including a chess instructional book once belonging to and inscribed by Fischer as a youth, Carlsen’s prestigious 2013 World Chess Championship trophy, and Carlsen’s amber chess set that once belonged to former world chess champion Mikhail Tal. Additionally, the exhibition will highlight noteworthy accomplishments by a variety of chess prodigies such as Garry Kasparov (youngest world chess champion; 22 years of age), Hou Yifan (youngest women’s chess champion; 16 years of age), and the Polgar sisters: Saint Louis resident Susan (top-ranked female player in 1984; 15 years of age), Sofia (won the Rome Open in 1989 with a performance rating of over 2900, one of the best results achieved by a female player; 14 years of age) and Judit (became the youngest ever grandmaster at that time, beating Bobby Fisher’s record; 15 years of age).

“Unlike many other fields, in chess, kids can sometimes compete with—and defeat—adults,“ explains Emily Allred, curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame. “Whether we’re exploring the real-life story of Tanitoluwa (Tani) Adewumi, an eight-year-old Nigerian refugee who won the K-3 New York State Championship only a year after beginning to play the game, or fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon from The Queen’s Gambit, the genius behind these chess prodigies is truly awe-inspiring.”

Masterminds includes not only the accomplishments of young chess players from around the world but also significant milestones achieved by competitors at the WCHOF’s sister organization, the Saint Louis Chess Club, just across the street from the museum in the Nation’s Chess Capital of Saint Louis, Missouri. There, the youngest player in United States history, Sam Sevian, set the record for achieving the title of chess grandmaster at the age of 13.

Masterminds: Chess Prodigies will be on view through November 7, 2021. To learn more about the exhibition or to find out more about the WCHOF’s safety procedures and guest guidelines, visit Media interviews or additional statistics can be coordinated by contacting Brian Flowers at or (314) 243-1571.

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About the World Chess Hall of Fame

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to building awareness of the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Housed in a historic 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business in Saint Louis’ Central West End neighborhood, the WCHOF features World Chess Hall of Fame inductees, United States Chess Hall of Fame inductees selected by the U.S. Chess Trust, artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The WCHOF partners with the Saint Louis Chess Club to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences. For more information, visit

About the Saint Louis Chess Club

The Saint Louis Chess Club is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization 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 Saint Louis Chess Club 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

Connect with Us

Engage with the @WorldChessHOF on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, with the exhibition hashtag, #MastermindsChess.

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