US Championship: young players take over the US Championship

5/16/2009 – On the free day of the spornsoring Scholastic Center appropriately staged a scholastic match. Students from two St. Louis schools experienced the thrill of playing chess on the same tables and in the same room where the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship is being contested. They even had their own name signs, just like the champs. The result: happy faces all around.

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2009 US Chess Championship

The 2009 US Chess Championship is being held, this year for the first time, in St. Louis, Missouri, at the brand new St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center, which is located at 4657 Maryland Avenue, just east of the intersection of Euclid and Maryland. The Championship dates back to 1845 and this year offers a purse of more than $130,000 in prize money. It is a nine-round Swiss, with one round per day and a rest day between rounds seven and eight. Time controls are the classical 40 moves in two hours, with one hour allowed for all remaining moves and a five second increment for all move.

Free day – young players take over the US Championship

Students from two St. Louis schools that utilize the "Classroom Chess" curriculum developed by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis experienced the thrill of playing chess at the same tables in the same room where the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship is being contested. The games were played on the off day of the nine-round tournament.

Fourth-grade students from City Academy in north St. Louis squared off against fourth graders from King of Glory Lutheran School in south St. Louis from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The King of Glory team won and was awarded a trophy.


Students from two St. Louis schools playing each other on the free day...

The children were given a tour of the facility by Matt Lodge of the Chess Club, who also instructed them about tournament etiquette and how to use tournament clocks. The students not only were able to play their games at the U.S. Chess Championship competition tables on the Central West End facility's second floor, but were allowed to view the action on the closed-circuit televisions at the Chess Club. Each child also was given an official nameplate to use at the tables.


... on the same tables and boards as the top GMs – and with their own name signs


After the formal greeting the hostilities can begin


Rex Sinquefield, founder of the Chess Center, and Matt Lodge watch the players


Lexoghia Member-Meneh


John Okine

Teacher Anthony Lemons (filling in for teacher and chess tutor Matt Virgil) accompanied five students from City Academy, while six students from King of Glory Lutheran School were joined by teacher Joel Gilbert. Chess Club scholastic director Frank Van Bree filled out the City Academy team so that each child could participate.


Abass Ali-Hussein vs Frank Van Bree

All of the students participate in Classroom Chess, a fourth grade through sixth grade curriculum developed by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The students participate in Classroom Chess for one hour each week for nine weeks.


Danielle Jett and Isaiah Spain of King of Glory Lutheran School being awarded the tournament trophy


Count the happy faces! Group photo at the end of the vent

"Chess can be an important tool in helping children grow academically, but it also can be a lot of fun," said Van Bree. "It was pretty cool to watch these kids playing in their own tournament on the very site where the nation's best players are competing for the U.S. Chess Championship, and to give them a flavor of that excitement."

All pictures by Betsy Dynako of Inspiring Art

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