The World Chess Hall of Fame is in our Backyard
After 30 years and three moves St. Louis, is now home to the World Chess Hall of Fame. Learn the fascinating story on how the WCHOF made it to our city.
St. Louis is known for a lot of attractions, the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum, and St. Louis Zoo are known to residents and non-residents alike. But, there’s another less-talked St. Louis attraction, one even life-long St. Louisans may not know about, the World Chess Hall of Fame.
The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) was created in 1986 by the United States Chess Federation, then known as the U.S. Hall of Fame the WCHOF opened a museum in 1988 inside of their New York headquarters. In 1992, the museum was purchased and moved to Washington D.C. Once in D.C., they added to the museum collection, including a U.S. World Team Chess Championship trophy, new chess sets and boards, and Hall of Fame plaques.
The U.S. Hall of Fame moved again, this time to Miami, Florida in 2001. Their move included a new multi-million dollar headquarters, and a new name, the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Museum. In its new location, the museum added to its collection, gathering new chess sets, medals, advertisements, and other memorabilia. The museum closed down in 2009, but they weren’t done yet, there was still one final move to be made.
Funding was raised to move the museum to St. Louis, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis attracted the WCHOF stakeholders to the area, and on September 9, 2011 the World Chess Hall of Fame opened their doors in their new location on Maryland Avenue, directly across the street from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis that inspired.
For those interested in visiting the museum know this, while general admission is free, there are some exhibitions that may cost some money. Currently, there are three exhibitions, “The Imagery of Chess: Saint Louis Artists,” “Pow! Capturing Superheroes, Chess & Comics,” and “Open Files II: Celebrating 5 Years of Collecting.”
“The Imagery of Chess” runs now until September 24, it features 20 local artists who developed artwork and performances inspired by the iconic game. “Open Files II” shows off some of the most unique pieces the WCHOF has collected over the past five years, this exhibition runs until October 29. And “Pow!” which closes on September 17, features over 200 chess-related comic books, toys, and costumes, there even is a photo booth, this is the exhibition to bring your kids to.
Also, be on the lookout for “Pinned! A Designer Chess Challenge,” beginning October 5 and concluding Pi Day, March 14, 2018, designers from all of the U.S. go against each other trying to create the best chess ensemble for today’s modern player. The winner gets a $10,000 scholarship, and a potential deal for distribution with national designers.
We’re lucky to have the World Chess Hall of Fame in our city, it took three moves but we can finally call the WCHOF ours. Visit their website for more information about the WCHOF.
Their website includes more information about the Hall, including list of inductees, family programs, and how to become a member. On their site you will also find a donation page, while admission is free the WCHOF would appreciate all donations. They suggest donation of $3 per person, or $5 for a family. It took a long time, and a few pit stops, for the World Chess Hall of Fame to come here, home to St. Louis. Let’s keep them home.
Have you been to the World Chess Hall of Fame? What did you think of the museum? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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