Surprise! St. Louis is the Center of the Chess Universe

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If you are into chess -- and, Lord knows, why wouldn't you be? -- get yourself down to the St. Louis Chess Club in the Central West End right this minute. The U.S. Women's Championship and the U.S. Junior Closed Championship are both in their final rounds there, causing Jack Peters, the LA Times chess columnist, to marvel, "How did St. Louis, a city with little chess tradition, snare the three most important invitationals?" (We also hosted the U.S. Championship in May.)

Thanks, Jack. We really appreciated your incredulity. Have you seen the St. Louis Chess Club? It's really, really nice. It's also conveniently located between Gelato di Riso and Brennan's. How many other chess clubs can make that claim?

Parker Zhao and Anna Zatonskih are competing in the finals of the U.S. Junior and U.S. Women's Chess Championships this afternoon. - IMAGE VIA
  • image via
  • Parker Zhao and Anna Zatonskih are competing in the finals of the U.S. Junior and U.S. Women's Chess Championships this afternoon.
Based on reports emanating from the Chess Club, the finals of both tournaments promise to be nail-baiters. On the junior side, Parker Zhao is a mere half-point behind defending champion and tournament favorite Ray Robson. And over at the women's tourney, reigning champion Anna Zatonskih and former champ Irina Zenyuk are tied for first.

Both matches begin at 2 p.m., which you can follow here. If the deadlock continues, there will be a special tiebreaker game tomorrow. Otherwise, the two champs will be crowned tonight -- right here in St. Louis.

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