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When comic artist Lynda Barry spoke last year at the Central branch of the St. Louis Public Library's Great Hall (1301 Olive Street; 314-241-2288 or www.slpl.org), she mentioned that if she can come back from death as a ghost, she'll haunt this library because of its great beauty. Which led to me thinking that maybe, just maybe, there's a ghost already there who knows a little something about chess. My skill at the game is inversely — and perversely — proportional to my success at it. I've been beaten in eleven moves by players not old enough to drive. Howard Staunton insisted competitive play is the surest route to improvement, but he failed to delve into the deep embarrassment that comes along the way. Every Monday night from 6 to 8 p.m., the library offers Chess in the Great Hall. Chess sets are made freely available, and books on chess strategy are close at hand. But a little supernatural intervention may be necessary for me to get off the schneid. Help a brother out, poltergeists. I'm the sweaty guy swearing under his breath.
Mondays. Starts: Aug. 31. Continues through June 7, 2009

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