October 31, 2011

2nd Annual United Way Chess Carnival

Posted in Chess Club and Scholastic Center, Outreach Programs

2nd Annual United Way Chess Carnival


What do you get when you mix two grandmasters, a great cause, and lots of junk food? A Chess Carnival, of course.

The 2nd Annual United Way Chess Carnival took place on Tuesday, October 25th, at One AT&T Center in downtown Saint Louis. The fundraiser was the result of a collaboration between AT&T and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) and featured CCSCSL Resident GM Ben Finegold and GM Hikaru Nakamura, who is currently ranked #1 in the United States and #10 in the world.

GM Finegold emerged victorious after beginning the festivities with a four board blindfold simul. For chess newbies, “simul” is short for “simultaneous exhibition.” As the phrase might suggest, he played four opponents at the same time…while blindfolded…and won.

ben-at-att-evnet-for-textGM Ben Finegold Playing Blindfold Chess at AT&T

Next, the two GMs went head-to-head in a blitz game, in which each player received only five minutes to make his moves. Finally, each GM took part in his own simul (no blindfolds this time!) against an array of challengers from all skill levels.

Chess boards and puzzles were scattered around the lobby for those not playing. Many of the approximately 4800 employees in the building took time out of their day to watch and take part in the festivities. With an (un)healthy supply of popcorn, candy, and root beer floats on hand, onlookers had plenty to keep them busy.

And of course, what carnival would be complete without prizes? Top finishers received memberships and other merchandise from the World Chess Hall of Fame and CCSCSL. How’s that for a grand(master) afternoon?