The Morphy Chess & Cultural Center (“Morphy”) celebrated its grand opening in New Orleans on Friday, April 5 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, tandem simuls and one heckuva party! The opening was the start to a weekend of chess where Louisiana would be running multiple events to name its qualifiers to the Denker (HS), Barber (K-8), National Girls’ and Senior Tournaments of Champions. These prestigious invitational events will take place during the U.S Open in August 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
The Morphy is the brain child of New Orleans resident and US Chess Women’s Committee member, Leila D’Aquin. D’Aquin told CLO that “New Orleans has a rich chess heritage. The Morphy is the culmination of the visions of many and the time is today for bringing a new chess club and cultural hub to New Orleans.”
Nestled in the Broadmoor/Marlyville neighborhood of New Orleans, the Morphy will serve as a hub, partnering with other community organizations to offer programs that meet the needs of the city. The Morphy will offer standard chess club fare – memberships, tournaments, lessons and camps. It also will be a gathering place for students after school, where they can receive homework assistance as well as work on their chess games. With several nearby arts-focused high schools, the Morphy will offer musical and other cultural events to the community.
On hand for the opening ceremony was Louisiana native and US Chess Executive Board Member Mike Hoffpauir. He believes that “the opening of this center signals a renewal of chess initiatives, especially scholastic chess, for the Crescent City and greater New Orleans area. Through Leila D’Aquin’s strong leadership, the program is certain to flourish.”
Also in town for the celebration was Carol Meyer, US Chess Executive Director. Meyer points out that “The opening of the Morphy Chess and Cultural Center represents the mainstreaming of chess as enriching the community it serves. It is directly linked to the US Chess mission to empower people, enrich lives, and enhance communities through chess.”
Photos from the event (all courtesy Carol Meyer):