SAINT LOUIS (October 26, 2017) — In 2016, for the first time in 40 years, the American national team edged out 180 countries from around the world to win gold at the Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, solidifying its status as a powerhouse in the chess world. To celebrate this accomplishment, the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) will be exhibiting Global Moves: Americans in Chess Olympiads. The exhibit opens Friday, November 10, 2017, and runs through April 1, 2018.
Honored attendees at the opening will include members of the 2016 gold medal team including: Grandmasters Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Sam Shankland and Ray Robson as well as International Master and Team Captain John Donaldson.
The first Chess Olympiad was officially held in London in 1927, and has since taken place biennially with teams from federations around the world. Historically, the Russian national team has dominated the Olympiads. However, in 1976, the American team entered with the highest group average and won the event, even without the legendary Grandmaster Bobby Fischer. The 2016 American team, which boasted three of the top players in the world, entered the Olympiad as a favorite, alongside Russia, and in an epic, unbeaten streak achieved gold against the best players in the world. The U.S. team included Hikaru Nakamura, Sam Shankland and Saint Louis residents Fabiano Caruana, Ray Robson and Wesley So, and was supported by US Chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the Kasparov Chess Foundation.
Global Moves features artifacts from the collection of the WCHOF, including a gold medal from the 2016 Olympiad and a newly conserved chess table and chairs from the 1966 Havana Chess Olympiad, as well as loans from many American players. Most of these materials have never been exhibited at the WCHOF in Saint Louis.
Other highlights include: newly donated and never-exhibited archival materials from the collection of Grandmaster (GM) Arthur Bisguier, the “Dean of American Chess,” and GM Isaac Kashdan, a key figure on the gold-medal winning American Olympiad teams of the 1930s; GM Susan Polgar’s medals from the 2004 Chess Olympiad; GM Ray Robson and Wesley So’s medals from the 2016 Olympiad; and artifacts from the Marshall Chess Club in New York related to the career of U.S. Chess Champion Frank Marshall. These items will be supplemented by the display of the Hamilton-Russell Cup, the perpetual trophy for the Chess Olympiads, which is on temporary loan from the World Chess Federation to the WCHOF, and a number of other loans and artifacts from the permanent collection.
“This exhibit is particularly meaningful in that these objects commemorate a historic moment in American chess history,” said Assistant Curator, Emily Allred. “We are proud to honor the 2016 team as well as tell the stories of many of the players, among them several U.S. and World Chess Hall of Fame inductees, who have represented the United States in Chess Olympiads since 1928.”
A video, produced specifically for the exhibition, features exclusive interviews regarding the 2016 Chess Olympiad with well-known chess luminaries: Woman Grandmaster Tatev Abrahamyan; GMs Fabiano Caruana, Robert Hess, Aleksandr Lenderman, Hikaru Nakamura, Yasser Seirawan, Sam Shankland and Wesley So; and former U.S. Women’s Olympiad competitor and author Jennifer Shahade. The interviews are informative and reinforce the important role Saint Louis has played in the American team’s resurgence on the competitive chess scene.
The exhibition brochure includes an essay by GM Lubomir Kavalek, a 2001 inductee to the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame. Kavalek also represented the United States in seven Olympiads and was on the 1976 gold medal-winning Olympiad team. As a result of this exhibition, the WCHOF has received significant donations, most notably from the archives of GMs Arthur Bisguier and Isaac Kashdan.
Since opening in 2011, WCHOF has welcomed more than 70,000 visitors. Its widespread acclaim has been complemented by the efforts of its supported organization, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, an educational institution that focuses on teaching and promoting the game of chess. The combined efforts of the Saint Louis Chess Campus led the United States Senate, in 2014, to declare Saint Louis the National Chess Capital.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Interviews with the Curator and tours of the exhibit are available upon request.
● Admission to exhibit is complimentary with a suggested donation of $5.
● WCHOF Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Saturday (10 a.m.–5 p.m.), Wednesday–Friday (10 a.m.–9 p.m.) and Sunday (noon–5 p.m.).
About the World Chess Hall of Fame
The WCHOF is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on Sept. 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New Windsor, NY; Washington, D.C.; and Miami. The WCHOF, located at 4652 Maryland Avenue, is housed in an historic, 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business. It features the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The WCHOF partners with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences.
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