The start of the school year, coupled with the looming deadline for the book I’m coediting, has left little time for blogging. I do, however, feel compelled to point out that six of the world’s top ten chess players have gathered in St. Louis for what is arguably the greatest chess tournament in the history of chess tournaments. Six different countries are represented and, interestingly, none of them are Russia. Hikaru Nakamura is representing the United States. The other five players are Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.
Round one was today, and Caruana has jumped out to the early lead by pounding on Topalov with the black pieces. The other two games were very exciting draws. So, a good start!
The tournament is the brainchild of Rex Sinquefield, who has done a huge amount to revitalize chess in the United States. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is, by all accounts, a marvel, and is now the home of the U. S. Chess Championship. All of the events at the club are accompanied by first-rate online commentary, in this case anchored by Yasser Seirawan, Jennifer Shahade and Maurice Ashley.
As a chess fan I am grateful for everything Sinquefield has done for chess. Which is why it pains me to note that he is also a big right-wing political activist. He is one of the wealthiest men in Missouri, and doesn’t just use that money for chess. Oh well.
Since this event follows right on the heels of the big chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, it’s a good time to be a chess fan. Stay tuned!