St. Louis Chess Club hosting premiere tournament this week

ST. LOUIS - Like the PGA Championship is to golf, the Sinquefield Cup is considered one of the big four events in the chess world.

“The Sinquefield Cup is part of the Grand Chess tour. The Grand Chess Tour is like the Grand Prix for chess,” said Tony Rich, executive director of the St. Louis Chess Club. “It’s a series of tournaments held across the globe. We’ve had two events in Europe, two events in St. Louis and the finals will wrap up in London this December.”

Ten of the best chess players from around the globe gathered in the Gateway City to play a round robin tournament for a rating and a chance to take home $30,000 in prize money.

If you’ve ever wanted to get a glimpse into the mind of someone spending intense concentration, you can watch from the gallery as players take mental notes from other matches. And a single match can last all afternoon.

“It’s a classical tournament, which means the games last five or six hours, a long time,” Rich said. “You might see them sweating it out across the board and then they take a stretch and get right back to it.”

At the Kingside Diner next door, you can grab a “grddle burger” and hear live analysis of the elite international matches from chess grandmasters.

“St. Louis has always had a history of chess dating back … to the 1920s at the Chase Park Plaza behind us,” Rich said. “But really what you’ll notice is that spectators enjoy seeing these players live and over the board and are willing to travel to make that happen.”

You can catch the round robin tournament looking over the shoulders of the best chess players in the world the remainder of this week.