Kasparov Visits Saint Louis, Short Puts on Lecture and Simul
By Mike Wilmering   
December 6, 2010
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GM Nigel Short, CCSCSL Founder Rex Sinquefield, GM Garry Kasparov, GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Ben Finegold, Photo Gina Kelly

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis was abuzz on Monday, November 29, as a group of 150-plus eagerly awaited the arrival of the legendary GM Garry Kasparov. The crowd, which had already been treated to a weekend with GM Nigel Short at the Thanksgiving Open, mingled around the casual play area on the main floor of the chess club. Some played chess and some casually chatted, but all were devoting at least some of their attention to the front door of the club.

A round of applause erupted when Kasparov made his appearance. He acknowledged the warm reception with a smile and brief wave of his hand before Chess Club staff ushered both him and Short upstairs to the board room for the VIP reception.

Prior to his arrival, numbered tickets were handed out to event attendees who followed the dynamic duo up the stairs to the beautiful tournament playing hall. Complimentary hors d'ouevres and cocktails were available to all as the first 10 attendees were invited to enter the private VIP reception in the Chess Club board room.

Kasparov cordially welcomed each guest with a handshake as he posed for a picture with each guest and signed boards, books and even a MonRoi! Kasparov and Short chatted with guests as they filtered into the board room one at a time.

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GM Nigel Short conducting his simul, Photo Gina Kelly
GM Nigel Short's simul brought out fierce competition.

After about an hour and a half, and after every event attendee had the opportunity to shake the hand of the great Kasparov, Short headed downstairs to the club's classroom do deliver his lecture to an already packed room. Because the classroom was already full, lecture attendees, including Kasparov, GM Hikaru Nakamura and CCSCSL founder Rex Sinquefield, spilled over into the library to listen. Because of the full house, the lecture was simulcast live throughout the entire club.

Although he was only scheduled to be at the club for one hour, Kasparov stayed for almost the entirety of the Short lecture and even offered his input throughout Short's analysis. The entire lecture will be available soon on the club's video lecture page.

Following the lecture and Kasparov's departure, 30 lucky participants got to take on Short in an epic simul that lasted well overfour hours. When the final pawns had been pushed, four club members managed to draw the legendary GM: Alex Vergilesov, William Tong, Dennis Humphries and Jialin Ding. Club member Tim Nesham even managed to pull out a victory!

This 30-person simul brought forth some incredibly stiff competition, as Short had to contend with reigning CCSCSL Club Champion Richard Benjamin (2204), Sid Chib (2247), Jim Voelker (2145), Kevin Cao (2195) and a host of other bloodthirsty competitors all gunning for a super-GM scalp.

Check out Nesham's victory over a former World Championship contender!



Read about the Thanksgiving Open, which preceded the star-studded evening at the CCSCSL.