From Roulette to Jazz to Great Games at the US Women's
By Jack Naudi   
Media inquires: Jack Naudi, [email protected], 636-751-4965

Women's Chess Championship Offers Everything From Jazz to Roulette to Great Games

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 14, 2009 - A "Queens of Jazz" Concert will kick-off the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship on Oct. 2 in a 12-day marathon of chess matches involving 10 of the best female players in the nation, and a variety of related events open to the public. The championship and the events are hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The Queens of Jazz, featuring Tony nominee Ann Hampton Callaway and special guest Denise Thimes, will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, 3750 Washington Blvd., St. Louis. It will be preceded by a VIP reception from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 314-678-0500.

Defending U.S. Women's Chess Champion Anna Zatonskih will be under a spotlight the following day, but she won't be able to see the glare. Zatonskih will play five people simultaneously, while blindfolded, as part of a series of events at the Contemporary Art Museum called "Playing in the Dark: A Collision of Art and Chess." She will have to make moves while seeing all five boards only with her mind's eye. Other special chess games will be played during the day. The games start at 2 p.m. Oct. 3. The public is invited. Spectators also can sign up to participate in "Bounty Blitz," fast games against competitors from the Women's Chess Championship, in which prizes are available. For more information, call 314-678-0500, or sign-up at

The championship games start Oct. 4, and will be played at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, 4657 Maryland Ave., St. Louis. The round-robin format means that all players face each other once over nine playing days.  The final playing day, Oct. 13, will include a tiebreaker game, if necessary, to determine a winner. All games are open to the public. For more information, call the Chess Club at 314-361-2437. The tournament is sanctioned by the U.S. Chess Federation.

A day after she's crowned, the 2009 U.S. Women's Champion will play a special guest in a game that combines roulette and chess. (The game was developed for the event by tournament chair Jennifer Shahade and artist and writer Larry List.) The players will spin the wheel to determine which piece they move. The game is open to the public, will start at 6 p.m. Oct. 14, and is held in conjunction with the show, "Chance Aesthetics" at the Kemper Art Museum, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis.

On their off day, Oct. 9, some players will take part in SciFest '09 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the St. Louis Science Center, 5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis.  During the event, called Chess Queens' Express, championship players will play up to 10 members of the public at the same time.

For a complete listing of all events surrounding the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship, go to .

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization that opened in July 2008. Founded by retired investment fund manager Rex Sinquefield, it has more than 500 members. The club offers free classes for beginners, discounted tournament entry fees and discounted merchandise for club members. For more information, please visit or call 314-361-CHESS.

The United States Chess Federation is the official U.S. membership organization for chess players and chess supporters of all ages and strengths, from beginners to grand masters. It has more than 80,000 members and nearly 1,200 affiliated chess clubs and organizations. For more information, visit