GM in Residence at the CCSCSL: Ben Finegold
By Mike Wilmering   
November 10, 2009
IM Ben Finegold. Photo Betsy Dynako
ST. LOUIS -- The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis has hired Grandmaster (GM) Ben Finegold as its first GM-in-residence. As GM-in-residence, Finegold will give weekly lectures, provide lessons to members and others, teach summer camps and work with the club’s scholastic program.
Finegold is expected to start shortly after New Year’s. The Detroit native, who now lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., will move to St. Louis to work at the club full time.
Few chess clubs have full-time GMs-in-residence.
“It’s another sign that our club in St. Louis is one of the premiere institutions in the country,” said Tony Rich executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “It’s going to help raise the level of play in St. Louis and encourage other titled players to come to St. Louis.”
Finegold, 40, is one of the top 25 ranked players in the United States. He has played in six U.S. Chess Championships and twice tied for first in the U.S. Open Chess Championship.
Known for his good nature and self-effacing style, Finegold provided expert commentary during the 2009 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship held last month at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
That appearance convinced Chess Club officials that Finegold would be an ideal GM-in-residence.
“He’s easy to get along with,” Rich said. “Sometimes you have a good teacher and sometimes you have a good chess player. It’s not often those things overlap in the same person. He’s the right person to teach any level of chess player.”
Finegold said his main task will be turning out stronger chess players from the St. Louis area.
“Probably 50 to 60 percent will be giving private lessons in the club,” he said.