World Chess Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame has moved to Saint Louis, from its former home in Miami

The World Chess Hall of Fame began in 1986 and is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess.

The arts-based institution will present exhibitions of artistic and historical significance from collectors and nationally and internationally recognized artists. It will also offer interpretive programs, such as dance, music and art performances, that lend context and meaning to chess.

In addition, the Hall of Fame will commemorate the careers of its members. By enhancing public understanding and appreciation for chess, the Hall of Fame will serve as a catalyst for the advancement, development and understanding of the game.

The Hall of Fame is a separate entity from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The organizations differ in that the Club focuses on encouraging the play of the game, while the Hall of Fame will focus on the historical and socio-cultural significance of the game, as well as how that significance has been interpreted by cultures worldwide.

WHOF Exterior Facade

Exterior Facade

WHOF German Castle

Neresheimer French vs. Germans Set and Castle Board. 1905 – 10. Hanau, Germany. Silver and gilded silver, ivory, diamonds, sapphires, pearls, amethysts, rubies and marble.

WHOF Chess Piano

Chess Piano

The Hall of Fame has moved to Saint Louis, from its former home in Miami. Situated in the heart of Saint Louis’ Central West End, the Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue.

The Hall of Fame is directly across the street from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. It opens to the public on September 9, 2011.

The first and second floor galleries will feature temporary exhibitions, which will change twice a year. The third floor gallery will display rotating objects from the permanent collection and feature the hall of fame.

WHOF Small Room

Small Room

WHOF Gallery 2

Gallery

The Hall of Fame’s permanent collection includes:

- A 5,000-year-old piece from an Egyptian game called senet, the earliest known board game

- A custom-made set of chess furniture that belonged to American Grandmaster and World Champion Bobby Fischer

- The first commercial chess computer

- A silver service awarded to Paul Morphy, American chess player and World Champion

For more information visit www.worldchesshof.org, Facebook or Twitter (@WorldChessHOF). Thanks to Laura High and Joseph Boyd.

WHOF 1915 Fabergé

1915 Fabergé Egyptians vs. Assyrians Set with Presentation Case. 1915. Russia. Faberge. Cast silver and gilt. Faberge Karl Gustav Hjalmar Armfeldt.

WHOF Danko Propaganda

Soviet Propaganda Set. 1923. Russia. Polychrome Porcelain. Natalia and Yelena Danko.

WHOF chesspiano

Piano: 31.5 x 27.2 x 27.2 inches, The chess piano: walnut, ebony, fihte, maple wood, piano mechanism, chess pieces, two wooden stools. Courtesy of the Artist, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam and Marc Foxx, Los Angeles.

Chess on snowy peaks and sand-dunes of Morocco

Report by Stanislav Vlček

Is it possible within one week to play chess game at the highest snowy peaks of the High Atlas Jebel Toubkal (4167 m) and on the sand-dune of the Sahara desert? You do not believe?

Evidence may be photos and record of games played by two young international masters from Slovakia, Peter Vavrák (2474) and Štefan Mačák (2400), who accompanied by the author of this article and photographs, Stanislav Vlček and Pete’s girlfriend Evka took a round trip in a country of great contrasts and unusual natural beauty – Morocco.

Inspiration we could take from the greatest chess celebrities, namely Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov, who held training camp in Marrakesh before Magnus’ winning streak on the super GM tournament in Wijk aan Zee 2010.

Morocco 1

Morocco 2

The swift game from the Jebel Toubkal summit, in honor of the grandmaster Eduard Gufeld who liked to give his hilarious games poetic names, I named it “The High Atlas Snowflake”. Game is likely the chess altitude Slovak national record and would not lose even in global rankings. The only known attempt to me is the act of members of the Brunei Chess Federation, who played a blitz tournament in the base camp below Mount Everest of 5300 m. (See http://www.bruneichessfederation.com/?paged=2).

Game from sand-dune Erg Chebbi in comparison to the mountain one is a little “dry” and therefore deserves name “The Desert Rose from Merzouga”. Nuances of the positional maneuvering were relentlessly interrupted by our eager camel guide, who felt great need to sell us some minerals and fossils, among them the mentioned desert rose… Leaving them no choice but to agree with the draw …

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Before entry to town of Gibraltar you need to cross airport runway. To go on the red light is not recommended.

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Gibraltar official guardian

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Tangier, our first Moroccan city will held Expo 2012

No wonder that between chess players and tourists there is a strong bond. Chess and hiking have a lot in common and complement each other. To maintain concentration during a long game of chess is required sufficient physical condition which to be gained and kept it by an additional sport.

Alternation of physical and mental burden has a positive impact on performance in both areas. Hiking, like chess, naturally will support growth of the will, stamina and the patience. In both cases, we approach by the slow steps gradually to the ultimate goal.

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In the 3200m above the sea you can refresh yourself and spend night in the chalets Neltner or Mouflon

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Jebel Toubkal summit (4167 m), IM Peter Vavrák, FM Stanislav Vlček, IM Štefan Mačák, 20.5.2011

Whether it’s a wonderful view from the summit or the taste of victory in a chess game or a quality tournament, there is a fundamental difference. Pleasure in both cases is not alone achievement of the objective but also the path to reach him. But as you are closer to your goal, the more effort on every other step are demanded to be made. To stand and admire our successes, or go to downhill whistling is much easier than to climb-up hills. For chess this is doubly true, although the course of action is slower. Similarly, preparing for a difficult hike or game must be very careful, every slightness can play a decisive role.

But there are also “minor” differences. Hiker’s successful descent and expectation of warm supper in the base camp joys him, while chess player’s bad performance and following fall down on the rating ladder depresses him. One bad move in a chess game can affect the health and life of wooden chess king, while after the evil step on a difficult hike consequences can be a real disaster.

Fortunately, tourists, unlike chess players, generally “play” together, not against each other.

Photo gallery by Stanislav Vlček


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Koutoubia minaret in Marrakesh is the oldest and most famous mosque in Morocco

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Young artisan is creating new chessman (Fondouq Marrakesh), Štefan acknowledged his mastery and bought a chessboard here.

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Glorious 110m high Cascades d’Ouzoud waterfalls – curiously a local swimming course was held during our visit

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Ait Benhadou Kasbah, the place where some famous Hollywood movies were recorded. Among them is The Gladiator with Russel Crowe (2000).

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IM Peter Vavrák (on the left side in blue Tuareg scarf :-) ), member of the Slovak Olympic team for the Chess Olympiad in Dresden 2008

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The caravan is returning from nearby oasis

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Bab-e Jeloud or Blue Gate is the main entrance to the medina in Fes

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Author of this article, FM Stanislav Vlček

Photos from Yangon, Myanmar

Report by Peter Long

Campomanes Memorial Yangon International Open was played on 5-12 July 2011 in Yangon, Myanmar. Philippine’s IM Oliver Barbosa emerged winner with 7.5 points. FM Peter Long enjoyed a tour around Yangon and here are his impressions.

One of the most important Buddhist shrines in the world but by itself one of the wonders of the ancient world, the Shwedagon Pagoda dominates the Yangon skyline, part of the life of ever city dweller, and is literally the centre of the Myanmar universe.

Shwedagon Pagoda is 2,500 years old, materialising in brilliant epoch in Buddhist history. Two Myanmar brothers visited the Buddha in India with a gift of honey cakes and were rewarded with 8 hairs personally removed from his head for enshrinement in their native town which is Yangon today.

On their return the hairs were presented to their King who erected the Pagoda which originally just 66 feet high has grown from the 14th century onwards to its present 326 feet height!

Yangon Entrance

Yangon Centre

Yangon Courtyard

Shwedagon is not the only thing that Yangon has to offer!

Another major attraction is Karaweik Palace in the Royal Gardens (yes, Yangon is a city of parks) which for many years was something only ordinary people could gape at! With the end of the royalty, this golden barge was where only the richest and most noble of society would assemble for whatever such people did for leisure and so became of symbol of aspiration.

Today it has become a restaurant for grand events and functions, with cultural shows daily together with Myanmar traditional food served most evening as a buffet (not the food pictured which is a typical meal!).

For more, I strongly recommend you visit Myanmar! It is inexpensive and a truly wonderful experience.

Yangon Walkway

Yangon Steps

Yangon Shrines Everywhere

Yangon Public

Yangon Main

Yangon Night

Yangon Details

Yangon Ceremony

Yangon Barge