Photography courtesy of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis
The 2016 U.S. Chess Championship and the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship are underway at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, which along with its sister organization, the World Chess Hall of Fame, regularly offer exhibits and programs for all ages.
One of those offerings, the "Kings, Queens & Castles" exhibition, brings the history and rules of chess to life through interactive features including a life-sized chess board, art stations where kids can create their own shields and crowns, and a castle complete with a drawbridge and turret slides. Designed by the World Chess Hall of Fame and The Magic House, the exhibit is on display at the Hall of Fame through September 11, after which it will travel to select children’s museums around the country. (Admission to the exhibit is $5; World Chess Hall of Fame members and visitors under 5 are admitted free.)
The World Chess Hall of Fame also offers family-friendly outreach events, including Saturday Family Days, which offer two identical sessions—at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.—that feature a tour of current exhibitions and a related art project or activity geared to families with kids ages 5 to 12. (The non-member fee is $5 per child.) For babies and preschoolers, Toddler Tuesdays begin at 9 a.m. and feature light refreshments and social time, followed by activities to encourage creative and cognitive development in children ages 3 and under. (The Toddler Tuesdays non-member fee is $5 for each child/adult pair. Organizers recommend registering in advance for either event because space is limited.)
“What makes these events so popular is the idea that families get to engage in an activity that’s inspired by chess and the exhibitions at WCHOF that takes them off in other creative directions,” says program coordinator Kathryn Adamchick. “We hope to make chess more accessible to young people, but also to encourage them to make connections between chess and daily life, to be creative and have fun.”
The neighboring Chess Club and Scholastic Center also offer classes and lectures for various ages and abilities. Through April, the events calendar could be affected by Chess Championship rounds, so check the club’s events page for details.