The federation considered moving to multiple cities including Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas for the headquarters. But St. Louis quickly rose to the top.
“It has a thriving chess community. And that’s sort of the characteristic that helped it rise above some of the other places that we looked at,” said U.S. Chess Vice President Randy Bauer, who also cited the city’s central location, airport and business community.
The announcement is another boost for what is already considered the Chess Capital of the U.S.
“We’ve done a lot with chess in St. Louis,” said St. Louis Chess Club Executive Director Tony Rich. “The club started in 2008 with a simple vision of providing a community center for people to play chess and to teach children the game. Since then, we’ve grown to host every national championship for the past 10 years. We host international tournaments and events,” Rich said.
The club has taught 60,000 children about the game, Rich said. He regards the addition of U.S. Chess to St. Louis as an opportunity to expand those efforts beyond the region.
“We teach in about 100 schools around the area. So, I think our two missions are just so closely aligned that it makes perfect sense for U.S. Chess and the U.S. Chess Club to work together.”
U.S. Chess currently employs about 20 people. The federation is looking at a few spots around the area, but has not yet made a final decision on an exact location for the headquarters.