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First Moves


Calling Guinness!


World’s largest chess piece unveiled in St. Louis


ST. LOUIS, May 7, 2012—The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) unveiled the newest Guinness world record today—a chess piece that stands 14 feet, six inches tall and and is six feet wide at the base. The king piece is based on the “Championship Staunton” design and is made of layers of ¾-inch exterior grade plywood. It is 45 times larger than a standard chess piece. This new record beat the previous record, set in 2003, by 1 foot, 5 inches.


The Club, in partnership with the World Chess Hall of Fame also located in St. Louis, set the new record to help further cement the city’s reputation for being the hub of chess in the United States. The piece was unveiled to kick off the 2012 U.S. and Women’s Chess Championships, which took place May 7 through May 20. This is the fourth year in a row the Club has hosted the tournaments. As a part of the unveiling and tournament kickoff, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay issued an official proclamation, declaring St. Louis the “Gateway to Chess.”


“The St. Louis Arch was built to commemorate St. Louis as the gateway to the west,” said CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich. “This record-breaking chess piece is meant to celebrate another distinction for our city. St. Louis has truly become a center of chess culture, and this larger-than-life chess piece serves as a striking monument to honor our city’s involvement in the game.”


The piece was built by R.G. Ross Construction, located in St. Louis, and has been officially approved by Guinness as a world record. Following are some key statistics about the world’s largest chess piece:


• The piece took 18 days to construct and weighs more than 2,200 pounds.


• The piece is taller than a professional basketball hoop (10 feet), an average-sized female giraffe (14 feet) and the Statue of Liberty’s fingernail (13 feet).


• If the piece were to be used during a chess game, the square the piece sits on would be nine feet by nine feet, and the board would be 72 feet by 72 feet. This board would be big enough to hold 392 bathtubs or nine school buses.


GM Hikaru Nakamura compares kings. Nakamura went on to become a king himself as he won his third U.S. Championship after this picture was taken; we will have full coverage in next month’s issue.


8 Chess Life — July 2012 uschess.org


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