St. Louis just got a whole lot stronger in chess. A press release buzzed around the Internet about U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura relocating from the friendly climes of Seattle with its comfortable living for the St. Louis, a place known mostly for “The Arch” and its baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Nakamura will move from Seattle, a place where he gained prominence by winning the U.S. Championship at age 16. Last year, he won the title at the opulent Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL).
In talking to Nakamura in previous months, it was evident that he wanted to make a serious bid for the World Championship and was seeking a supportive environment. He certainly picked a winner in associating with the CCSCSL. Club founders Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield have put together a wonderful presence and has quickly become one of the most important chess entities in the country. It was his initiative that inspired Nakamura to make the move.
However, no one could have predicted this move by Nakamura. Rumours swirled the Internet about the U.S. Champion moving to Japan, Europe or Canada. Of course, these were only speculative fodder for chess blogs and websites. However, the Canada rumour may have had more truth than conjecture. Now that he has settled on St. Louis, he will defend his title on his new homefront and will certainly be welcomed by the St. Louis and surrounding Midwestern states. Nakamura is good for U.S. chess and it will be interesting to watch him in these crucial years as he plots a course to compete for the World Championship.
CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich said Nakamura’s decision will benefit not just St. Louis, the club and the American chess scene as whole, but ultimately it will benefit Nakamura as well.
“We hope that the support Nakamura will receive in Saint Louis will help him reach his full potential,” Rich said. “He has achieved so much in just the past year, it is impossible to predict how far he could go. Nakamura’s appearance and success on the world stage can help promote American chess at all levels.”
Best wishes from The Chess Drum community!
Press Release: Nakamura to relocate to St. Louis