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On Chess: Blood drive combines history and helping

Detail from the cover of Red Cross magazine

The American Red Cross and the World Chess Hall of Fame encourage chess fans to help save lives – and learn more about the impact of chess in World War II -- by donating blood at the Hall of Fame on Monday, Jan. 4.

The blood drive serves as a strong companion to the World Chess Hall of Fame’s “Battle on the Board: Chess during World War II” exhibition, which details the role of chess in aiding service members during wartime. The Red Cross provided its own relief to service members during the war, with a team of 7.5 million volunteers and 39,000 paid staff serving the military.

Furthermore, the very act of giving blood with the Red Cross has its roots in World War II: the Red Cross Blood Donor Program began in 1941 as a way to ensure blood products would be available as America prepared to enter the war.

When the Red Cross was given the task of enforcing Geneva Convention regulations on the treatment of POW’s, it worked to look after not only the physical conditions of captured troops, but also their mental and emotional needs. One way the Red Cross did that was to facilitate deliveries of packages to POWs; many of those packages contained chess sets. 

“The Red Cross is proud to partner with the World Chess Hall of Fame to help save lives,” said Todd Wagner, donor recruitment director for the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “The Red Cross was there for service members and civilians during World War II, and like the game of chess, we’ll continue to be there for future

The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to resolve to give blood regularly, beginning in January. Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types AB, O, B negative and A negative.

To find other places to donate go to www.redcross.org/mo/st-louis

To learn more about the World Chess Hall of Fame's exhibition, "Battle on the Board," visit www.worldchesshoforg.

Dan Fox is xxternal communications manager for the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois and Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Regions, covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas and Tennessee.