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World Chess Hall of Fame’s New Exhibit Highlights Chess Prodigies

World Chess Hall of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame's most recent exhibition, “Masterminds: Chess Prodigies," explores the stories of chess prodigies from past to present.

St. Louis native Leroy Muhammad started playing competitive chess at 16 years old. In 1966, while attending Sumner High School, he tied for first in the 265-player Eastern Open held in Washington, D.C. After that, he won the top junior prize at the U.S. Open in Seattle. He eventually became one of the first Black chess masters in the U.S.

“Young people really do have dominance in the game,” said Emily Allred, curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame. She joined St. Louis on the Air on Monday to discuss Muhammad’s story.

She also talked about other chess prodigies from past to present who are recognized in the World Chess Hall of Fame’s most recent exhibition, “Masterminds: Chess Prodigies.”

“One thing that’s really fun about this show is you’re getting to celebrate these kids who work really hard to accomplish things,” Allred said. “They do have natural talent, but they study really hard. They play in tournaments. … They’re competing in these international championships with players around the world.”

The show will be on display in person and virtually until Nov. 7.

Related Event
What: The opening reception for “Masterminds: Chess Prodigies”
When: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Feb. 11
Where: 4652 Maryland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108 (Virtual tours are available at https://worldchesshof.org/)

"St. Louis on the Air" brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.