The World Chess Hall of Fame recently unveiled the newest world record for the largest chess piece, certified by Guinness World Records. The record-breaking king chess piece stands 20 feet tall with a base of 9 feet, 2 inches, and is an exact scale replica of the black Staunton King piece used in the inaugural Sinquefield Cup held at the Saint Louis Chess Club annually since 2013.

The new Guinness World Record for the world’s largest chess piece, a Staunton King measuring 20 feet tall, sits outside its home at the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End. Image courtesy World Chess Hall of Fame

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Saint Louis Chess Club and one of the finest decades in American chess history,” said Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator of the World Chess Hall of Fame. “There’s no better way to celebrate this anniversary, and our city’s role as a global chess destination, than to return the title of Largest Chess Piece to its rightful home in Saint Louis.”

Saint Louis, the U.S. Chess Capital, was previously home to the world’s largest chess piece from 2012 to 2014, until surpassed by a 16 foot tall chess piece in Belgium. The newly unveiled king piece on the Saint Louis Chess Campus tops the previous world record set in 2014 by nearly four feet. Saint Louis’ former world record, a 14 foot king piece, will be relocated to another prominent location in the Saint Louis area.

The new world record chess piece was installed just in time to preside over the 2018 U.S. and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships, the country’s most elite, invitation-only chess tournaments, held at the Saint Louis Chess Club from April 17-30, 2018. Saint Louis resident Fabiano Caruana, who recently became the first American to challenge for the undisputed World Chess Championship title since Bobby Fischer in 1972, will be competing against one of the strongest fields in U.S. Championship history.

The piece was hand-carved and sculpted by R.G. Ross Construction in Saint Louis, constructed entirely of African Sapele Mahogany and finished with a tung oil sealant. In addition to its impressive height, the piece weighs more than 5 tons, totaling a whopping 10,860 pounds. The record-breaking piece will reside at the entrance to the World Chess Hall of Fame.

The Central West End or “The CWE,” as locals often call it, is a neighborhood designed for the pedestrian with its array of sidewalk cafes, boutiques, historic streetscapes, and even the World Chess Hall of Fame on Maryland Ave.

APA Names Central West End As One of America’s Top 10 Great Neighborhoods

ST. LOUIS, MO, ( – American Plannning Association’s (APA) flagship program – Great Places – celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

The Central West End was recently designated as one of America’s Top 10 Great Neighborhoods. The following is a summary by the APA.

Located west of downtown St. Louis, the Central West End or “The CWE,” as locals often call it, comprises 112 city blocks nestled between St. Louis’s crown jewel Forest Park (a 2013 APA Great Public Space) and the St. Louis University campus.

The CWE is a neighborhood designed for the pedestrian with its array of sidewalk cafes, boutiques, historic streetscapes, and even the World Chess Hall of Fame. Locals and tourists alike flock to the neighborhood’s mixed-use district along Euclid Avenue. Iconic griffin-adorned lamp posts, tree-lined sidewalks, and a dense clustering of statues and other public art add to the CWE’s pedestrian-scaled amenities and attractions.

The Central West End is home to 14,000 residents, with twice that number employed at the neighborhood’s medical campus. The Washington University School of Medicine and BJC Healthcare campus, combined with the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and the Cortex Innovation District, form one of the largest regional centers of employment and are national leaders in medical research and tech startups.

The historic neighborhood’s housing stock primarily dates back to the early 20th century, built largely in response to the 1904 World’s Fair in nearby Forest Park. World’s Fair-era hotels, now restored and converted to high-rise apartments, overlook large single-family, architect-designed homes in ornate Classical Revival styles. Adding to the architectural mix will be no less than three new high rises, representing the largest residential building boom witnessed in the city in decades.

Engaged community leadership is pursuing alternative transportation options for the neighborhood, including a Bus Rapid Transit line, a streetcar line, and a new MetroLink light rail stop within Cortex (a recent recipient of a federal transportation grant) to further the Central West End’s status as a car-optional neighborhood.

Active neighborhood groups work to preserve the local flavor and host annual events to showcase the Central West End including the sometimes risqué Central West End Halloween party (in its 31st year) and the always aromatic St. Nicholas Greek Festival (in its 97th year), drawing tens of thousands of visitors for cleverly costumed people-watching and mouth-watering baklava.

A Holiday Window Walk highlights CWE storefronts adorned with festive decorations and holiday lights, while Taste of Central West End highlights the diverse culinary offerings of the neighborhood, among many other annual neighborhood events.

The Angel of Harmony, a stainless steel sculpture of an African-American angel, created by artist Wiktor Szostalo, features massive uplifted wings comprised of copper and brass wind chimes.

One of St. Louis’ featured business districts hosts an assortment of fine restaurants, multi-cultural galleries, specialty shops on Euclid Avenue, Maryland Plaza and McPherson Ave.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, located at 4431 Lindell Blvd., contains the world’s largest collection of mosiac art, covering 83,000 square feet. The cathedral, designated a basilica in 1997, was built between 1907 and 1909.

The interior mosaics took a father and son team nearly 80 years to create using than 41 million pieces of tile in over 7,000 colors. A Mosaic Museum, located in the lower level of the cathedral, traces the contruction and installation of tiles. The glittering green dome is a landmark feature of the Central West End.

The Angel of Harmony, a stainless steel sculpture of an African-American angel, was commissioned by the Archdiocese of St. Louis for the visit of Pope John Paul II in January, 1999. The sculpture, created by artist Wiktor Szostalo, features massive uplifted wings comprised of copper and brass wind chimes.

It is the gift of Adelaide Schlafly in memory of her late husband, Daniel. The angel’s arms are outstretched over three children of different ethnic and racial backgrounds playing a “Hymn of Peace” on diverse instruments. Quotations from the New Testament, Pope John Paul II, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a dedication to Mr. Schlafly are inscribed on the base.

A life-size bronze sculpture of Pope John Paul II, by artist Rudy Torrini, sits on a red Missouri granite base outside the cathedral. The sculpture was commissioned by the Archdiocese of St. Louis to commemorate the Papal Visit, January 1999. For more information, call (314) 458-4343.

The Chase Park Plaza, at Kingshighway between Lindell and Maryland Plaza, has been renovated for hotel accommodations and upscale private residences. The complex features restaurants, a movie theatre, and banquet facilities.

A fountain, retail shops, restaurants, sidewalks with planters and historic street lights create a European feeling on Maryland Plaza.