How COVID-19 Impacted St. Louis Chess Player
Growing up I was very interested in both chess and the medical field. As a pre-med student, I wish I had been educated and trained enough to help during this very uncertain time. However, being a chess player the only thing that has motivated and inspired me over the past month has been the St. Louis Chess Club. I didn’t expect my Grandmaster in Residence’s third term to be fully online, but luckily in chess all you need is an online chess board and someone to play .
As with many other organizations, the St. Louis Chess Club has been temporarily closed to the public since March 17, with only a few staff entering each day and most of the full-time and part-time staff working from home. While at the club, we practice social distancing and constantly use disinfectant sprays and wipes.
I’ve been teaching and listening at the chess club since last summer, and enjoy teaching my weekly Ladies Knight and Chess and Psychology classes. Using online chess board technology as well as Twitch.tv and YouTube, the club has had the opportunity to continue teaching all of its courses and lectures online, allowing players around the world to engage with instructors and instructors. streamers, to improve their understanding of chess and simply have fun and enjoy the game! There are a large number of engaged and loyal viewers from countries like India, Italy, Spain, Canada and the United States. Since all of the colleges in the St. Louis area suspended in-person classes after spring break, I was able to stay busy and involved with additional chess club classes and flows. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment because I can always give something back to the ever growing chess community.
Over the past month, many new events have taken place on STLCC’s Twitch and YouTube channels. For example, on April 22, they held a Chess 960 online tournament. For those who are new to Fischer Random or Chess 960, the pieces are shuffled around the first row on each round, which makes this game unique and innovative by compared to a typical classic game. I enjoyed playing in this 960 online chess tournament, and I know that I will be able to continue the experience of chess creativity and fun. There have been weekly staff tournaments on lichess.com allowing club staff from various departments to engage in the competitive side of the game of chess. Additionally, chess clubs across the country have collaborated and regularly compete in online tournaments to engage their members and audiences in new and different ways. So far, I have played in three of the four online games and have scored 4.5 / 6.
Thinking back to the last month, time has passed for me. I am very happy to have been busy with chess and my university studies. I don’t know what life will be like after COVID-19, but I do know that as long as we take the advice of medical professionals and stay busy, we can get over this. Until then, fortunately, we have the failures.
Dorsa Derakshani is an Iranian-American female grandmaster, international master and FIDE coach. She moved to the United States in 2017 and has represented the United States ever since. In 2019, she gave a TEDxTalk on freedom of choice and accompanied her team to achieve bronze at the World Prestigious University Chess Invitational in Tianjin, China. She is a member of the St. Louis Chess Club, a partner of St. Louis Public Radio.