Representatives of the World Chess Hall of Fame will be present on August 9, 2021, to commemorate the Missouri Bicentennial and announce plans for a life-sized granite chessboard at Adrian’s Island in Jefferson City, Missouri, spearheaded by the Saint Louis Chess Campus’ Co-Founder and Scout Leader, Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield.
With the assistance of The State Historical Society of Missouri and engravings by Scout Andrew Dowden at the Sinquefield Invention Lab, the chessboard will depict some of the Show-Me State’s most significant people and historical moments.
On August 10, 2021, people around the state will commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial. As part of these celebrations, a life-sized granite chessboard will be unveiled at Adrian’s Island in Jefferson City, Missouri. Surrounding the board are 32 images representing the contributions that Missourians have made in varied fields including agriculture, music, literature, and sports. The board also celebrates significant historical moments and personalities from the state’s history, including President Harry S. Truman, Dred and Harriet Scott’s courageous efforts to gain their freedom, and the innovations of George Washington Carver.
In 2020, I became part of the Missouri Bicentennial Commission, which was created by Governor Mike Parson in a 2018 Executive Order. Carrie Tergin, the Jefferson City Mayor and Co-Chair of the Missouri Bicentennial Commission, wanted to build a bridge to Adrian’s Island to develop the land into a public park. I suggested adding a life-size chessboard to the park that would allow students to learn about the state’s history while enjoying themselves outdoors.
The project was unanimously approved. I worked with Dr. Michael Sweeney and the State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO) to select pictures of the state’s history that would be engraved on the chessboard. Each image appears in this brochure, accompanied by information written by the staff of the SHSMO about the importance of the moments and individuals featured on the board. The World Chess Hall of Fame and the Saint Louis Chess Club funded the project and their staff designed and produced this booklet.
The chessboard also features key contributions from young Missourians. Andrew Dowden, a member of Troop 6 in Jefferson City, engraved the squares as his service project to become an Eagle Scout. He created them using an Epilog laser engraver from the Sinquefield Invention Lab at the Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation. The Lab has the mission to facilitate hands-on education and invention of new ideas and technologies, while utilizing problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination in a team environment. It features a number of tools to foster creativity, including 3D printers, and laser engravers. Additionally, Dowden created the concrete chessboard, which required a concrete base. Each of the squares was installed with the help of Scouts and Scouters. Maya Thomas, a member of Troop 242 in Columbia, created the benches surrounding the board from 200-year-old Missouri oak wood as part of her Eagle Scout project.
The project is also a nod to the Show Me State’s rich chess history. Saint Louis was one of three American cities to host the first World Chess Championship, held in 1886 between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort. Today, the Saint Louis Chess Campus, which comprises the Saint Louis Chess Club and the World Chess Hall of Fame, brings the best American players to Saint Louis for national championships and the strongest players from around the world for tournaments like the Sinquefield Cup and Cairns Cup. Their efforts have also led the United States Congress to declare Saint Louis the nation’s chess capital in 2014.
I am proud to be a part of this project that combines two of my family’s passions: the Scouts BSA and chess. I hope that this chessboard will offer Missourians entertainment and education for many years to come.
-Dr. Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield
To view the entire Flickr album for Missouri Bicentennial Chess Board Unveiling click here!
To downlad a printable brochure click here!
To download a printable Missouri Bicentennial Chessboard Educator Packet click here!
8/9/2021: Missouri Times — Missouri officials dedicate Bicentennial Bridge
8/8/2021: Fulton Sun — Statewide efforts culminate in bicentennial events
8/7/2021: News Tribune — Statewide efforts culminate in bicentennial events
8/7/2021: Columbia Missourian — Aug. 6-10 bicentennial schedule
8/6/2021: Lake Gazette — Aug. 6-10 bicentennial schedule
8/3/2021: Columbia Missourian — Show-Me 200 years: Join the state's bicentennial celebration
8/3/2021: Missouri Times — Capital city to host bicentennial celebration next week