World Chess Hall of Fame – St. Louis, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

World Chess Hall of Fame

A chessmaster's dream destination. 


Those who are knowledgeable about the Keizer system and believers in the Tarrasch rule, as well as mindful of the difference between zugzwang and zwischenzug, will find much to delight them at the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). Those not so sure will find that there’s much to learn.

The Tarrasch rule, for example, is the general principle that rooks should be placed behind passed pawns. It’s named after Prussian chess player Siegbert Tarrasch, one of the players enshrined at this institution in St. Louis, which serves as a museum, an education center, and a monument to great achievements in the classic game. Tarrasch is one of 19 to have been inducted into the World Hall of Fame and 52 members have been inducted into the U.S. Hall of Fame, which is also in the building.  

The WCHOF is the only institution of its kind and managed by the United States Chess Trust. It opened here in the Central West End neighborhood in 2011. Its permanent collection includes a book of chess openings signed by Bobby Fischer, a 500-year-old senet piece, the first chess-playing computer, and a silver chess set presented to champion Paul Morphy. It partners with the local chess club to provide instruction for players of all ages and also hosts some of the most competitive tournaments to be had.

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