World Chess Hall of Fame Premieres 'Living Like Kings' Tonight

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Tonight The World Chess Hall of Fame is gearing up to open “Living Like Kings,” a groundbreaking exhibit exploring the intersection between hip-hop and chess (you’d be surprised).

Visitors can explore the connection on the second floor’s Learning Lab, which lets visitors interact with the show via music and video station, education presentations and hands-on art. There are also two graffiti-inspired exhibitions by two local artists: Adrian O. Walker, who captured photos of beautiful street art in St. Louis, and Daniel Burnett, who is leading the development of a mural series. Each month during the exhibit’s duration will be a new work based on a different chess piece. Burnett leads with the pawn, followed by work from Christopher Burch, Ruben Aguirre, Ben Pierce, Stan Chisholm, and Nice & Lucx.


Photo by Patrick Lanham

Photo by Patrick Lanham

The crown jewel of the exhibition is a commissioned multimedia and interactive work on the first floor by artist Benjamin Kaplan that explores themes that both seemingly disparate worlds share: History, strategy, spirituality, process, creativity, symbolism and education. The installation features video, music and photography—original and from the archives. It also incorporates bespoke type and illustrations, as well as interviews from luminaries such as Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, women’s Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade, and Big Chair Chess Club, Inc. Founder Eugene Brown. All of these components are interwoven by Kaplan into a linear narrative to immerse the audience in the 20-minute experience.

“Benjamin’s piece creates a potent storyline that takes viewers on twists and turns and leaves them with the realization that there are connections in the world they never knew existed. These new ways of looking at things are beneficial to everyone — no matter if they play chess, love hip hop, or are just curious about this exceptional show,” says WCHOF Chief Curator Shannon Bailey.

Curious? Check out the October issue of ALIVE or get the full story here.

“Living Like Kings” opens on Oct. 9 and runs through April 26, 2015. Admission to the first floor gallery is free with a $5 per person recommended donation. Visit for more info, or check out their Tumblr.

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