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Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

May 27 - 31, 2020  


CCI’s next biennial meeting will take place in Saint Louis, USA.  In keeping with CCI's long-standing tradition that the biennials occur two in Europe, one in the USA, two in Europe, one in the USA, etc. (because Europe has a greater number of active collectors), we have recently had:   

Jersey City, USA                    16th Biennial, 2014  

Paris, France                         17th Biennial, 2016  

Prague, Czech Republic       18th Biennial, 2018   

It is the USA's turn next.  Saint Louis, in addition to being a lovely Midwestern American city, is the permanent home of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF), and the Saint Louis Chess Club.  Both are located in the upscale Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis.  So much chess goes on here that the area is affectionately referred to as the “chess campus.”  There is even a chess-themed restaurant right next door, the Kingside Diner.  Check out these links:   

World Chess Hall of Fame:

Saint Louis Chess Club:

The Kingside Diner:  

CCI has visited the chess campus before, but never for a biennial.  If you think you know St. Louis, just wait.  This will be a completely different meeting.   

The theme of the 2020 meeting will be, "From the Enlightenment to the Wild West."  Usually, those two historical periods are never mentioned in the same breath, but they do link up in one and only one place on Earth:  St. Louis.  That is because the United States once had, to its credit, a very important Enlightenment figure you may have heard of, Mr. Thomas Jefferson.  In 1803, President Jefferson purchased a rather large plot of land from Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and suddenly needed to explore it.   

In his unquenchable thirst for knowledge ("Are there woolly mammoths out there?  Are there giants?  Is there an easy water route to get from here to the Pacific Ocean?") Jefferson commissioned the legendary Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804 - 06.  This expedition, also known by its more romantic name, the Corps of Discovery, just happened to embark from ... St. Louis.  That is why St. Louis has the famous arch, and is known today as the "Gateway to the West."  From this city, you have only to turn your face to the west to look out over the Great Plains, once the home of bison and rattlesnakes, cowboys and Indians, and beyond that, to the Rocky Mountains.   

·         The featured exhibition in the museum during our visit will be "Dare to Know:  Chess in the Age of Reason," which will explore the complex and fascinating role played by the Game of Kings at a time when many nations and peoples were just beginning to throw off their kings.  Expect to see a startling selection of original sets, boards, books and other chess artifacts from the 18th and very early 19th centuries, featuring the true first edition of Denis Diderot's massive Encyclopédie (published 1751 - 1780), which everyone has heard of, but few have ever seen, along with a genuine, period Encyclopédie chess set to go with it.  The Encyclopédie is universally considered by scholars and historians to be the most important document or artifact of the entire Age of Enlightenment, one which literally rocked the foundations of Western Civilization as we know it.   

·         A public reading of the poem, Caïssa, written by William Jones of England in 1763, when he was just a 17-year old boy.  We have all heard of the Goddess of Chess, but how many collectors or players can say they have actually heard the poem which originated this myth?  (And no, the earlier 1527 poem by Hieronymus Vida, so often cited, had little to do with it, presenting a very different mythical origin for chess, and not mentioning a goddess or nymph named Caïssa.)   

·         Morning lectures on chess-related topics.   

·         A chess auction (consignments wanted!) and a separate chess market.   

·         A simultaneous exhibition by a grandmaster, to be named later.   

·         A probable visit to the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford, Illinois.  Camp Dubois (“Wood Camp”) is a recreation of the original Lewis and Clark camp site for the winter of 1803-4, just prior to their embarkation.   

·         A dinner cruise on a Mississippi paddlewheel boat, with a fine view of the Gateway Arch.  (For those interested, longer paddlewheel cruises are possible before or after the meeting, to ports of call such as Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans.)   

·         Free time to visit other local attractions such as the Gateway Arch, National Blues Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, History Museum, Cahokia Mounds Historic Site, the Botanical Gardens, Trolley Tours, the St. Louis Zoo, the Mercantile Library, etc.   

·         An Enlightenment-themed gala dinner.   

·         Surprises possible.   

YOUR ORGANIZERS:  Tom Gallegos and Luann Woneis have been attending CCI meetings since the 1990's, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to organize one ourselves.  Though we live some 800 miles from St. Louis, in the Denver area, we pledge our best efforts to making this meeting as interesting and worthwhile as possible.  Chief Curator Shannon Bailey and her staff at the WCHOF have graciously offered us their assistance with the planning and logistics for this meeting.   

It is time to start getting a rough count of how many people are planning to attend.  If you think you’re coming (we understand if it is too early for some of you to say) please contact either or both of us at:   

Tom Gallegos:

Luann Woneis:  

Do not be shy about contacting either of us at any time with any questions, comments or concerns you may have about the conference.   

There will be a complete programme, hotel information, and official registration form in the next issue, which you will also receive by mail under separate cover.  Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you next spring in sunny Saint Louis!   

Tom Gallegos & Luann Woneis  


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for St. Louis

Looking For A Webmaster  

CCI needs a web presence!  Unfortunately, it’s been several years since CCI has had a functioning English language website.  Crazy, right?  We are looking for a volunteer who can create and maintain a basic, no-frills website for the club on one of the free or inexpensive services such as Wix, Go Daddy, etc.  If you have web design and development skills, and would like to be our club’s new webmaster, please contact Tom Gallegos at and let’s discuss the possibilities.