The World Chess Hall of Fame unveiled the newest world record for the largest chess piece, certified by Guinness World Records. The record-breaking king chess piece stands 20 feet tall with a base of 9 feet, 2 inches, and is an exact scale replica of the black Staunton King piece used in the inaugural Sinquefield Cup held at the Saint Louis Chess Club annually since 2013.
“This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Saint Louis Chess Club and one of the finest decades in American chess history,” said Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator of the World Chess Hall of Fame. “There’s no better way to celebrate this anniversary, and our city’s role as a global chess destination, than to return the title of Largest Chess Piece to its rightful home in Saint Louis.”
Saint Louis, the U.S. Chess Capital, was previously home to the world’s largest chess piece from 2012 to 2014, until surpassed by a 16 foot tall chess piece in Belgium. The newly unveiled king piece on the Saint Louis Chess Campus tops the previous world record set in 2014 by nearly four feet. Saint Louis’ former world record, a 14 foot king piece, will be relocated to another prominent location in the Saint Louis area.
The new world record chess piece was installed just in time to preside over the 2018 U.S. and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships, the country’s most elite, invitation-only chess tournaments, held at the Saint Louis Chess Club from April 17-30, 2018. Saint Louis resident Fabiano Caruana, who recently became the first American to challenge for the undisputed World Chess Championship title since Bobby Fischer in 1972, will be competing against one of the strongest fields in U.S. Championship history.
The piece was hand-carved and sculpted by R.G. Ross Construction in Saint Louis, constructed entirely of African Sapele Mahogany and finished with a tung oil sealant. In addition to its impressive height, the piece weighs more than 5 tons, totaling a whopping 10,860 pounds. The record-breaking piece will reside at the entrance to the World Chess Hall of Fame.