Saturday, February 1, 2020

Chess Collectors International Biennial Meeting - MEET US IN ST. LOUIS!

Hola darlings!  Now that I've got all of the Christmas decor finally put away once again until the day after Thanksgiving 2020, the house is decorated snug and cozy for our cold and snowy winter, and all my prep for Super Bowl is ready even though my beloved Packers aren't playing, it's back to the regular routine of sometimes blogging. 

The CCI International meeting that's held every two years in different places around the world is  going to be in St. Louis, Missouri this year, home of the St. Louis Chess Club and the World Chess Museum in a wonderful area of St. Louis right across the street from each other. 

I attended a CCI meeting there in 2009 and found it well worth the trip, as well as greatly enjoying my leisurely exploration of the neighborhood around the venue and the classic, elegant hotel (the Chase Park Plaza) where we were staying and the lectures and chess auction were held, sponsored by the CCI.  I did several entries from St. Louis at the time including lots of photographs from my explorations around the neighborhood at this blog.

The meeting will be held May 27 - 31, 2020 in St. Louis.  Below are the contents of the Invitation, Registration Form, and Provisional Program for the meeting.  Unfortunately, it's far beyond my meager blogger capabilities to attach the documents as PDFs/Word Dox, but I'm sure Tom Gallegos would be happy to send you the forms in the format required via email upon request (Tom's contact information is listed in the Invitation information below.



Saint Louis, Missouri, USA 
May 27 - 31, 2020 


You are hereby cordially invited to attend the 19th Biennial Congress of Chess Collectors International, to be held in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, from May 27th through the 31st, 2020.

We have an exciting program planned for you. Saint Louis is the permanent home of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF), and the fabled Saint Louis Chess Club. For those of us used to small, dingy chess clubs, stepping into the St. Louis club feels like arriving in the Promised Land. Along with the chess-themed Kingside Diner (which actually has two locations in the St. Louis area), this part of the upscale Central West End neighborhood is referred to as the “chess campus.” The most important links for these fine institutions are as follows:

World Chess Hall of Fame:
Saint Louis Chess Club:
The Kingside Diner:

The theme of our 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. Just a few highlights:

• 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.

• Lectures on chess-related topics, a chess auction, a chess market, etc.

YOUR ORGANIZERS:          Tom Gallegos:
                                                 Luann Woneis:

Please feel free to contact either of us at any time with any questions, comments or concerns you may have about the conference.

HOTEL INFORMATION: Our conference hotel will be the Chase Park Plaza (owned and operated by Royal Sonesta), located a short walk from the Chess Campus at 212 N. Kingshighway Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108. Our special Chess Rate is $159 per night. There is no breakfast included with the rate (a breakfast buffet is available in the Preston, currently $22 per person, or you may order off the menu). However, you may sleep 1, 2, 3 or 4 people in the room and the rate is still just $159 per night! This rate is good up to 3 days before and/or 3 days after the conference. For this meeting, we have a dedicated travel agency, ChiChi Travel, that works directly with the World Chess Hall of Fame, and this is how we are getting the special rate. Please make your hotel reservations through their travel manager, Kelly Toal, via e-mail: or by phone at 314-678-0500. You will need to provide your arrival & departure dates, name, and credit card number with expiration date to book the room. Please mention Chess Collectors International to receive the special rate. Our block of rooms is fairly small, so please book your hotel room well in advance of March 31, 2020!

AUCTION INFORMATION: We will hold a chess auction on Saturday May 30th at 10:00 am. The auctioneer will be Link Auction Galleries, which is housed in a lovely 1902 church building at 5000 Washington Place, St. Louis, MO 63108. This is a pleasant six-block walk from the Chase Park Plaza (a bus or shuttles will also be available). Our group will be bidding live and in person, but there will also be internet competition via Prior to the auction there will be viewing hours, and Link has also generously offered us the use of their facility for our morning lectures for two days prior to the auction, saving us a great deal of money on hotel conference rooms. (And it means you will have at least two days to preview the auction items prior to the auction on Saturday.) Susan Kime, the head of Link Auction Galleries, is a well-known and respected fine art and antiques appraiser/auctioneer with over twenty years experience in the St. Louis area. She has been a featured appraiser for PBS Antiques Roadshow since 2011, and she will be coordinating our auction personally.

CONSIGNMENT INFORMATION: If you have chess sets, boards, books, clocks, ephemera or other chess-related items you wish to sell at auction, you will need to make your consignment and shipping arrangements directly with Link Auction Galleries. Please contact them via e-mail at, or by phone, 314-454-6525. The deadline for consignments is March 31, 2020.

CHESS MARKET INFORMATION: The chess market will take place on Saturday, May 30, 2020, about 3:00 in the afternoon (after the auction), at the Kingside Diner. Please let us know if you need a table for the items you are offering. There will be no fee for this. The chess market will begin just a half-hour before the simul, which will also be at the Kingside Diner. (In other words, if you are playing in the simul, but also want to shop the chess market, you will be able to do so, but only if you can be quick about it!)

SPECIAL NOTE FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS TRAVELING TO THE USA: For travelers from many countries, if you do not already have a valid visa for travel to the USA, you may no longer need one (provided you are arriving by air or sea, not over land through Canada or Mexico). For most European countries, a few British Commonwealth countries, and several other nations around the world, there is now something called the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), for which you can apply through the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Make your ESTA application as soon as you know your travel plans. Do not wait until the last possible minute to apply for your ESTA waiver. (The last possible minutes is defined as 72 hours before your flight. You could still do it then, but this would be cutting it close!) Go to the following US Government link for further information, and to apply online:


CCI’s 19th Biennial Congress,
St. Louis, Missouri, USA 
May 27 – 31, 2020 

Please complete the form below and mail it along with your check for US $385.00 per person for members and their guests ($435 for non-members), by no later than March 31, 2020. (Please print clearly and legibly): _________________________________________________________________________________ Your Name _________________________________________________________________________________Name(s) of your guests or additional attendees

Check here if you are a vegetarian or vegan:_______ (Circle one)

Check here if you’d like to play in the simul:_______

Check here if you need a vendor table for the chess market:_______

Your email address for confirmation and subsequent information regarding the conference:_______________________________________________________________________

Please make your check payable to Chess Collectors International. Mail the check and your completed form to:

Tom Gallegos
6352 Utica Street Arvada,
Colorado 80003-1470 USA

Our non-USA members have the option of paying the registration fee in cash at the meeting, if they choose. We unfortunately have no way to accept PayPal, credit cards, or bank wire transfers at this time.

PLEASE REGISTER EARLY: As an incentive, the first 25 people to register will have the option to attend a special concert taking place on May 27th from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, courtesy of WCHOF. The indie-folk duo Whitherward will perform.


CCI’s 19th Biennial Congress, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
May 27 – 31, 2020 

Wednesday, May 27th: 1:00 – 5:00 Registration in the Chase Park Plaza (our conference hotel)
                                      5:30 – 7:00 Reception at the WCHOF
                                      7:00 – 8:00 Folk concert at WCHOF: Whitherward (25 tickets available)
                                      7:00 Informal dinner (not included in conference fee)

Thursday, May 28th:    9:00 – 12:00 Morning lectures at Link Auction Gallery (and auction viewing)                                     12:00 – 2:00 Box Lunch (included with the conference fee)
                                     2:00 – 5:00 Exhibition at WCHOF: Dare to Know: Chess in the Age of                                                                    Reason  
                                     5:30            Bus departs from hotel for the riverboat
                                     6:00 – 9:00 Dinner cruise aboard the Tom Sawyer riverboat (included)

Friday, May 29th:        9:00 – 12:00 Morning lectures at Link Auction Gallery (and auction viewing)                                     12:00 – 1:30 Lunch (included with the conference fee)
                                     2:30            Bus departs from hotel for Gateway Arch Museum – explores St.                                                          Louis’ role in westward expansion (free), and/or a chance to ride                                                            the tram to the top of the Gateway Arch on your own. (Tram                                                                  tickets are $16 adults, $12 children, not included.)
                                    7:00             Dinner (included)

Saturday, May 30th:   9:00 – 10:00 Final auction preview
                                  10:00 – 1:00  Chess Auction at Link Auction Galleries
                                   1:00              Lunch on your own (not included)
                                   3:00 – 6:00   Chess Market at the Kingside Diner
                                   3:30 – 6:00   Simul with GM Var Akobian (FIDE 2614) at the Kingside Diner                                       7:00 – 10:00 Enlightenment Gala Dinner at Chase Park Plaza (included)

Sunday, May 31st:     9:00              Informal farewell breakfast at hotel (not included) Opportunity to                                                          visit (on your own) local attractions such as the St. Louis                                                                        Cathedral, the 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,                                                          other Lewis & Clark sites such as the Lewis & Clark Historic Site                                                          in nearby Illinois, the Lewis & Clark Boathouse & Museum in St.                                                          Charles, etc.

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