By Travis H. Brown
They called him one of the best closers of all time in St. Louis Cardinals history. But today, his opening game was hard enough – on the chess board.
Over his major league baseball career as a hard-throwing reliever, Todd Worrell has pitched over 256 saves. Today, celebrating the opening of the U.S. Chess Championship, Worrell came out of the bull-pen with his aggressive, high-speed burners. However, this time it was a bishop screaming off the mound.
Left to Right: Rex Sinquefield, Todd Worrell, Aeneas Williams, Tony Rich - When reusing images please credit: Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer
KSDK Sports Team Katie Felts with Aeneas on Chess - When reusing images please credit: Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer
The defender, however, was no ordinary opponent. NFL St. Louis Rams legend Aeneas Williams made a name for himself with 12 defensive touchdowns and 55 career interceptions.
Yet the four time All-Pro cornerback and free safety acknowledges that improving his chess game involves the a lot of mental determination. The athletes’ genuine sense of competition was evident as Rex Sinquefield and Tony Rich coached them through the moves that Grand Masters make.
KSDK Interviews Chess Club Founder Rex Sinquefield - When reusing images please credit: Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer
This weekend, KSDK Sports Team Katie Felts features more about the often under-estimated sport of chess.
Another passion of both Worrell and Williams is philanthropy in St. Louis. Todd Worrell has been an engaged board member of the Greater St. Louis Fellowship for Christian Athletes for over 14 years. Aeneas Williams dedicates his service to his Spirit of the Lord Family Church and public appearances across a wide variety of charities.
KSDK at the chess plate with Todd Worrell - When reusing images please credit: Betsy Dynako, Official Event Photographer
Lest you think that professional chess is only for the professionals, meet 10 year old Margaret Hua. Already one of the highest ranked chess players in the US, Margaret is shattering old molds of what it takes to be the best in St. Louis. KETC Living St. Louis Producer Ruth Ezell offers visitors an insider’s look at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
For up to the minute twitter news on the ten day competition, follow www.twitter.com/ccscsl
Click here for high-resolution images hosted on Google's Picasa