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For the blind man in the dark room looking for the black cat that isn't there, the excessively-named current exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; www.contemporarystl.org or 314-535-4660), espouses the virtues of curiosity and sudden inspiration in both artists and audience. Chess, when played at the highest levels, similarly requires intellectual curiosity and moments of inspiration for player and audience. So with the U.S. Women's Chess Championships taking place in St. Louis October 3 through 13, it's fitting that the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis and the Contemporary would combine forces for an afternoon. Playing in the Dark: A Collision of Chess and Art features U.S. Women's chess champion Anna Zatonskih playing blindfolded chess against five opponents simultaneously. Women's Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade, author of Chess Bitch and all-around interesting person, performs hulachess, a live version of her collaborative film wherein two women play chess while hula-hooping. If you're a player yourself, you can sign up to participate in a bounty blitz tournament, which is the chess equivalent to a barroom brawl; prizes will be awarded to players who defeat any Masters. Playing in the Dark runs from 2 to 6 p.m., and admission is free.
Sat., Oct. 3, 2009

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