Chess Club Offers New Support Program for Patients, Caregivers

Jason Merrill

Sept. 14, 2009 – The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine will offer a chess-playing program designed to brighten the lives of patients and caregivers during treatments. Called Chess for Life, the program was developed in conjunction with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The program, which starts Oct. 9, will have several distinct components:

  • Chess tables will be available in the seventh-floor treatment center in the Center for Advanced Medicine on Siteman’s main campus in St. Louis, and boards and pieces will be available at the volunteer desk.
  • Volunteers will play games and offer instruction to patients and caregivers at the treatment center.
  • An Internet-based Web site will be active, allowing Siteman patients to play with other people or with a computer.
  • Special offers, including coaching by chess grandmasters and free passes to the Chess Club, will be available to patients.

Chess for Life was inspired by Jim Corbett, a Siteman patient who was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer in September 2007. During his treatment, Corbett’s mood was lifted when he began playing chess. Unfortunately, he died Dec. 15, 2008. Chess for Life was established by the Chess Club as a tribute to Corbett.

“This is an important partnership for the Chess Club,” says Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “Bringing chess to Siteman is a small way for us to help their patients and caregivers, and it’s a fitting tribute to Jim Corbett.”
Chess for Life will start Oct. 9 with a kick-off event from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the atrium of the Center for Advanced Medicine, 4921 Parkview Place, St. Louis, MO 63110. The event will include short announcements, continental breakfast and the opportunity to meet Jennifer Shahade, two-time American women’s chess champion and Grandmaster.

For more information, call Kylie Latham at 314-747-9095 or e-mail