ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The very best chess players from around the world are competing with the very best chess players from the United States, and they're doing it in St. Louis.
It ischess being played at its highest level, observed by its biggest fans and it is all happening live at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in the Central West End.
"The Sinquefield Cup is the World Series, the Superbowl and the Stanley Cup all combined into one," said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the club.
The cup itself, a miniature replica of a two-foot silver trophy on display at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis comes with a lot of gold: $170,000 in prize money, $70,000 of which goes to the first place winner.
"Whenever you have two players creating a beautiful game on a board it can be seen as a piece of art," Rich said.
At the Sinquefield Cup tournament, the artists are four Grand Masters, including Magnus Carlsen from Norway, ranked number one in the world, and Hikara Nakamura who now lives in St. Louis and is ranked number one in the United States.
"I get the question back home a lot, (why are) you going to St. Louis to watch chess games?" said Ed Gonsalves, a fan from Rhode Island.
"It is just fierce competition, me against you and I got to beat you and people sweat bullets. It is great competition, and it is definitely a sport," Gonsalves said.
From the basement of the club, commentators offer play-by-play through the internet and to overflow crowds watching on monitors upstairs, next door and across the street.
Daniel Parmet came all the way from Milwaukee to attend the tournament but was watching the first match on TV at the Hall of Fame.
"I spent some time up in the room when it started and I will be back there throughout the day, but it is nice to get some commentary and see the players and be in the isolation of silence with the moves," Parmet said.
The Sinquefield Cup is named for St. Louisan Rex Sinquefield, who five years ago created the chess club. The tournament runs through Sunday.
"The adrenaline is pumping," Gonsalves said.
"I am raring to go!"