The Chess Drum's
65th Square

Can You Keep the Beat Going?
by Daaim Shabazz, Ph.D.

Over the past two years, The Chess Drum has been able to present a variety of information highlighting the accomplishments of players in the African Diaspora. It has been a privilege for me to see the vehicle grow and to have become a fixture in the chess community. As the name of the site implies, there is a certain pulse or beat that exudes the spirit of Black chess players around the world and is slowly beginning to make it presence felt.

Marking the 2nd year of its birth, The Chess Drum has developed a life of its own and in the coming months,  it will slowly take on a new form.  In my communication with visitors, I'm often asked a number of questions about the site stemming from hours invested to where I find my sources of information.  In answering these questions, one must realize that putting together a site that is representative of the accomplishments of Black players around the world is a challenging task. Thus, I've attempted to use my creativity to make the site easy to read, easy to navigate and rich in content. 

What is the reward for one's work? Voltaire once said, "The greatest reward for a thing well-done, is to have done it." This work is a labor of love and it is a work that must be done! I realized this many years ago when the idea was conceived. The million-dollar question is whether there will be an explosion of creativity to help further the overall mission of producing a stronger cadre of chess players within the African Diaspora.

It's fine to present the history of Black players and even current tournament successes, but the mission is about the future. What processes are being put into place to ensure that Blacks in the U.S. (for example) do not continue the drought of having produced only a handful of National Masters (2200 USCF) in the last ten years)?

I'm approached by a number of people at U.S. tournaments who present the most amazing ideas. Unfortunately, most of them are left in the dustbin of history.  There is a saying that, "ideas not coupled with action are never bigger than the brain cells they once occupied." As much as we would hate to admit, this is a frequent occurrence. The defining factor will be the extent to which a common spirit can be achieved to execute these ideas.

There are many discussions about chess and its future, and Black players from around the world must enter into these debates and begin to create ideas for chess excellence. This could mean opening a chess club, becoming an International Arbiter, earning the Master's title, coaching young children, building a chess website, or becoming a tournament organizer. Only with this type of activity will we be able to reach the critical mass and keep the beat going.

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