Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

On the heels of the glorious Olympics held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil the world chess community prepares to assemble in Baku, Azerbaijan for the 42nd Chess Olympiad beginning next week on September 1st. A record number of participants will be representing their countries and holding their flags aloft. Thus far 176 nations are scheduled to partake in the games to compete for medals and also to conduct the business of FIDE in the General Assembly and Congresses. However all is not well in FIDE and Jamaican Chess Federation President Ian Wilkinson is preparing to submit a proposal to the General Assembly stemming from U.S. sanctions levied against President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Ian Wilkinson QC

The last Olympiad in Tromso, Norway saw a hotly-contested Presidential FIDE election with Ilyumzhinov pitting his 18-year record against the former World Champion of Garry Kasparov. Ilyumzhinov won the contest in convincing fashion in a campaign marred by mutual accusations of bribery, conflicts of interests and vote-tampering. Ultimately, Kasparov and Ignatius Leong were sanctioned by FIDE for breaching a code of ethics for conduct exhibited during the campaign. Both were suspended from FIDE activities for two years.

In a strange twist of events, the U.S. Department of Treasury levied sanctions against Ilyumzhinov for allegedly facilitating transactions with the government of Syria led by Bashar al-Assad. The press release (released on November 25, 2015) read in part:

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was designated today for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria, Adib Mayaleh, and Batoul Rida. Ilyumzhinov is a wealthy Russian businessman, former president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, and long-time World Chess Federation president. He is linked to financial transactions involving Khuri-associated companies [Mudalal Khuri has had a long association with the Assad regime and represents regime business and financial interests in Russia] as early as 1997 and owns or controls the Russian Financial Alliance Bank, along with Khuri. An advisor to Ilyumzhinov, then-President of Kalmykia, was convicted in Russia in 1999 for the murder of an opposition journalist who reportedly was investigating an offshore business registration mechanism in Kalmykia tied to Ilyumzhinov. Russian authorities subsequently closed the offshore business registration mechanism after concluding that it was being used for illegal purposes. (full statement)

This statement was released amidst FIDE’s bid for a contract to host the World Chess Championship in New York. It complicated matters since the sanctions would mean that Ilyumzhinov’s sanction could affect the negotiations. FIDE briskly responded to the news with the following statement:

Athens, 6 December 2015

Following the announcement by the US Department of the Treasury that the US levied sanctions against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Russian citizen and FIDE President, Mr. Ilyumzhinov has informed the Presidential Board that he will withdraw from any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE until such time as Mr. Ilyumzhinov is removed from the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list.

Mr. Ilyumzhinov advised that he has initiated legal procedures in the US aiming to request additional information and reverse restrictive measures put by the US Department of the Treasury. During the next Presidential Board meeting, Mr. Ilyumzhinov will update the Board as to the progress of the legal procedures.

Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s decision to withdraw from any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE is to enable him to concentrate on clearing the situation with the US Department of the Treasury.

Until further notice, under section A.9.5 of the FIDE Statutes, if the President: “duly authorises, then he can be represented by the Deputy President who shall exercise the powers of the President. The Deputy President can thus represent FIDE officially and can solely sign for FIDE.” Therefore, Mr. Makropoulos will now be exercising these powers and representing FIDE officially. Makropoulos has long been considered the most influential executive in Ilyumzhinov’s inner circle.

Nigel Freeman
FIDE Executive Director (full statement)

Despite Ilyumzhinov stating that there were no transactions made in Syria and no illicit activities, he vacated his seat as President and ceded administrative control of FIDE affairs over to Georgios Makropoulos. Thus, Ilyumzhinov withdrew from any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE until such time as he is removed from the OFAC list, but he remains in control of FIDE. Many have pointed to Kasparov as the instigator of this incident (by Vladimir Kramnik no less), but that would be making a gross assumption about his influence in U.S. political affairs. Kasparov called Kramnik’s assertion “bizarre” and denied any role in the sanctions.

Like anyone who cares about chess, I was saddened when the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Ilyumzhinov in Nov 2015 for aiding and acting for the brutal Syrian regime of Bashar Assad. It was another blow to the reputation of the game I have devoted my life to, one of many Ilyumzhinov has inflicted (full story).

On the eve of the Olympiad, Jamaica’s Ian Wilkinson, a dynamic and charismatic attorney who stood with Kasparov in his failed bid for FIDE President, has filed a motion demanding that the general body officially remove Ilyumzhinov from the seat of President. Wilkinson made the motion and it will appear on the agenda of the General Assembly.

His proposal is presented as such:



1. President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (hereafter called “the FIDE President”) has not kept a number of the promises he made during the last World Chess Federation (“FIDE”) Presidential campaign, including promises made on the 11th August, 2014, the day of the Presidential election at the Congress or General Assembly of FIDE in Tromso, Norway to provide specific sums for funding Chess activities.


2. Since in or about late 2015, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has imposed sanctions on the FIDE President for, among other things, allegedly “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria and the Central Bank of Syria”.


3. By virtue of the said sanctions by OFAC, any assets owned by the FIDE President in the United States of America are frozen and citizens of the United States of America are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the FIDE President.


4.The citizens of the United States of America include members of the United States Chess Federation, including any governing administration and players, with whom FIDE, in particular the FIDE President, is obligated to deal by virtue of his office as president of FIDE.


5. Based, among other things, on the said sanctions by OFAC against the FIDE President, FIDE’s operations, including its bank accounts, have been adversely affected or are likely to be adversely affected or subject to restrictions by OFAC.


6. The operations of the Confederation of Chess for the Americas (“FIDE America”) to which Jamaica belongs have also been adversely affected, or are likely to be affected, as a direct result of the sanctions by OFAC against the FIDE President.


7. In or about December, 2015 the FIDE President purportedly gave up his powers as President pending the resolution of the OFAC sanctions against him but, nevertheless, since then he has appeared at a number of events in his official capacity as President of FIDE.


8. In or about April, 2015 the FIDE President was elected as the Associate Members’ Council member on the Sport Accord Council but in or about late 2015 and 2016 the FIDE President was removed from the Sport Accord Council as the representative of the Associate Members and duly replaced.


9. FIDE’s reputation (and by extension the reputation of the sport of Chess) has suffered significantly due to the OFAC sanctions against the FIDE President with serious consequences, including loss of potential income, sponsorship opportunities and other forms of support for FIDE.


10.The said sanctions by OFAC have prevented the FIDE President from carrying out his duties as President of FIDE effectively. Further, while the said sanctions are in place they will continue to prevent the FIDE President from being effective or from discharging his responsibilities properly or at all.


11. The said OFAC sanctions against the FIDE President have devalued and/or weakened significantly the office of President of FIDE and brought disrepute and/or public scandal to the said office.


A. THAT the delegates or members of FIDE gathered at the Congress/General Assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan in September, 2016 call on the FIDE President to resign immediately as President of FIDE.

B. THAT if the FIDE President fails, neglects or refuses to resign as President of FIDE that the delegates or members of FIDE gathered at the Congress/General Assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan in September, 2016 vote to remove the FIDE President as President of FIDE.

C. THAT the delegates or members of FIDE gathered at the Congress/General Assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan in September, 2016, acting pursuant to the relevant FIDE statutes and/or regulations, authorize the Presidential Board, or any relevant official or body, to take the necessary steps to ensure that a new President of FIDE is elected as quickly as possible.

Dated the 15th day of July, 2016

Ian G. Wilkinson QC
President (and Delegate)
Jamaica Chess Federation

Wilkinson told The Chess Drum that he seeks abdication of Ilyumzhinov’s position, confirmation of Makropoulos as the Acting President for a specified time (determined by the body) and the possibility of arranging new elections prior to the end of the Ilyumzhinov’s term. It is Wilkinson’s contention that the current arrangement is causing irreparable damage to FIDE’s brand image. He also cited instances where chess officials attempting to raise funds for chess activities were rebuffed by sponsors due to the news of Ilyumzhinov’s sanctions.

Wilkinson emphatically contends that he is not a part of a conspiracy connected to Kasparov despite the fact that both share objection to the FIDE cabal. In fact, some of the supporters for his motion are not necessarily “pro-Kasparov” and have lent support to the idea of a FIDE shakeup two years after the election.

Wilkinson also excoriates FIDE’s inaction promoting chess in developing countries. For example, the money Ilyumzhinov pledged on the floor of the FIDE Congress has not materialized. In a more personal example to Wilkinson, funding for the UMADA Cup (held 2010 in Trinidad & Tobago and 2011 in Barbados) has dried up. This was a tournament launched during Ilyumzhinov’s campaign against Anatoly Karpov when he pledged an investment in the Caribbean.

With a record attendance in a non-election year, the 2016 General Assembly will have a clear focus on the business of FIDE and not be distracted with campaign politics. The bitter campaign of 2014 has had a lingering negative impact, particularly on fragile developing federations. Some federations have been fractured and wounds slow to heal in others. Be that as it may, Wilkinson’s proposal will not debate the rationale of the sanctions, but only to address the sanctions’ impact on FIDE as a body and chess as a sport.

Ian Wilkinson QC


Wesley So, in a beautiful barong, hoists the Sinqufield Cup aloft after winning the 2016 edition.

Wesley So, wearing a beautiful Filipino barong, hoists the Sinqufield Cup aloft after winning the 2016 edition. Photo by Lennart Ootes

Wesley So is heading to Baku, Azerbaijan to compete for gold on the U.S. Olympiad team. He got an excellent tuneup for the event with his close victory in a strong field. Despite Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik withdrawing, the field featured seven of the top ten (ten of the top 14) players in the world. The top seed would be Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France. Although there were a high number of draws in the tournament, the games were hotly-contested with So eking out the competition with +2. Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov followed with +1 on 5/9. Below So talks about the what helped him to succeed in the tournament.

Video by Mike Klein (chess.com)

So played the steadiest of them all with a key win over Hikaru Nakamura in the first round. With Topalov and Anand in the running, So vanquished the Bulgarian in their sixth round matchup. Annotations by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

After this win So vaulted to 4/6 with only one point separating the top eight players. Going into the last three round there were marquee matchups and there were no easy outs in the field. Both Anish Giri and Peter Svidler were having a rough time of it and could ably play the role of spoiler. However, the seventh round saw draws on every board and such a situation favored So. In round eight, Anand-Topalov would be a key matchup as was So-Caruana. Caruana had been the butt of jokes on the Internet about his seven consecutive draws.

Fortunes would not change as both of these games were drawn. Svidler-Giri was a bout of the tailenders and the seven-time Russian champion got his first win. It appears that Giri is taking more pride in his fashion sense than anything else. Truly a disaster for Giri who hemorrhaged 14 Elo points in the tournament. Both MVL and Ding Liren were not vying to win the tournament, but could certainly change the order of the tournament with an “upset”.

Nakamura watching the tension build in Topalov-Aronian.
Photo by Lennart Ootes.

Going into the last round, So only needed a draw to clinch a tie for first. However, a potential three-way made things a bit tense. Svidler-Anand playerd a trivial 30-move draw meaning that the Indian legend was satisfied with letting the other 40-something player to catch So. MVL-So had a theoretical discussion in the Berlin, but it ended in a comfortable draw. Now only Topalov-Aronian was left to determine whether there would be a playoff or not.

Unbelievably, Topalov got a winning position but bungled the rook ending. The timely 48.f4! would have created a passed pawn thus rook cutting the king off. It should have been enough to score the full point. Instead Topalov traded kingside pawns without with forcing a concession from black. The black rook fronted the passed pawn and black had a fortress. Thus, So would take clear first pipping the field by half point.

One wonders what will become of the Grand Chess Tour. The London Chess Classic is indeed a wonderful close of the season’s tour, but with the defection of the Norway Chess and the repetition of the players in the field for four events, it may not have the legs needed for the tournament to have a long run. The field has expanded from four players in the first season, six players in the second and then expanding to the current format of ten. The tour was affected by the exit of Magnus Carlsen and Vladimir Kramnik, but maybe a bit of tweaking is needed. For example, replacing the bottom feeders (last two) in each tournament as an incentive for fighting play. That way there is more incentive not to play a torrent of drawing games.

The Grand Chess Tour seems to be replacing some of the languishing tournaments in the circuit such as the Tata Steel tournament (successor to ill-fated Hoogovens and Corus) and whose future seems to be uncertain. After Linares folded in 2010, the six-player Bilbao (part of the Grand Slam Masters) has remain as one of the mainstays. However, it also features a number of the same players. Although it was announced that Tata’s sell off of the steel business would not affect the event, it is unsure how long the India company will stay vested.

The Qatar Masters and Millionaire chess have risen as strong opens, but are brands that are still growing. Nevertheless, the Sinquefield Cup remains as a wonderful event and St. Louis has become quite the venue to host the event. With Carlsen winning the first event in 2013, Caruana in 2014 and Aronian in 2015, the tournament was buoyed by the last to first victory of the personable Wesley So. The commentary in St. Louis was excellent and the production team was first class and has set new standards for making chess watchable and entertaining. See you next year!

2016 Sinquefield Cup
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Final Standings (Overall)
Rank Name Score Fed. Rating TPR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 GM So, Wesley 5.5 USA 2771 2859 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½
2 GM Caruana, Fabiano 5.0 USA 2807 2818 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
3 GM Aronian, Levon 5.0 ARM 2792 2820 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½
4 GM Anand, Viswanathan 5.0 IND 2770 2823 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½
5 GM Topalov, Veselin 5.0 BUL 2761 2824 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½
6 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 4.5 FRA 2819 2774 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½
7 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 4.5 USA 2791 2777 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1
8 GM Ding, Liren 4.0 CHN 2755 2738 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0
9 GM Svidler, Peter 3.5 RUS 2751 2702 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½
10 GM Giri, Anish 3.0 NED 2769 2655 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0
(All PGN Games)

Wesley So makes his statement.

Wesley So makes his statement. Photo by Lennart Ootes


GM Levon Aronian

Defending Champion, GM Levon Aronian (Armenia)
Photo by Lennart Ootes

With the World Champion Magnus Carlsen dropping out of the Grand Chess Tour to prepare for the World Championship in November and Vladimir Kramnik dropping out for what is presumed to be health issues, the Sinquefield Cup will be missing two legendary attractions, but will still be a powerful event. The American triad of Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So will hold down home court against the top seed and world #2, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave who has vaulted twenty spaces from last year.

Top seed, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

In the 2015 Sinquefield Cup, MVL was #24 in the world at 2731, but now has a rating of 2819, a career-high. There have been wild fluctuations in rating of several of the competitors with drops by Giri (-24 from 2793), Anand (-46 from 2816) and Topalov (-55 from 2816) from a year ago. Levon Aronian is the defending champion of the Sinquefield Cup and has rebounded after a slump in 2014-2015.

The Sinquefield Cup had been rescheduled due to the changing of the Olympiad which was affected by the World Championship. It was a cascading effect. Nevertheless, the field has an All-Star line-up with China’s Ding Liren and seven-time Russian champion Peter Svidler filling in the vacated spots.

The 2016 Sinquefield Cup is an elite international event, featuring 10 of the strongest chess players in the world. Over the course of nine rounds, these competitors will battle for $300,000 in prize money (first: $75,000, second: $50,000, third: $40,000, last: $15,000) plus points toward the Grand Chess Tour and the coveted title of 2016 Sinquefield Cup Champion.

The venue is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center at 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63108. Tickets cost $10 per round or $80 for all ten rounds. Full information available at the official web site. Live commentary will be given by an eminent line-up of Maurice Ashley, Jennifer Shahade, Yasser Seirawan with roaming commentating by Alejandro Ramirez. For more information, visit www.grandchesstour.com or follow along at @CCSCSL.

2015 Sinquefield Cup
August 4th – August 16th, 2016 (St. Louis, USA)
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (4657 Maryland Ave.)

Rank Name Rating Country Flag Age
No. 2 GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2819 France
No. 4 GM Fabiano Caruana 2807 USA
No. 5 GM Levon Aronian 2792 Armenia
No. 6 GM Hikaru Nakamura 2791 USA
No. 7 GM Wesley So 2771 USA
No. 8 GM Viswanathan Anand 2770 India
No. 10 GM Anish Giri 2769 Netherlands
No. 11 GM Veselin Topalov 2761 Bulgaria
No. 13 GM Ding Liren 2755 China
No. 14 GM Peter Svidler 2751 Russia
Official Site


Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica


Ian Wilkinson
Photo by Jamaica Chess Federation.

Defending champion Ian Wilkinson QC retained the National Veterans Chess title after drawing game three of the four-game Play-off match against Michael Diedrick in the 2016 Supreme Ventures Jamaica Veterans Chess Championship. The game was played at the headquarters of the Sports Development Foundation (“SDF”) on Sunday, July 31.

After winning the first two games and establishing a commanding lead, Wilkinson only needed a draw from the remaining two games to win the match. Armed with the white pieces in game three, he essayed the flexible and solid 1.Nf3 and Diedrick opted for the Queen’s Indian Defence with 2…b6. A tense struggle ensued as a determined Diedrick grabbed the initiative in the middle-game and went in search of victory. After thirty moves, however, he was uncertain how to proceed and worried that he might lose material. He, therefore, decided to settle for a draw (by repetition).

Arbiter Howien Foster (standing) looks on as Michael Diedrick assesses
his options close to the end of the drawn game 3.

The draw took Wilkinson’s tally to an unassailable two and a half (2 ½) points to Diedrick’s half (1/2) point, thereby allowing him to defend the title he won in the inaugural event last year.

The Play-off became necessary after both men scored six points in the William Roper Memorial Chess tournament (Jamaica Seniors Championships) that ended on Saturday, July 23. The overall event was won by World Chess Federation Candidate Master Robert Wheeler (seven points) who, therefore, retained his title as Jamaica’s 65 + year-old Seniors Champion.

By virtue of his victory Wilkinson will be Jamaica’s official representative in the 50 + year-old section at the World Seniors Chess Championships set for the Czech Republic in November, 2016. Wheeler will be Jamaica’s official representative in the 65 + year-old section.

The tournament (including the Play-off) was sponsored by Supreme Ventures, the Kasparov Chess Foundation, Medallion Hall Hotel and the SDF.

Wilkinson will be representing Jamaica at the World Seniors in November.

Jamaica Chess Federation
2016 August 1


Trinidad Trinidad Trinidad

Sonja Johnson
President of the Trinidad & Tobago Association
Photo by TTCA.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary of the Trinidad & Tobago Chess Association (TTCA) by hosting the Masters Open (TTIMO). The tournament is apparently the country’s strongest and has attracted players from a number of countries including GM Elshan Moradiabadi, an Iranian now playing under the FIDE flag and now living in the U.S. Also German Grandmaster Ilja Zaragatski is vying for the top spot.

Action started July 28th at The Normandie Hotel, St. Anns, Trinidad and will extend from through 5th August, 2016. Midway through the tournament Zaragatski has pulled into the lead follow by IM Pablo Herrera of Chile, a 1/2-point behind. IM Jose Gascon Del Nogal of Venezuela, GM Jha Sriram of India and Moradiabad leads a group of players challenging the leaders on point behind the leader. There are a number of patriots defending the home flag including FM Ryan Harper, many times national champion.

There is also an Open section reserved for players below 2100 FIDE. Just over 70 players are competing including a couple of IMs (!), a number of rising juniors and wily veterans. While norms will not be possible, the competition will be just as fierce. Follow the action at chess24.com and the standings at chess-results.com.

Masters: http://chess-results.com/tnr231011.aspx?lan=1
Open: http://chess-results.com/tnr231014.aspx?lan=1
Live Games: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/trinidad-and-tobago-international-masters-2016#live


IM Abdelrahman Hesham
All photos by Paras Gudka

Uganda was host to the 2016 African Individual Chess Championships held from 16th July 2016 up to 27th July 2016 at Tick Hotel in Kampala. Players from twelve countries came with visions and dreams of winning the title of African Champion. The event comprised two categories, the Open and Ladies category and had classical, rapid and blitz rate of play in each.

The tournament was competitive even through last year’s tournament was a bit stronger with GM Bassem Amin headlining the field with GM Ahmed Adly second seed. This year Adly would try to hold the board one position, but it is known that he has had trouble in first round matchups losing to less-fancied players. In the first round he was held by FM Patrick Kawuma of Uganda after going into complications that yielded black an exchange. Adly had to escape with a draw.

This would upset the charts and give other seeds a chance to hold the top table. It appeared that the top Egyptian players were being nicked by other players (or each other) and after four rounds, no one had a perfect score. GM Samy Shoker would also be in the hunt and he showed his mettle with this win over last year’s World Cup qualifier, IM Arthur Ssegwanyi. In this game, a queen sacrifice was on the board.

After five rounds, Adly was back at the top along with IM Arab Adlane, GM Essam El-Gindy and FM Andrew Kayonde. The Zambian Kayonde would become a GM-killer in the next round beating Adly and the Egyptian would never recover.

Meanwhile, Kayonde was now in first place heading for the title. He then beat El-Gindy staying ahead of the surging Egyptian IM Abdelrahman Hesham who had won four in a row. Kayonde was on 6/7 followed by Hesham’s 5.5/7 and the two would match up in an eighth round battle.

FM Andrew Kayonde

So Hesham would take the lead with the championship and GM title in sight. Kayonde also had such dreams, but had to take down another Grandmaster in Shoker who was trying to get one of the qualifying spots for the World Cup. All Hesham needed was a draw to clinch and he agreed to a rather effortless draw with South African IM Daniel Cawdery. Kayonde also split the point and would have to settle for the IM title. Nevertheless, the Zambian chess community was elated at his performance. In the end, the top four on the final table would be: Hesham on 7/9 followed by Kayonde, Adly and Arab on 6.5/9.

OPEN (Classical)

GOLD- IM Abdelrahman Hesham (Egypt)

SILVER- FM Andrew Kayonde (Zambia)

BRONZE – GM Ahmed Adly (Egypt)

FM Andrew Kayonde, IM Abdelrahman Hesham, GM Ahmed Adly

Final Standings (Open)

WGM Shrook Wafa
All photos by Paras Gudka

In the women’s section, a similar field from the previous year assembled, but without Africa’s top women’s player and defending champion, WGM Mona Khaled. Nevertheless several of the top competitors would be returning for another shot at glory. The top seed this year would be Shahenda Wafa and her sister two-time former champion WGM Shrook Wafa.

Both would be favorites along with Algerians WIM Amina Mezioud and WIM Sabrina Latreche. Last year’s 5th place finisher WFM Eman Elansary would be in the inner circle as would Zambia’s WFM Lorita Mwango. South Africa was sending five players with hopes to create some upsets. As it were, the favorites would hold their positions.

Zambia’s WFM Lorita Mwango

The initial round saw no upset, but in the second round Mwango was stopped by South Africa’s WIM Anzel Laubscher. However, it would be Mwango who would upset the pairings. After the upset loss, she with 3/5 against the top five seeds including a win over Shrook Wafa. However, Shrook was buoyed by her five wins to open the tournament and she got help from none other than her sister Shahenda who won a thrilling game against Mwango in round eight.

Botswana’s WIM Tshepiso Lopang, a long-time national player is now taking the role as organizer and arbiter in international tournaments.

Women in action!

Shakira Ampaire showing the Ugandan charm.

After eight rounds, Shrook Wafa was ahead of Shahenda Wafa and Eman Elansary by half-point. All three had already clinched medals, but the only thing left was to determine the 1-2-3 order. Shrook only needed a draw against Angola’s Esperanca Caxita to clinch the title which she duly earned. The other games were a formality, but of course South Africans Denise Frick and Robyn Van Niekerk were looking for upsets. While Wafa-Caxita was drawn, Wafa-Frick and Elansary-Van Niekerk went in favor of the Egyptians finalizing the clean sweep of the medals… Wafa, Wafa and Elansary.

WOMEN (Classical)

GOLD – WGM Shrook Wafa (Egypt)

SILVER – WIM Shahenda Wafa (Egypt)

BRONZE – WIM Eman Elandary (Egypt)

WGM Shrook Wafa, WIM Shahenda Wafa, WFM Eman Elansary

Final Standings (Women)

2016 African Championship winners


Young guns…FM Daniel Anwuli &
Omishakin Praise Akinloluwa
All photos by Boyo Paul Kehinde

Lagos, Nigeria hosted the second MC satellite tournament with the defending champion IM Bunmi Olape attempting to defend his title. Nigeria is a country of 175 million inhabitants brimming with intellectual talent comparable to any country. However, a complicated past creates an environment where talent cannot fully be nourished. Nevertheless, chess continues to grow in the country and the Millionaire Chess Open touted more than 17 players with Elo ratings of over 2100. There are a number of International Masters and the rising 19-year old star FM Daniel Anwuli.

Only two of Nigeria’s IMs joined the field, the defending champion, Olape and Oladapo Adu and constant favorite to win any Nigerian tournament. Going into the event, Adu had won six tournaments in a row. However, both IMs would be challenged by experienced veterans and wily junior players. The field was also graced by the presence of a number of women and girls. Before recounting the action, here are a few examples of the work being done in Nigeria.

In the first seven rounds, top qualifiers would go to the knockout round and vie for the MC title. Dapo Adu stood on +4 after seven rounds after a tense draw with Anwuli. Adu and FM Onovughe Ochuko were on 5.5/7 and seven other players on 5/7. The top eight on tiebreaks would go onto the knockout phase. The knockout would consist of two rapid games and two blitz games. Adu beat Udeme Edet took three straight wins to advance to the semifinal. He then defeated CM Adeyinka Adesina with same result and would face other finalist in Anwuli.

The two finalists had drawn in round seven in a very tough battle. Calling his 19-year old opponent a “young gun,” Adu certainly afforded Anwuli with due respect. In fact, Adu was down a game after the rapids and was in a must-win situation. After winning the first blitz battle, he needed at least a draw to head for an Armageddon game. However, Adu won the last game to win the match ending with a knockout score of 8.5/10.

IM Oladapo Adu receiving his 1st place prize from Nigerian Chess Federation President Lekan Adeymi.

According to interview by This Day Live, Adu stated, “I needed to win the two blitz games to become the overall tournament with a 2.5-1.5 thereby securing the ticket to the Millionaire Chess championship in Atlantic city, New Jersey, USA.” He later posted on Facebook how important it was to finally be able to compete in a Millionaire Chess Open. Mr. Lekan Adeyemi, President of Nigeria Chess Federation, commended all the participants for their competitive spirit all through the four-day event.

Photos (Kehinde): https://www.facebook.com/boyo.p.kehinde/photos_all
Results: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr230274.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821
Media: http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/07/20/sicilian-master-adu-wins-millionaire-chess-championship/

The 2016 Millionaire Chess Open

Thursday, October 6th through Monday, October 11th 2016
Harrah’s Resort (Atlantic City, New Jersey)


email address: contact@millionairechess.com
website: http://millionairechess.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HighStakesChess
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millionairechess
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/MillionaireChess

* * *


Zambian IM Daniel Jere won the Millionaire Open Satellite in thrilling fashion.
All photos by Reint Dykema (Facebook)

Zambia has long lived in the shadow of African chess powers, but they have repeatedly produced players of great talent. GM Amon Simutowe of Ndola, Zambia, is one of the greatest talents ever produced in Africa. However, chances are rare for players in the sub-Saharan region which is why opportunity to play in the Millioniare Chess (MC) satellite tournament was attractive to surrounding chess nations.

Millionaire Chess franchise has held its satellite tournaments for the second year in a row in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. After a rousing success in Kenya (won by CM Wachira Wachania), South Africa and Nigeria held simultaneous tournaments thousands of miles apart. GM Maurice Ashley was on hand to support the event and was able to visit some of the local schools.

GM Maurice Ashley giving simultaneous exhibition at a local school.

Set at Old Ed’s Sports Complex in Houghton section of Johannesburg, South Africa, the event would stage seven rounds plus a qualification for the top eight positions for the championships. Zimbabwean International Master Rodwell Makoto was the top seed followed by his Zambian counterpart, Daniel Jere. The Zambian jetted out with five straight wins including a win over Musatwe Simutowe and a nice win over Benjamin Hercules.

Ashley watching action in a tense battle.

Chess definitely showed its good qualities among the many competitors.

Providence conferring with arbiter… too cool inside perhaps?

Jere drew in 16 moves against IM Providence Oatlhotse, who dramatically won last year’s MC qualifier in South Africa. He sat on In a showdown of the two top seeds Jere facec Zim’s top seed Makoto. Almost immediately Makoto fell into opening preparation and lost a pawn. In the middlegame, white had his rooks doubled on the seventh rank and it appeared he would push for the initiative. The problem was that the extra pawn produced no tangible advantage and the game ended in a theoretically drawn position.

Jere gave up the half-point and finished the preliminary rounds on 6/7. FM Roberto De Abreu, IMs Ryan Van Rensburg and Makoto all had 5.5. Rounding out the top eight were: Hercules, Simutowe and Malawi’s Joseph Mwale. The playoff for the title was hotly-contested and Jere was nearly upended by Simutowe in the quarterfinal match. During the final moments of the Armageddon game, he got the win and moved onto the Semifinals.

IM Daniel Jere in a time scramble.

Musatwe Simutowe trying to figure out what went wrong in the critical moments.

Meanwhile, Makoto won his match against Hercules for another showdown. Makoto didn’t repeated his ill-fated choice of 4…Bg4 and played the common 4…dxc4. White scores well in this line and Jere seized the initiative once again. It appeared that Jere understood the nuances of the position better and pocketed a pawn after 20.Nb6. However, Jere erred with 30.g4 and allowed Makoto possible counterplay on the dark squares after his Ne5-g6-f4 maneuver. Jere held his position together and began to exploit black’s weak king. After 40.Rb8! Makoto collapsed and ended up losing his queen in the final position.

In De Abreu-Van Rensburg, white handed black the point when Hercules lost track of a piece. In the second game, De Abreu played a nice Benko Gambit, but his initiative petered out. Simutowe had a a thrilling match with Hercules and went through when the South African self-destructed in the Armageddon. Oatlhotse-Mwale also went the distance and the Malawian almost got the upset win needing only a draw on two occasions to advance. The Botswana came back with wins forcing the Armageddon which he won.

Daniel Jere and Ryan Van Rensburg shake hands before the final match.

In the finale, it would be the South African holding homecourt (albeit as the underdog) against Jere who had only lost two games the entire tournament. Van Rensburg was also have a strong showing with a key win over fellow IM Oatlhotse. Ironically Van Rensburg had lost only one game in the tournament and was seemingly in good form. Would he be able to take down Jere?

In the first game, Jere played his standard English and entered an uncommon line after 1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 e5 3. Bg2 h6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Nd5 Nxd5 6. cxd5 O-O 7. Nf3 d6 8.O-O Nd7?! Black’s approach was a bit more passive than 8…c6 which has good results. White grabbed space after 9. d4 exd4 10. Nxd4 Re8 11. Nb3 Nc5 12. Be3 Nxb3 13. Qxb3 Ba5 14. Rac1. Black was holding the position together, but white had developed a couple of structural advantages… better pawn structure and a potential passed a-pawn. Ultimately, these themes would provide Jere with the trumps needed to get an overwhelming advantage and he snared the full point.

In the second game, Van Rensburg got the kind of attacking position he sought, but in a critical position could have tried to confuse the Zambian with 24.Ne6!? but a draw would have been likely result in that variation. However, you need to give the opponent a chance to make mistakes in a tense moment. After 24.Ne4?? the game ended abruptly as 24…Bxd4 25.Rxd5 f5 nets a piece and Jere punched his ticket to Atlantic City for the Millionaire Chess #3. Congratulations!

Finally… tournament is over! In the last game, to finish Makoto wins 3-2
over De Abreu. Great fighting chess throughout!

Kudos go to the Millionaire Chess and the Kasparov Chess Foundation for putting on a high-class tournament. GM Ashley’s presence added to the prestige of the event and it is hopeful that there will be many more MC tournaments on the African continent.


2016 Millionaire Chess Open Satellite
July 13th-17th, 2016 (Johannesburg, RSA)
1 Jere, D (IM)
Simutowe, M
2 Makota, R (IM)
Hercules, B
3 De Abreu, R (FM)
Oatlhotse, P (IM)
4 Van Rensburg, R (IM)
Mwale, J
5 Jere, D (IM)
Makoto, R (IM)
6 De Abreu, R (FM)
Van Rensburg, R (IM)
7 Hercules, B
Simutowe, M
8 Mwale, J
Oatlhotse, P (IM)
9 Jere, D (IM)
Van Rensburg, R (IM)
10 Makoto, R (IM)
De Abreu, R (FM)
11 Simutowe, M
Oatlhotse, P (IM)
12 Hercules, B
Mwale, J
All PGN Games (MC Open, Top-8)

2016 Millionaire Chess Open Satellite
July 13th-17th, 2016 (Johannesburg, RSA)
Final Standings
1 Jere, D (IM)
2 Van Rensburg, R (IM)
South Africa
3 Makoto, R (IM)
4 Oatlhotse, P (IM)
5 De Abreu, R (FM)
South Africa
6 Simutowe, M
7 Mwale, J
8 Hercules, B
South Africa
(Full Results)

The 2016 Millionaire Chess Open

Thursday, October 6th through Monday, October 11th 2016
Harrah’s Resort (Atlantic City, New Jersey)


email address: contact@millionairechess.com
website: http://millionairechess.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HighStakesChess
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millionairechess
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/MillionaireChess

* * *


Kenya Kenya Kenya

GM Maurice Ashley’s excitement was effusive as he posted several comments on Facebook recounting his experience in Kenya. Ashley had spent days touring the schools in Kenya with a type of passion that only he could bring. With trips to Imara Daima Academy, Mwanzo Academy, St. George’s School in Nairobi, Ashley inspired hundreds of schoolchildren and perhaps conveyed how chess could be a veritable benefit in their lives… and fun!

Maurice is interviews upon arrival in Nairobi.

Maurice is interviewed upon arrival in Nairobi.
All photos by Githinji Hinga
unless otherwise stated.

Imara Daima Academy in Mukuru kwa Ujenga

Mukuru kwa Njenga is a slum in the east of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Mukuru kwa Njenga is a slum in the East of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Maurice Ashley at Daima Academy.

Ashley teaching his passion at Imara Daima Academy in Mukuru. Standing along was (from left to right) Graham Jurgensen of Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa, Eric Oyugi and Josphat McOwila, both of Sports Outreach Mission.

Mukuru kwa Njenga is a slum in the east of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Priceless moments… memories to last a lifetime.

St. George’s School

Students at rapt attention!

Lots of smiles! :-)

While on his maiden trip in Kenya, Ashley used so many superlatives to describe the country, its people and the optimism he saw. He also got a chance to take in the idyllic scenery of the coast. Visiting Diani he was able to walk on the beautiful beaches and gaze out over the Indian Ocean. For a Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-bred man, perhaps such beauty made Ashley seem like a wide-eyed child in a fantasy land.

Ashley was then the guest of honor at the Millionaire Chess Open satellite tournament and also performed as a commentator. The tournament exceeded expectations and the environment was abuzz with excitement. CM Wachira Wachania won the event after winning the final match against top seed Akello Atwoli. Wachania will receive an all-expense paid trip to Atlantic City to participate in the Millionaire Chess Open in October. In a report by Kim Bhari’s kenyachessmasala, the knockout phase included the top four players.

Kenyans were treated to the world-famous commentary of Ashley.
Photo by Kim Bhari

In this knockout stage CM Wachira Wachania defeated Martin Njoroge and Akello Atwoli defeated Mohammed Jeneby. The final battle for top prize was now going to be fought between Wachania and Atwoli with two rapid games of 15 minutes each. If still tied, two blitz games followed by Armageddon. Wachania and Atwoli split the rapid games, but Wachania won both the blitz when Atwoli lost both on time. Thus, Wachania was declared the winner of the second MCO satellite tournament in Kenya.

All Games (PGN)

CM Wachania Wachira (center) receiving his 1st place award.
Photo by Kim Bhari

The Millionaire Chess satellite event in Kenya was a breathtaking success! This year’s 190 players blew away last year’s 110 by a long way. The Nairobi Gymkhana was a fabulous venue, and the many new sponsors shows that support is growing for chess here.

I can’t speak enough for the steady sponsorship hand of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa nor for the rock solid leadership of Githinji Hinga of Chess Kenya. In just a few short days I’ve come to be smitten by the country, its friendly people and their wonderful hospitality. I look forward to returning here for years to come!

The 2016 Millionaire Chess Open

Thursday, October 6th through Monday, October 11th 2016
Harrah’s Resort (Atlantic City, New Jersey)


email address: contact@millionairechess.com
website: http://millionairechess.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HighStakesChess
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millionairechess
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/MillionaireChess

* * *


The World Open is the biggest stage of American chess where the stars here and abroad come to vie for the $225,000 guaranteed prize fund. The landscape of chess in America has changed over the last 40 years, with a number of bright young stars mixed with a potpourri of international Grandmasters and aspiring prizewinners. The playing hall is dotted with a number of scholastic players mostly with roots from China and India.

The fact that the tournament has gotten younger is in contrast to the stereotype of old men looking through bifocals and peering over the board. The landscape has also gotten richer with an array of colors, figuratively and literally. While the game of chess has gone back to its “Asian” roots, what role do the sons and daughters of Africa play in today’s game of chess? The World Open is usually a stage where the top players of African descent come to test their mettle.

Prince Eric Bopala

Nine-year old Prince Eric Bopala (Montreal, Canada) got 7/9 in under-1800.
His parents are from Central African Republic.

Webster University’s New York “Dream Team” FM Justus Williams, Shawn Swindell, FM Josh Colas at 2016 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

New Yorkers FM Justus Williams, Shawn Swindell, FM Josh Colas
of Webster University.

Darrian Robinson just graduated from University of Chicago. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Darrian Robinson is a 2016 graduate of the University of Chicago.

Zimbabwe, Trinidad, Nigeria, Canada, Kenya, Jamaica (and others) all came to play. National champion FM Kevin Cupid was on hand as well as Jamaica’s Duane Rowe. While Nigeria didn’t have IM Oladapo Adu, there was FM Oluwafemi Balogun representing the green and white. Zimbabwe had IM Farai Mandizha representing. Spanish-speaking countries have a strong African presence and William Del Castillo of Ecuador and IM Dionisio Aldama of Cuba were present. Majur Juac of South Sudan has been a fixture in this tournament and has a personal story that will warm the hearts of anyone with one.

Players such as Noah Fields from Seattle Washington and New York contingent were hoping to make a presence. FMs Josh Colas and Justus Williams were in the field representing New York. Also from New York are the women who: Darrian Robinson, Rochelle Ballantyne and Adia Onyango. Then there are the up-and-coming talents like Tyrone Davis III.

Tyrone Davis

15-year old Tyrone Davis III of New York is a rising talent and
is about to earn his National Master title.

Joshua Alexander

Joshua Alexander (Oklahoma) got 7/9 in under-2200.

Tyrone Davis

FM Oluwafemi Balogun (Nigeria)

What does all of this mean? It means that chess continues to expand into all demographics which is a great marketing tool for its promotion. While Black players make up a small percentage in open tournaments, some of the performances are notable despite low numbers. Onyango broke the 2000 rating barrier for the first time as did Ian Wiggins who got 7.5/9 in under-2000.

Duane Rowe (Jamaica)

Joshua Alexander got 7/9 in under-2200 losing a heartbreaking last round game to the winner. Nine-year old Prince Eric Guipi Bopala got 7/9 in under-1800. Morrison and Colas got IM norms in Open section. The point here is that chess supersedes all boundaries of ethnicity, nationality, class, income, education and religion. While neanderthal ideas that certain ethnicities cannot accomplish intellectual feats should be put in the dustbin of failed eugenics theories, they persist.

With the changing of the guard and many new players emerging, it remains to be seen if the current crop of players will break into the ranks of Grandmasterdom. In America, only Maurice Ashley has earned the coveted title back in 1999. Colas has one GM norm and aspires to be a professional player in the future. Players like Justus Williams (two IM norms) and Tyrone Davis also show tremendous promise. Veterans like FM William Morrison (three IM norms) are still in the game.

FM William Morrison showing his win over GM Irina Krush.

FM William Morrison showing his win over GM Irina Krush
clinching his 3rd IM norm.

Tom Murphy (Chicago) blitzing with “Brooklyn Jerry” (New York)

Tom Murphy (Chicago) blitzing with “Brooklyn Jerry” (New York)
All photos by Daaim Shabazz.

There is something to be said about the hustlers who come from around the country to play blitz for stakes. Groups of players from Chicago, DC, Maryland, New York, Atlanta and Detroit come to Philadelphia for marathon blitz sessions in the grimy confines of the skittles rooms. Players come toting all types of fancy nicknames and a swagger like no other. While these self-proclaimed “Street Masters” prefer blitz to the longer form of tournament chess, they are certainly entertaining and their passion is inspirational. It would remind you of the same energy seen on the basketball courts in any major city.

Blitz Battle!

Jonathan Corbblah (right) was a regular attraction in blitz battles.
Corbblah’s father is Ghanaian.

Jonathan Corbblah running the tables.

Jonathan Corbblah running the tables.

Corbblah (left) with Herbert Carswell.
All photos by Daaim Shabazz.

Jonathan Corbblah, a professional gameshow player, was giving someone odds of five minutes to his 40 seconds for $5/game. Others like the DC legend Tom Murphy opted for a more sane approach of 3:3 games. There were challenges of $100/game, but of course, none of these high stakes games could take place before the red-coated security came to crash the party. That would be for another time. Certainly, there is flair added to the chess halls when colorful personalities come to the World Open. At what point does the public learn that chess has such a far-reaching social impact on so many demographics? One day they will learn.


Uganda Uganda Uganda

Crested Crane, national bird of Uganda

Following the successful hosting of the 2015 Africa Zone 4.2 chess championship in Kampala, Uganda Chess Federation was granted the right to host the 2016 Africa Individual Chess Championship. The event will run from 16th July 2016 up to 27th July 2016 at Tick Hotel, along Bombo Road in Kampala. The event will comprise two categories, the Open and Ladies category and will have a standard, rapid and blitz rate of play in each. A mouth watering array of prizes (cash and trophies) awaits the victors who will be the new Africa Chess Champion – Open and Ladies respectively.

The annual event attracts the best players of the continent. Given that the host federation provides full board accommodation for two official players per federation (one for open and one for ladies category), the event is always graced by the best individuals from the participating countries. Confirmations received to date include all the leading chess playing countries in Africa. Three Egyptian Grandmasters lead the pack followed by a strong field of players from Algeria, South Africa, Angola and Nigeria. Others include the hosts Uganda, Ghana, Somalia and others.

Patrick Kawuma

The highest ranked players registered to date are GM Adly Ahmed from Egypt (2607), GM Shoker Samy (2489) GM Essam El Gindy (2431) and GM Haddouche Mohamed (2494) who will have to be contained by our lower rated local players like IM Arthur Ssegwanyi, FM Wanyama Harold, FM Kawuma Patrick and Okas Walter.

The ladies pack is also likely to be dominated by Egyptian WGM Mona Kaled who seems to have no equals on the continent. Having won the 2016 Zone 4.2 individual championship undisputed in Dar-es-salaam Tanzania, she intends to extend her dominance on the continent. The local ladies will be led by WFMs Grace Kigeni and Angolikin Goretti who will have to draw on their growing experience to over come much more experienced South Africans and Egyptians.

Alongside the individual championships a FIDE Arbiter’s seminar shall be held from 18th September 2016 to 23rd September 2016. The event will enable participants to gain much needed technical capacity as far as arbitration of chess is concerned. It will also offer an opportunity for participants to earn FIDE arbiter norms and or titles directly if the pass the written exam.

Link: http://uganda.fide.com/

2015 African Individual Chess Championships
May 1st – May 13th, 2015 (Cairo, Egypt)
Open Section
1 Adly, Ahmed GM Egypt
2 Shoker, Samy GM Egypt
3 Arab, Adlane IM Algeria
4 Ameir, Moheb GM Egypt
5 El-Gindy, Essam GM Egypt
6 Cawdery, Daniel IM South Africa
7 Kayonde, Andrew FM Zambia
8 Hesham, Abdelrahman IM Egypt
9 Ssegwanyi, Arthur IM Uganda
10 Kigigha, Bomo FM Nigeria
11 Aderito, Pedro IM Angola
12 Silva, David IM Angola
13 Oussedik, Mahfoud FM Algeria
14 Soares, Erikson IM Angola
15 Wanyama, Harold FM Uganda
16 Kawuma, Patrick FM Uganda
17 Aguiar, Cristiano FM Angola
18 Talbi, Chafik Algeria
19 Alberto, Manuel CM Angola
20 Magana, Ben CM Kenya
21 Bouah, Lyndon CM South Africa
22 Gonza, Simon Uganda
23 Farouk, Fauza Uganda
24 Kamoga, Rajab Uganda
25 James, Madol Panchol Kenya
26 Mosenya, Ndawana Botswana
27 Anquandah, Francis IM Ghana
28 Mwangi, Martin Kenya
29 Fidow, Kassim Botswana
30 Mohamud Hussein Ali Somalia
31 Abdulkadir, Ahmed Somalia
Women’s Section
1 Wafa, Shahenda WIM Egypt
2 Wafa, Shrook WIM Egypt
3 Mezioud, Amina WIM Algeria
4 Mezioud, Amina WIM Algeria
5 Mwango, Lorita WFM Zambia
6 Hamza, Amira WIM Algeria
7 Elansary, Eman WCM Egypt
8 Frick, Denise WIM South Africa
9 Caxita, Esperanca WIM Angola
10 Laubscher, Anzel WIM South Africa
11 Mudongo, Boikhutso WIM South Africa
12 Domingos, Maria WIM Angola
13 Fisher, Michelle WCM South Africa
14 Joao, Delfina Angola
15 Van Niekerk, Robyn South Africa
16 Angolikin, Goretti WFM Uganda
17 Van Niekerk, Megan South Africa
18 Namaganda, Christine WFM Uganda
19 Kabengano, Joyce Uganda
20 Joyce, Nyaruai Kenya
21 Nansubuga, Gloria Uganda
22 Ampaire, Shakira Uganda
23 Babirye, Stella Uganda
African Chess Confederation

Open: http://chess-results.com/tnr228388.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821
Women: http://chess-results.com/tnr228391.aspx?lan=1&art=0&flag=30&wi=821


For the past several years, Adia Onyango has been on a quest to improve her chess performance. She had already created a wildly popular “Chess Connections” Facebook group which currently has more than 1200 members. In addition, she embarked on 30-day green smoothie challenges, took to a daily biking regiment and maintained a tireless passion for chess. In addition, she is a central force in organizing chess meet-ups around the New York area. It is not often to see a woman playing such a complete role in a male-dominated domain, but Adia had broken new ground. She relishes the role and her leadership is respected.

Adia Onyango
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Straight off of her World Open performance, she is reflective of the tournament where she finally eclipsed the 2000 rating mark known in U.S. chess parlance as “Expert.” It is above all of the class categories of players and represents players in the upper 2% of the country. Of course, the hard part about being an Expert is maintaining that playing standard. As one gets stronger, so does the competition. However, Adia is continuing to charge forward.

Sean Miller and Adia Onyango. Photo by Elizabeth Spiegel

Adia Onyango chatting with James Jeffrey and his friend, Dionne.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Adia Onyango and Stephanie Ballom. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Adia Onyango and Stephanie Ballom
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

After reaching the rating of 1968 back in August 2014, there was a bit of a stagnation in her level of play which prompted a plan of improvement. She became driven and even started a Facebook group focusing on health, nutrition and fitness for chess excellence called, “1.c4 Chess Connections Cardio Challenge” which began with her videotaping her workout sessions and posting them on Facebook. She also led cycling outings (even in snow) and challenged others to participate in her smoothie challenge.

Adia Onyango smoothie challenge.

Adia Onyango and her smoothie challenge.

Adia Onyango cycling in snow.

Determined to succeed!
Above photos by Adia Onyango (Facebook)

While not realizing the full extent of her influence, Adia encouraged a number of players to make changes in their overall view of nutrition and fitness. In addition, she constantly supports local chess players in their own initiatives and has been a constant support of young talent in the New York area which includes the progress of girls. Back in her ancestral home of Kenya, she has maintained ties with the chess community and is supportive of the Diaspora that resides in U.S. In essence, Adia is a galvanizing force that is badly needed in a sport that has been wrecked by divisive politics, bickering and confusion. So in commemoration of her latest accomplishment of becoming an “Expert,” we salute you!

Daaim Shabazz with Kenyans at 2014 Millionaire Chess Open. Pictured from left to right are: Akollo Odundo, James Apiri, Adia Onyango, Daaim Shabazz, Mbugua Bo Githoro and Collins Apiri. Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Kenya Kenya Kenya

2015 Millionaire Open:Adia Onyango, Stacey Moore and Alisa Melekhina
flanking Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz with Adia Onyango at the 2015 Millionaire Chess Open.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Adia Onyango showing one of her games at 2016 World Open.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz


GM Gabor Papp
Photo by Jim Doyle

Americans will remember the stunning Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor who at 99 still evokes memories of a nostalgic era in film. Another “Gabor” has hit the American soil and while not befitting of the glamour of the socialite actress, Gabor Papp’s performance shone brightly at the 2016 World Open. In actuality, Papp was tied with six other players but had superior tiebreaks. He bested Bologan in an exciting Armageddon playoff featuring a classic Sicilian battle.

The fireworks started before the 4th of July festivities with Georgia’s GM Tamaz Gelashvili scoring a brilliant win over GM Varuzhan Akobian with a double bishop sacrifice. He was in top form. Papp would face Gelashvili in the 5th round and he cites this game as one of his most complicated splitting the point after 85 moves. However, there were still four more rounds to play and the several players were in contention.

Bologan, who was held in the 1st round by Giovanni Carreto (2224), got the key win over Gelashvili in the 6th round. However, GM Vasif Durarbayli beat Bologan in the 8th round to keep the race tense. Meanwhile, the key game in the 8th round for Papp was the crushing win over another Georgian, GM Giorgi Kacheishvili.

Going into the final round there was a logjam, with 13 players on 6/8 and four players on 6.5/8. All had a chance for a shot at the title. IM Ruifeng Li had a chance to secure another GM norm with a win over Bologan but the young star from Texas came up short in an absolute slugfest. Bachmann-Popilski was another Sicilian brawl with the Israeli beating the Paraguayan. GM Illia Nyzhnyk beat Cuban GM Isan Ortiz for 7/9 after Papp had quickly split the point with Durarbayli after 10 moves.

GM Axel Bachmann vs. GM Gil Popilski, 0-1
GM Illia Nyzhnyk vs. GM Isan Ortiz Suarez, 1-0

In all seven players ended on 7/9. Papp, Bologan, Gelashvili, Popilski, Alexander Shimanov, Durarbayli and Nyzhnyk. Eleven players ended on 6.5/9 including FMs Nicolas Checa and William Morrison who won top 2300-2449 and $5000.00. Both also scored IM norms. Ten norms were earned at the 2016 World Open. GM norms went to IMs Andrey Gorovets and Razvan Preotu while IM norms were scored by FMs Checa, Morrison, Joshua Colas, Vignesh Panchanathan, Kevin Wang and Atulya Shetty. Levy Rozman and Nasir Akylbekov (Kazakhstan), two untitled players, also scored IM norms.

FM Atulya Shetty

FM William Morrison (right) lost to IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti,
but also scored an IM norm.
Photos by Daaim Shabazz

PGN Games!


FM William Morrison
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

FM William Morrison has been on the chess scene for decades and is a veritable legend in both New York’s Black Bear tradition and in the Baltimore/DC area. He has been as active as his family life will allow and is about as proud and personable of a man as they come. These days he is committed to earning the coveted GM title and was fortunate to notch his third IM norm at the 2016 World Open. Without offering any bad puns, he capped off the tournament was a resounding win over GM Irina Krush. He ended on 6.5/9 with losses to eventual winner Hungary’s GM Gabor Papp and UCLA student Luke Harmon-Vellotti.

With a moniker of “Exterminator” he did some of this by uncorking some of his home preparation, particularly in his game against GM Ashwin Jayaram, a relatively new GM from India. Here is the game:

After this thrilling draw, Morrison was 3.5/5, but was disappointed at not getting the win. Immediately after the game, he mentioned that he saw the winning continuation, but also saw a fortress where white could not make progress. However, the adage goes, “even if you see the best line, make sure the opponent sees it too.” This game may have taken some of the energy out of Morrison as the missed opportunity lingered. He lost to Harmon-Vellotti before rattling off three consecutive wins against a 2100 player, IM Yury Lapshun and the aforementioned game with Krush.

In this game, Morrison trotted out the c3 Sicilian (combined with the Kopec) and Krush opted for a solid position that resembled the French Defense. However, Morrison got a big advantage in space and was able to position his pieces in an aggressive fashion. After optimizing his pieces came a venomous knight sacrifice with 29.Nf5! After leaving the board, Morrison continued calculating lines other than 29…exf5 which he though gave white an overwhelming attack. When he returned to the board he saw that Krush had indeed accepted the sack and after 30.e6! the black king came under heavy fire. Take a look.

Analyzing the win over six-time women’s champion GM Irina Krush.

The game came to an abrupt ending after 29.Nf5! exf5.
The Exterminator was pleasantly surprised!
Photos by Daaim Shabazz.

After the game, Morrison went to the skittles room to take a look and the analysis proved to be correct. However there was one other matter that needed attention. Did he earn his final norm? The arbiters stated that they were 95% certain, but of course he wanted to be sure. Upon calculation, it appears that an average 2320 opposition results in a 6.5-point IM norm. Thus, Morrison will have earned his third and only needs to breach the 2400 rating barrier. His high FIDE rating has been 2390 and high USCF rating has been 2535.

In an interview with The Chess Drum, Morrison stated that he will seek the GM title in the next couple of years to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Interview with FM William Morrison (5:58 minutes)

FM William Morrison (2295-USA)
# Player ELO Nation
1 Harshita Guddanti 2051 India
2 GM Gabor Papp 2596 Hungary
3 Siddharth G Banik 2181 USA
4 Brandon Nydick 2159 USA
5 GM Ashwin Jayaram 2460 India
6 IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti 2409 USA
7 Sanjay Ghatti 2150 USA
8 IM Yury Lapshun 2438 USA
9 GM Irina Krush 2443 USA
Score: 6½-2½ IM NORM

Trinidad Trinidad Trinidad


In 2016, the Trinidad & Tobago Chess Association (TTCA) celebrates its 80th Anniversary. In commemoration of this milestone, the (TTCA) is pleased to invite all National Federations to the Trinidad and Tobago International and Masters Open (TTIMO) Chess Tournaments 2016 to be held at The Normandie Hotel, St. Anns, Trinidad, from 28th July through 5th August, 2016.


Rules and Regulations

The Trinidad and Tobago International Masters and Open (TTIMO) Chess Tournaments 2016 will be held according to the FIDE Rules of Chess and the following General Conditions within this invitation.


There will be two categories: Masters and Open.
Participation in the Master Class will be reserved for:

(i) titled players with personal invitation from the Organising Committee
(ii) Fide rating greater than 2200 and
(iii) The organisers will ensure that the average rating of players in this section is greater than 2200.

The Open Class is open for all players from FIDE member federations. (ELO-Under 2100). There will be 5 sub-categories which will include: Female, Senior (50+), Under 20, Under 16 and Under 12.

System of Play

  • The Games for the Masters and the Open will be a Swiss System of nine (9) rounds or Round Robin depending on the number of players and at the discretion of the Chief Arbiter.
  • The rhythm of play will be ninety (90) minutes for all the moves plus an increment of thirty (30) seconds per move from the initial move. The tournaments will be FIDE-Rated, once the conditions for rating are met.

BLITZ Tournament-OPEN

There will be a 9-round (5 minutes) Open Blitz tournament after the end of the last round of the Masters and Open tournaments.
Registration: US$10.00/TT$ 65.00 per person


Date Time Activity
Thursday 28th July, 2016 12.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m. Arrival & Registration
Friday 29th July, 2016 10.00 a.m. Technical Meeting
Friday 29th July, 2016 4.00 p.m Opening Ceremony
Friday 29th July, 2016 6.00 p.m. Round 1
Saturday 30th July, 2016 10.00 a.m. Round 2
Saturday 30th July, 2016 5.00 p.m. Round 3
Sunday 31st July, 2016 10.00 a.m. Round 4
Monday 1st August, 2016 10.00 a.m. Round 5
Monday 1st August, 2016 5.00 p.m. Round 6
Tuesday 2nd August, 2016 5.00 p.m. Round 7
Wednesday 3rd August, 2016 5.00 p.m. Round 8
Thursday 4th August, 2016 10.00 a.m. Round 9
Thursday 4th August, 2016 3.00 p.m. Blitz-OPEN
Thursday 4th August, 2016 7.00 p.m. Closing Ceremony
Friday 5th August, 2016 12.00 p.m. Check-Out/Departure

* * *

Organising Committee

Core Organising Committee

  • Sonja Johnson, Organising Committee Chairperson, 1st VP-TTCA
  • Sandy Razark, Secretary- TTCA
  • Roderick Noel-VP of Southern Chess Club


  • Bhisham Soondarsingh, VP TTCA
  • Elyse Harlow, PRO TTCA


Chief Arbiter: IA Rohan Waithe, Barbados

The Deputy Arbiter and assistant arbiters would be selected at the discretion of the TTCA and in accordance with Fide Regulations.

Telephone: 868 681 1151/ 683-4439
Email: English/Spanish: ttimochess@gmail.com
Website: www.chesstt.org

The Trinidad and Tobago Chess Association (TTCA) is excited for you to be part of this historic event as we celebrate 80 years. We are confident that this will be a tournament for all to remember!

For full details
on conditions, prizes, accommodations and registration,


Last year, FM Josh Colas declared to the chess community and his supporters that he was on a mission to earn the GM title. He got closer to that goal by notching his first GM norm at the North American Class in Las Vegas. He nearly missed an IM norm at the Philadelphia Open in April, but did not play the required three foreign players. So his norm hunt is in full effect.

Webster University’s New York “Dream Team” FM Justus Williams, Shawn Swindell, FM Josh Colas at 2016 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Coming into the summer, he was glad to hear that FM Justus Williams would be attending Webster University along with another New Yorker and Candidate Master Shawn Swindell. So the last year has been one of promise for Josh. Of course, the route has not be completely smooth as he had a subpar showing at the Chicago Open in May. Returning to the World Open is generally a good remedy for budding stars. It’s the largest stage on the American circuit and the young players come looking for scalps. In the first round, got wins against two 2100s and held Israeli GM Gil Popilski. Then he faced phenom GM Samuel Sevian in this slugfest.

Needless to say, Josh will have to return to check his preparation in the Sicilian Kan. It would be a lesson learned and the only loss he would suffer. In the penultimate round, he was on 4.5/7 and still on track for the IM norm. He was facing a tough Cuban player GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez and what ensued was a very intense encounter that appeared to show Josh fighting to maintain a slight initiative but had to yield the draw. In his final game, he needed to win to secure the IM norm.

His opponent was the Hungarian GM Gergely Antal, a player who decided to stay away from preparation and trotted out 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.b3!? d6 4.Bb2 Nf6 5.e5 dxe5 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bd3!? Perhaps it was his own preparation! He proceed to take a seemingly coffee house approach with 12.Rf3 g6 13.Qe1 Ne8 14.f5. White had an initiative and netted a pawn, but allowed Josh to gain a towering passed pawn that reached the e3 square while the two white pieces looked on from the queenside. Despite the pawn advantage Antal had to donate a piece to stop the pawn and black obtained a winning ending. Great finish by Josh as he earned his first IM norm to go along with his GM norm.

There seemed to be some confusion circulating in social media as to how the GM norm could be used toward his IM title. Josh Colas’ earning of the GM norm gives him the ability to use the norm toward two titles, IM and GM. It was being discussed on Facebook’s “Chess Connections” that Josh could use the GM norm, both as a GM norm and IM norm simultaneously to combine with the IM norm he just earned. This is incorrect. The GM norm does not come with an additional IM norm, but you can use it for earning the lower title. There was also the discussion on whether Josh had to lose the GM norm if he used it to earn the IM title. The good news is a player is not required to forfeit use of the GM norm if they use it for the IM title.

Section 1.52 of the FIDE Title Regulations (effective from 1 July 2014) states,

“If a norm is sufficient for more than one title, then it may be used as part of the application for both. (link)”

Thus, Josh will be able to use his GM norm toward both titles. At this point, he has one GM norm and one IM norm. If he earns another IM norm or GM norm, he will earn the IM title, after meeting the 2400 FIDE rating requirement (which he should have now). If he earns another GM norm, he will have the IM title and two GM norms. Nevertheless, Josh mentioned in an interview to The Chess Drum that he was happy with his performance and was confident that he would be able to achieve the IM title preferably before enrolling at Webster. Nevertheless, the future is looking bright. Congratulations Josh!

Interview with FM Josh Colas (9:04 minutes)

FM Josh Colas (2347-USA)
# Player ELO Nation
1 Jason Drake 2123 USA
2 Mark Plotkin 2174 USA
3 GM Gil Popilski 2542 Israel
4 GM Samuel Sevian 2603 USA
5 WIM Guijue Zhou 2238 China
6 FM Alexander Betaneli 2226 USA
7 FM Alex Bian 2057 USA
8 GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez 2528 USA
9 GM Gergely Antal 2545 Hungary
Score: 6-3 IM NORM (PGN Games)

Emory Tate at 2009 World Open.
Photo by Michael Williams.

When one thinks of chess, perhaps visions of old men in barbershops and parks may come to mind. Maybe it is the snotty-nosed, anti-social bookworm that comes to mind… or even the foul-mouthed, trash-talking chess hustler. All of these are windows into the chess world known for its exclusivity, when in fact, chess is very accessible and has a long list of heroes of every kind. Emory Andrew Tate, Jr. was one such hero in the annals of chess history. Daring, brash and unapologetically rebellious he gave a type of energy to chess that was rarely expressed by a master-level player. Tate, a quintessential chess performer, passed away last year October 17, 2015 and left behind a memorable legacy (death, obituary, funeral).

On June 25, 2016, Lion’s Paw Chess Academy held a memorial tournament for the International Master. He was a veritable role model within the African Diaspora and had widespread appeal around the world for his will competing at a chess event in Fremont, California. Tate was a man of scholarly pedigree, spoke multiple languages which included his stint as a Russian linguist in the Air Force. Ultimately, he would express himself through chess in the most vibrant way and the power of his creative mind would explode onto the chessboard.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

Many men and women of African ancestry love chess and its fascination in Africa can be traced back to the Moors who brought the game into Spain. Certainly this history may be lost on the millions of people who play, but for Emory chess was a passion that he shared. Tate was a five-time Armed Forces Champion, six-time Indiana state Champion and a one-time Alabama state champion. He was a fixture in tournaments across America and inspired a worldwide fanbase.

Many of those who benefited from Tate’s presence were the 13 men and one boy who assembled at the Salaam restaurant to participate in a tournament in Tate’s honor. Daniel X Jones, founder of Lion’s Paw, organized this event to honor the Chicago-born Tate and hopes to make it an annual event. The tournament attracted players young an old and featured some mainstays on the Chicago scene. Roger Hickman (1878), who attended Chicago Vocational High School (CVS), knew Tate and used to drive him to Northwestern University where Tate attended for a year. It was a rare sighting for the long-time veteran of the Chicago scene. Legendary blitz players Tom Murphy (2115) and Sam Ford (1860) were also in the field ready to do damage. However, Sedrick Prude (2133) was the top seed. National Master Marvin Dandridge (CVS alumni also) later came by to support the event. Members of the southside chess scene were out in force.

Gwayne Lambert

There were introductory remarks by Jones before he officially launched the inaugural tournament. Overall there was a very upbeat spirit in honoring such a chess warrior. Tate left behind so many memorable stories and many of the players were being interview by videographer Seed Lynn about their reflections. Despite some of the key matchups (Ford-Prude), (Porter-Murphy), there was no clear-cut favorite at the halfway point.

During lunchtime, the participants were treated to a few presentations. Daaim Shabazz (another CVS alumni) gave some reflections on Tate’s life, showed various photos and gave a preview of the ongoing book project. The book is scheduled to come out in Fall 2016. While the players were eating a delicious lunch, they watch a documentary produced by Kirby Ashley titled, “The History of Black Chess Players.” It was an overview dealing with the long history of the chess from the Indians, Persians and then the to the Africa Disapora including the Moors, Europe’s chess renaissance and the 19th century figures such as James McCune Smith and Theophilus Thompson. The history segued into the competitive, trash-talking scene of Chicago chess personalities such as “Sideline Grandmaster,” “Steele Bill,” “Chet Nation,” “Uncle Marv,” “Checkmate the Great,” “Heavy Hitter,” “Mo Dog,” and “Head Hooker.” The 30-minute film is one highlighting the subcultures that practically exist in practically every major city around the world and even some backwoods locations.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

Round 1 in action… the inaugural Emory Tate Memorial!

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

Sam Ford and Tom Murphy
both knew Emory Tate quite well from Chicago and DC area, respectively.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

Kareem Abdullah (1581) came from Charlotte, North Carolina to participate
and had a creditable +1 score.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

John Porter looks poised here,
but had to win in a time scramble against Madison Loftis.
He played a fine game!

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

George David, Madison Loftis, Roger Hickman

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

NM Marvin Dandridge watches the action.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

After the second round, the participants watched an intriguing
video documentary produced by Kirby Ashley.

After lunch the tournament continued and Prude pulling even with Murphy and former Whitney Young standout Gwayne Lambert. Lambert held Murphy to a draw making a three-way tie with 2.5/3. In the last round it would be Lambert-Ford and Prude-Murphy for the championship. Prude and Murphy fought to a tough draw, but Lambert beat Ford to win the tournament! After his years as a state champion at Young teams, Lambert is having some success as a cars salesman. Now 26 years old, he has not played in a tournament since 2012, but his unexpected victory showed that he is seeking to ignite his passion once again. His state championship runs at Young along with teammate Kayin Barclay were historic. Hopefully he will defend his title next year.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

Tom Murphy, the legend of Dupont Circle (Washington, DC).
He now resides in Chicago.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

William “Steele Bill” Crawford being asked for his reflections on Emory Tate.

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

Daniel X Jones with son, Malachi. :-)

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

This author watches Murphy and Lambert battle
in the penultimate round… 1/2-1/2

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)

2016 Emory Tate Memorial (Chicago, Illinois)


DeKalb County Police partner with Motivational speaker and chess champion, Orrin Hudson to host Free Youth Summer Initiative

Will use game of chess to teach critical reasoning skills
to break cycle of youth crime and violence

Orrin Hudson and his organization, Be Someone, have partnered with the DeKalb County Police East Precinct to host a Youth Summer Chess Initiative on July 2nd in Lithonia. The program’s goals are to break the cycle of crime, violence, and poverty by changing the game and promoting peace in the community.

Be Someone was founded in Atlanta in 2001 by Mr. Hudson, who credits the game of chess of teaching him important life skills that put him on a path to success growing up. Mr. Hudson now uses chess to promote self-esteem and analytical thinking in at-risk youth, while teaching them honesty, responsibility and patience. Mr. Hudson has touched the lives of more than 50,000 kids through his program.

The event, which is free for all youth, grades K-12, will take place on Saturday, July 2, 2016 from 10:00am-12:00pm at:

New Birth Church
Community Activity Center
6400 Woodrow Road
Lithonia, GA 30038

For more details about the event contact,

Be Someone, Inc.
Orrin Checkmate Hudson
Speaker, Master Strategist & Motivator
949 Stephenson Road
Stone Mountain, GA 30087

Telephone: 770-465-6445
E-mail: Orrin@besomeone.org
Website: www.besomeone.org

“Responsibility, consequences for every action,
think, think, and think some more.”


PR Contact: Crystal Silva

Author Removes Hip-Hop Pioneer Afrika Bambaataa from Book Cover
and Changes Book Title Amid Abuse Allegations

Controversial Rap Author Stands with Accusers

Oakland, CA 6/09/16 – Three Lions Press is proud to announce that the author has chosen to take Afrika Bamabaataa’s name and image off the cover of the book originally called Bobby, Bruce & Bam: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess. The new title is Bobby Bruce & The Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess written by Adisa Banjoko, aka The Bishop. It is for sale on www.amazon.com right now.

“While not being charged formerly by the police, the avalanche sexual abuse allegations against Afrika Bambaataa and the poor leadership of the inner circle inside his organization, Universal Zulu Nation (UZN) made my decision easy” stated Adisa Banjoko. “Hip-Hop is an art for the youth, by the youth. If they are not safe, then Hip-Hop itself has been threatened. I will defend the youth above any alliances with any adults who might act to the contrary. My new title is meant to celebrate the power of the youth in The Bronx. It was a nightmare for me as an independent author and fan of his previous work to change everything. Nevertheless, it could never compare to the pain of his accusers. ”

Adisa Banjoko was one of the first members of the Universal Zulu Nation in San Francisco back in the early 1990’s. After assessing the allegations against Afrika Bambaataa he wrote the first public UZN resignation letter. It outlined why he was leaving the organization and his thoughts on its many organizational and moral failures.

My new title is meant to celebrate the power of the youth in The Bronx. It was a nightmare for me as an independent author and fan of his previous work to change everything. Nevertheless, it could never compare to the pain of his accusers.

Adisa’s first public discussion of the book cover change happened at Google Headquarters during a Google Author’s Talk. Over the years the author has campaigned on the impact of this blending of art and logic at Harvard, Stanford, U Conn, Oberlin and many other universities.

Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess is extraordinary book that outlines how the of rise of Bobby Fischer, Bruce Lee and the emergence of Hip-Hop unintentionally converged and influences Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts in America and the world in unexpected ways. It includes a workbook teaching the first 12 lessons teens and young adults can use to embrace chess as a life strategy tool. These lessons can be applied in your personal life, or business ventures. Get the book now at www.amazon.com The book serves as a disruptive blueprint that helps urban kids shift their approach to education, entrepreneurship, and life’s possibilities.

Adisa Banjoko and RZA.
Photo from HHCF archives.

“The book is a celebration of the cognitive, physical and creative attributes of Hip-Hop. We also address the impact of violence on young learning minds. Many American children have PTSD and remain undiagnosed and untreated vets of urban war zones. I saw this on the frontlines and my book is meant to be one of many solutions we can use to help American youth.”

Adisa Banjoko, aka The Bishop is a respected disruptor in the space of education innovation. Adisa began his journalism career while still a high school student interviewing Eazy E shortly before the formation of NWA. Adisa went on to become one of the first west coast writers for The Source, RapPages and VIBE among others. He broke some of the first profiles on artists like Tupac Shakur, Del, Mixmaster Mike, DJ Qbert, Hieroglyphics, Master P and many others in the rise of west coast rap in the early 1990s’. Adisa Banjoko is a powerful speaker who has lectured at many universities across the country including Harvard, Lehigh, Oberlin College, UC Berkeley and others. His ideas on chess, rap and martial arts have been seen in Forbes, Good Morning America, Black Enterprise, Ebony and the cover of Chess Life Magazine.

Adisa Banjoko on point at Harvard University.

In 2006 after visiting incarcerated youth in San Francisco he created the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF). The HHCF is a 501c3 non-profit that fuses music, chess and martial arts, to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence. in 2015, the HHCF was invited to teach the staff at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis on the connections between Hip-Hop and chess. The result was the Living Like Kings exhibit (which broke attendance records surpassing Bobby Fischer’s). He and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan (who now serves on HHCF’s Board) spoke to high school youth and incarcerated youth in St. Louis during all off the rage and chaos after the death of Mike Brown. Their efforts illustrated a nonviolent narrative largely overlooked by both mainstream media.

Bobby Bruce & The Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess outline how this unique fusion came to pass and the lives Adisa Banjoko has been able to change through it. The book highlights his his experiences while in teaching kids in St. Louis with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, his experiences fighting inner city school violence in The Bay Area and how rap music celebrate chess more than any other form of music on the planet. For more information on Adisa Banjoko and the Hip-Hop Chess Federation events and activities visit www.hiphopchess.com!

About HHCF: The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is the world’s first nonprofit (501c3) to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence. They host lectures, panels, and celebrity chess events to help at-risk, gang-impacted and gang intentional youth make better decisions in life. The HHCF has been featured on Good Morning America, Forbes, Chess Life, VIBE and Rolling Stone.

Visit www.BishopChronicles.com today and LISTEN to some of the coolest interviews in entertainment, business strategy and technology on the net.

Connect with me on www.linkedin.com/in/abanjoko


Dear chess community,

IM Emory Tate
September 26, 2015
Photo by Richard Shorman.

International Master Emory Tate passed away on October 27, 2015 leaving behind a chess legacy that was unparalleled for a non-Grandmaster. His handsome collection of GM scalps, his animated postmortem sessions and his willingness to share in his knowledge made him a popular and revered figure in the chess world. Since his passing, his presence has been missed by family, friends and the chess community at-large. He was one who thought about his legacy and how he would be remembered by those whom he loved.

I once had a conversation with Tate in which I tried to convince him to write a book of selected games. He scoffed at the idea. At that point, I knew I would be writing this story for him. Since February, I have been compiling the story of his life with the hopes that his legacy will be one befitting of a man who dedicated his career to chess. In my research, I have found quite a treasure trove of information that has not reached the public eye.

In this biography, I cover his upbringing, his evolution as a player, his triumphs and struggles and the sunset of his life. The book will contain a number of this games, both the obscure and famous. While Tate was known for his slashing victories (Tate-Yudasin, de Firmian-Tate), and original opening ideas (The Tate Variation against the Alekhine after 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.a4 a5 5.Ra3!? with black 1.b3 f5 2.f4 a5!? 3.a4 Ra6!? 4.e4 Re6!? and 1.c4 d6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 g5!?!?) there is so much more to him. While he also has positional masterpieces and technical wins, he was perhaps known for the demonstrative and theatrical way he expressed chess ideas.

Apart from chess, Emory Tate was a colorful persona with an interesting background. What is not know to many is that family members called him “Dennis” to eliminate confusion with his older sister who was also named “Emory”. Emory Sr. wanted a legacy, but later had quite a strained relationship with his son, Emory Jr. In the book is the following tract:

Emory Sr., Andrew Tate, Emory Jr.
Photo courtesy of Tate family archives.

“The Tates had to manage their sizable brood of nine children. Things were not easy for Dennis, particularly due to his tumultuous relationship with his father. He became a rebel early on, and his domineering father would not hesitate to exact a seemingly disproportionate punishment on Dennis. Much later would Dennis say about his father, “Only a grandchild, named after him, calmed his nerves …” Despite the strained relationship, Emory Sr. passed on his love of poetry, the outdoors and chess to his son. These are pastimes that Dennis would hold dear for the rest of his life.”

All of these factors shaped Tate’s personality and he became one to eschew the traditional paths to success. Chess would become his legacy. Even enlistment in the U.S. Air Force was a way to express his unique talents of multilingualism and his intense intellect. In the Air Force he established his legend by winning five Armed Forces Championships. It was there that he shined yet his failure to organize a regiment to ascend to Grandmaster ranks of chess would haunt him. During the 1987 NATO Championship in Denmark, his friend and Air Force mate Leroy Hill admonished him in a prophetic way.

Hill: “You’re a coward, Tate.”
Tate: “What do you mean?”
Hill: “You’re afraid. You’re afraid of success. You could become the first Black Grandmaster, but you’ll never become a Grandmaster unless you get serious.”
Tate: “Aw, don’t worry about it.”
Hill: “This tells the story of you. Unless you take it seriously, you’ll be just another talent that could have been. Get professional about it!”

The Air Force Academy at the 1987 U.S. Armed Forces Championship banquet in Washington, D.C. Left to right: Brian Lankey, Bobby Moore, Greg Vitko, Martin Dean, Emory Tate Jr. and Leroy Hill. 
Photo by U.S. Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR).

The Air Force Academy at the 1987 U.S. Armed Forces Championship banquet in Washington, D.C. Left to right: Brian Lankey, Bobby Moore, Greg Vitko, Martin Dean, Emory Tate Jr. and Leroy Hill. Photo by U.S. Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR).

Following Tate’s ignoble separation from the Air Force, he set out on a course to find his salvation in chess, but it was not easy going. Despite his increasing collection of brilliant wins, he was unable to find a firm financial footing. He became a “Mad Max” chess warrior shuttling from weekend tournament to weekend tournament with the pace of a Fortune 500 CEO… approximately 1000 tournaments. It was in this fashion that Tate became a global brand. However, he was not keen to monetize his value. Ever giving he gave of his knowledge freely. However, there were times that his self-confidence led to humorous stories. This one involved GM Gregory Serper.

While Tate was high on confidence, sometimes his ambitions did not match his realism. In a telling anecdote, Serper recounts Tate showing him another one of his beautiful wins, whereupon Tate asked Serper, “What do you think, Gregory? Maybe I should go to the ‘First Saturday’ tournament in Hungary and get my GM norm? Then maybe I can even challenge Kasparov for a match.”

The funny part of this story was Tate’s reaction to a young Russian bystander for laughing aloud at his presumption. The Russian boy, who didn’t know Tate, was quickly berated in perfect Russian. Serper recalls Tate’s reaction: “Why are you laughing? Look at him [here Tate pointed at me], he is a Grandmaster, he knows me well, and he is not laughing! And you don’t know me, so why are you laughing?”

However, Tate was more than his chess. Beneath his hard shell was a beautiful soul. In the book, a chapter by this name tells a story of a Tate:

There was an inner beauty about Tate described in so many of the heartwarming stories about him. Reflecting on these accounts told by other people, one realizes that reducing him to his chess identity alone is indeed a disservice. His generosity, tendency to encourage and ability to inspire were rare traits in a world preoccupied with self-fulfillment. Tate thrived more while giving—and reminded one of the rich man who gave all his wealth away and found comfort living as a commoner. Sometimes he slept in odd places and, after his slumber, he arose to set off on new adventures … more souls to enlighten.

Emory Tate shares the joys of chess with his students at the 
Chris Torres Chess Camp in Fremont, California.
Photo by Chris Torres

Emory Tate shares the joys of chess with his students at the
Chris Torres Chess Camp in Fremont, California.
Photo by Chris Torres

In all of this, I have 12 chapters spanning his life from his birth to the fateful day that he collapsed at the Shankland Open. Following are 24 puzzles featuring his combinations and two appendices of his games (annotated by a number of players) including three with his commentary. There is also an interview I conducted in 2006 and a photo gallery of rare photos. It is ironic that those closest to Tate did not realize the magnitude of his influence and the lives he touched. This became apparent as I mourned with the family at the funeral.

I was told that Emory rarely talked about his chess accomplishments around family members. Perhaps they didn’t realize the magnitude of Emory’s stature in the chess community until the days and weeks following his passing. Several family members recalled being moved by the sheer volume of stories and tributes posted on social networks and other media. While there were many different angles, what was common in most of them was Emory’s generosity and his love for family and friends … and sometimes even strangers.

Thus, I have compiled roughly a 300-page treatise on a chess icon… not the best player, but perhaps one of the most passionate about his craft. Tate was a phenom in a number of ways and no one understood him fully. Each of us got a piece of him … a piece he wanted you to have. Only when we put these pieces together did we understand what a marvel of a mosaic he was … the impressive, the impassioned, the impresario … Emory Tate!

FM Emory Tate at 2001 World Open. Copyright ©, Daaim Shabazz.

This was Tate’s favorite chess photo… the look of a predator gazing at his prey.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

The book release is projected Fall 2016.

Sign up for updates on “Triple Exclam!!!”


Chess is experiencing quite an increase in interest especially among the youth as major tournaments worldwide are often dotted with scholastic players. This boom has necessitated the demand for able instructors, coaches and trainers. With the demand, comes increasing contact of adults and minors. It is rare that there is a conflict, but when there is one, it is usually a matter of the two parties not being able to get the results desired … so there is a parting of ways. Rarely is there anything more serious than a disgruntled customer or parent.

Ohio v. Leon Wilson

Last year, F. Leon Wilson was accused of inappropriately touching a 4-year old minor during a chess lesson. This came after the parent informed the police about a conversation he had with his daughter. In the case of Wilson, we was a highly-regard coach and has been teaching in the Columbus area for a number of years with great success. He had submitted to a number of background checks with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (OBCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). When the allegation arose, Wilson had been returning from a tournament in Greece when he was apprehended in the airport and placed under arrest before any investigation was done. After he was arrested, a 7-year old came forward to make a similar claim.

The initial charge was first-degree felony of “rape,” but later downgraded to fourth-degree “gross sexual imposition.” He posted bail on a $250,000 bond and has been free ever since. All of this changed within a year. Social media excoriated Wilson and tended to paint him as guilty before any evidence was presented. Another 23-year old accuser came forward with a 10-year old claim, but it was not admissible. Wilson submitted to a polygraph test prior to the trial and it came out that he was “truthful.” These results, however, would not be admitted as evidence. After four grueling days of the first trial in February, the jury could not come to an agreement and a mistrial was declared.

F. Leon Wilson at February trial
Photo by nbc41.com.

In the second trial, a DNA test was offered during the trial, but it showed no connection to Wilson. Another source says that the DNA of another male was found on the clothing of one of the girls. There was no other evidence and while the prosecuting attorney Mark Sleeper admitted there was not much physical evidence, he offered that there are such cases where DNA cannot be found. It boiled down to the testimony of the two girls. It appeared in the first trial there was a failure to convince the jury of Wilson’s absolute guilt. In the second trial, the jury reached a “guilty” verdict. The question would be, what changed in the second trial? What was the burden of proof that convinced this assembly of jurors? If there is no DNA, no audio, no video, no witnesses then what is the basis of the conviction?

Are Chess Coaches Safe?

Accused of “gross sexual imposition” on a minor, Leon Wilson was found guilty on two of three counts and will face sentencing July 29th. The verdict begs the question, “How are chess coaches and trainers protected from these allegations?” One may glibly answer, “Well… they shouldn’t molest children.” Of course not and any pedophile or child molester should be held to the letter of the law. Let’s look at it a bit deeper. What is to stop any angry child from leveling a charge against their coach and what would their defense be?

F. Leon Wilson
Photo by Frank Johnson.

If a passed polygraph and a negative DNA test are not sufficient and if there is no other audio-visual evidence, then it is the word of the accuser versus the accused. In this case and 4- and 7-year old accused Leon Wilson of inappropriately touching them during a chess lesson. This means that chess coaches have to take precautions to protect themselves. What precautions?

In order for coaches to protect themselves (and thus protection of child), they should resort to video taping every private session (or not giving private lessons), having at least one parent present at all times, having the lesson in a public facility, or having the lessons on the Internet (also with parents watching). If only one parent is present and they have to leave the room, then the lesson must stop and the child has to go with them. If parents don’t submit to being there at all times, then should the coaches deny the service? This is now a legitimate question. Of course, this is cumbersome to carry out, but if Wilson can be convicted without any evidence and a mere accusation, then what precautions should a coach take?

There is no charge easier to make in America, perhaps the world, and more difficult to disprove than a teacher, a coach, a relative being accused of touching over the clothing, inappropriately, or sexually, or molesting or sexually assaulting a child.”

~Brad Koffel, Defense Attorney for F. Leon Wilson

Coaches/Parents: Protection is Vital

In the Wilson case, there was no shred of physical evidence that he had molested the two girls, yet their words were credible in the eyes of the jurors and the cries of emotional parents touched all those guardians who dread the day that they will face such a situation. The defense contended that the girls were coached by their parents to testify credibly in the court. Of course, but it’s up to the legal system to uphold due process and the mantra “innocent until proven guilty.” Wilson was arrested at an airport prior to any proof (other than the accusation). If a child utters to a parent, “My coach touched me,” and that parent calls the police who arrests them on the spot, perhaps we have come to the end of the road in terms of due process. In this day and after this verdict, it is doubtful that coaches will want to continue to take such a risk.

Photo by myfox28columbus.com.

We are moving into a society where people are becoming disconnected due to cell phone, social networking and video conferencing. Are we coming to a time where children will receive all of their chess instruction via cell phone or computers? Not likely, but the Wilson case is a lesson for all of us who want to share our joys of chess and its inherent benefits. This verdict sets a precedent for future. Coaches and trainers should take precautions (as should the parents) to ensure of the safety of both parties.


F. Leon Wilson
Photo by Frank Johnson.

Starting today (June 6th) F. Leon Wilson is a defendant in a second trial where he has been charged with “gross sexual conduct.” The first trial ended in a hung jury on February 29th. Wilson is facing 20 years on three counts of gross sexual imposition involving two of his students, ages four and seven (at the time of the accusation).

The prosecution presented unconvincing evidence in the first trial and will have to answer to the fact that no physical DNA was found, no camera footage, no audio of 911 call, nor were there any witnesses to these allegations. Wilson has told the media that all of his lessons are held in public view and that he has only made contact with his students in a celebratory and affirmative fashion. There was also a polygraph screening that will not be admitted, but Wilson’s passing of that test is something he has made public. As part of the investigation, there was a DNA print taken and the results of that information will be discussed in the second trial. Wilson took the stand in the first trial and presumably will stand again in his defense.

Wilson maintains his innocence and had formerly rejected a plea bargain. The trial will be held in the Delaware County Court and the proceedings will last throughout the week.

Drum Coverage

Chess Coach Wilson facing trial July 14th

Trial in progress for Coach Leon Wilson

Wilson retrial set for June 6th


Emory Tate away last October, but left behind a legacy that will last for an eternity. There have been a number of memorial tournaments held in his honor and the latest will be hosted by the Lion’s Paw Chess Academy in Chicago on June 25th at the Salaam Restaurant on West 79th Street. After his death last October 27th (death, obituary, funeral), there were literally thousands of tributes recounting stories of his impact. On June 25th, players in the Chicago area will honor a hometown hero with a 5-round Swiss tournament. The event expects to draw a large number of players from Chicago and perhaps the surrounding states. Organizer Daniel X Jones is hoping that this event become an annual tribute.

Tate was born on the Westside of Chicago along with his four sisters. Combined with his four half-siblings, he came from a large family with a domineering father, a successful attorney with a private practice. His mother was a hard-working woman from rural Alabama who had vision of success for her children. At the age of 13, Emory moved with his family to Elkhart, Indiana where he became the valedictorian of Concord High School. He was also on the wrestling team and was working his up the ladder in the chess club. It was there that the dormant interest in chess blossomed into a passion and young Tate worked hard to improve.

Concord H.S. Chess Club, Elkhart, Indiana (1976)

After earning a scholarship to Northwestern, he took his growing interest after defeating GM Arthur Bisguier in a simul. Many chess players remember Tate being at Ron’s Chess Shoppe and other venues in the Chicago area. During this era of his life, his confidence soared and he became a sensation after developing his hyperactive tactical style.

Apart from his sparkling play was the influence he had on the chess community. Tate’s games were always full of creative ideas and he was always willing to share his ideas in a demonstrative way. His generosity is one of the redeeming qualities he is remembered for and is why he had such a large fan base. He will be aptly honored the community where he had such an impact, the southside of Chicago. See flyer below for details.


Sophia Lynn of “Chess R US” is known for her stunning drawings and t-shirt designs, but she is rallying support to start a new chess club in the Baltimore area. The area has a long chess history and many legendary players have come through the area. Lynn is trying to revitalize the chess scene. On June 18th, she will host a tournament and is inviting all to register and support the mission! Check it out!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/quiet.inspirations?fref=ts


Chicago Open officially starts the summer circuit of tournaments on the American chess landscape. Wheeling will host the 25th edition of the tournament and it expects top players to vie for the $100,000 guaranteed prize fund. The field will feature a strong Chinese contingent including Yu Yangyi, Jianchao Zhou and Ju Wenjun.

Last year Jeffery Xiong scored a historic victory and earned his final GM norm in the process. He had a memorable 2015 and started this year with a creditable performance in the U.S. Championship. What will be the story this year? What new star will emerge? There will be a number of young upstarts as well as a number of veterans in the field.


FM Kevin WangGM Yu Yangyi


GM Ju Wenjun (China)
Photos by Daaim Shabazz.

Official Site: http://chicagoopen.net/
Tournament Details: http://www.chesstour.com/chio16.htm


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