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

GM Maurice Ashley’s excitement was effusive as he posted several comments on Facebook recounting his experiences in Kenya and South Africa. Ashley had a whirlwind Millionaire Chess mini-tour and even captured a number of shots of the “Big Five” in the animal kingdom during safari outings. It in interesting that many animals have chess openings named for them such as the Elephant Gambit. Not part of the Big Five, but certainly large in the Hippopotamus, which touts a very solid defense indeed. However, in Nigeria an entirely different landscape 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):

The 2016 Millionaire Chess Open

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


email address:


* * *


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:


* * *


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:


* * *


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.



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:

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

“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 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 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!

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

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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

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

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!



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:
Tournament Details:


Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

Women’s International Master (WIM) Deborah Richards-Porter was in the news lately for winning the 2.3.5 subzonal tournament held in Barbados. Players from Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela also vied for the title. She becomes the first Jamaican to win a subzonal tournament and nipped WIM Danitza Vazquez of Puerto Rico with an unconquerable 8½/9.

Richards-Porter has won the women’s Jamaican national championship 10 times and has led the Jamaican women’s team at the past several Olympiad tournaments. She has been feted by the Jamaican Chess Federation and the RJR Sports Foundation and has been a role model of excellence for the up-and-coming players (male and female). When all is said and done, she will be the most decorated woman in Jamaican chess history.

Olympiad teammates Ariel Barrett and Deborah Richards-Porter
had strong showings at the 2.3.5 subzonal in Barbados.
Photo courtesy of Jamaican Chess Federation.

Given her dominance on the national stage, Richards-Porter has now lent herself to teaching chess to the next generation at her R&D Chess Academy along with her husband, Russel Porter. One of the main questions often asked about the women’s scene in chess is how to get them more involved. Why are there not good numbers of women participating in chess? Why are there not a higher number of women competing at the highest levels? More on that later.

Another question that has emerged is, do gender-segregated tournaments stunt the growth of the females they are seeking to inspire? About one year ago, GM Nigel Short reignited a firestorm about women in chess stating reasons why women are at the lower rungs of the professional chess ladder. Some point to low numbers, but when the Polgar sisters emerged, there were even fewer women than today. What did they do to compete at the highest level?

Warren Elliott (front, left) was held to a draw by Deborah Porter (front, right) at the 2012 Jamaica Chess Open, however Elliott defeated the rest of his opponents to claim first place.

Warren Elliott (front, left) was held to a draw by Deborah Porter (front, right) at the 2012 Jamaica Chess Open, however Elliott defeated the rest of his opponents to claim first place. Richards-Porter won the Jamaica Open three years later. Photo by Zachary Ramsey.

Short faced a maelstrom of criticism about accepting the difference in strength as a factor of social conditioning. His pointed comments, reignited a painful debate on gender equality in chess. Social conditioning of boys and girls often determines what activities they pursue and how much time they allocate to them. The issue remains… what constitutes the chasm in chess? Is it that girls and women are not thoroughly challenged in gender-based tournaments and thus, their improvement trajectory slower? These tournaments are designed to serve as an incubation for building the requisite confidence for girls. However, it is important that girls do not get stuck in this incubation too long. Hungary’s Judit Polgar, the strongest woman in history, gave her insight on women in chess:

In fact, they must focus to play the best chess and not women’s chess and then they will improve faster. Unfortunately, most of them focus only on playing in women’s chess … You have to put your goals as high as possible and only then will you improve. (see article)

Is it simply a matter of practicality in the use of time? Is economics a factor? One may say that people tend to disfavor spending an inordinate amount of time studying a game without some derived benefit. Some have argued that if not for the presence of the women’s tournaments, participation would be far less. The question is why? Certainly, women enjoy the accomplishments they garner in gender-based tournaments. Perhaps they there needs to be incentives to play in tournaments where the chance of winning in a larger and stronger pool is drastically reduced. It is ironic that some Grandmasters complain that it is difficult to survive as a chess professional and that women have more chances to succeed given their separate prizes and gender-based tournaments.

There are a number of issues that also come, but gender disparity has been a staple argument in chess since Bobby Fischer’s “knight odds” statement. However, the Polgar experiment showed that under the right conditions (including playing the strongest players), women can attain a high standard in chess. In fact, Judit Polgar became a Grandmaster at 14, eschewed gender tournaments and competed as an equal for decades. Not only did she compete, she spent her teenage years crushing strong Grandmasters in bloody mating attacks. She ultimately reached #8 in the world and a 2735 FIDE rating. Perhaps there is a gradualism, but it is important that girls are not setting their goals too modestly.

Deborah Richards-Porter at 2014 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Photo courtesy of Jamaican Chess Federation.

In addition, there has been discussion about women’s titles and their importance. It is common to hear a chess-playing girl say that she aspires to become a “WIM” or “WGM” because women’s titles are taken as the natural stage of improvement. Unfortunately, one hardly hears a girl mentioning the coveted “IM,” “GM” titles as an initial goal despite the fact that they aspire to compete with the best in every other endeavor. By this default, boys will have higher chess goals, higher expectations and thus, more ambition. Have we pigeon-holed girls and women to think only in terms of gender-related events and lesser titles? Have we encouraged them to have lower expectations of their abilities? There is certainly a place for gender-based tournaments, but should young girls take the example of the Polgar sisters as their own or as merely an exceptional case?

Women do play in open events, but the top players’ presence is sparse. One tournament showing progress was Gibraltar where several top females players competed in this year’s competition including GMs Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Antoaneta Stefanova, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Dronavali Harika, Pia Cramling, Zhao Xue and others. In fact, GM Hou Yifan famously tied for 1st in the 2012 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival with Short. There is also a “women’s prize” as an incentive. In 2015, the event was won by GM Hikaru Nakamura, but ironically, Hou earned more winnings than Nakamura. She took 3rd place overall and in addition, the women’s prize! Hou is the current women’s world champion at age 22, but her participation in the strongest tournaments is very spotty and her strength seems to have stagnated for the last two years. Apart from Hou Yifan at 2663, top women are around rated 2500-2575. Three others have eclipsed 2600 in the past.

For women in developing regions, there must be a push to play the strongest competition and strive for equal standards in skill. Richards-Porter is a player of good standard and won the 2015 Jamaican Open, defeating FM Damion Davy in the process. There had been the paradox that Richards-Porter continue to play in the women’s national championship because of the small field. It was considered important to have her as the standard bearer and eminent presence in the national championship. That was a logical thought, but would she be more of an inspiration competing strongly against the likes of FM Warren Elliott and Davy for the national championship and securing a spot on the overall Olympiad team?

Deborah Richards-Porter accepting highest accolade for female chess players.

WIM Deborah Richards-Porter accepting the RJR “Female Chess Player of the Year” from Grammy-winner Orville “Shaggy” Burrell. Photo by Jamaica Observer.

The late Dr. Hope Anderson set the tone by deciding to compete among Jamaica’s best players. Let’s hope players like Richards-Porter (and others) will continue this challenge. There is no reason to believe that women cannot cause a few nightmares in a given tournament. Maybe it will be up-and-coming Women’s Candidate Masters Ariel Barrett or Rachel Miller. Richards-Porter has been the trailblazer and has been encouraged by Jamaican Chess Federation President Ian Wilkinson to seek higher heights. While we hear chess-playing boys cite being Grandmaster as a goal, perhaps chess-playing girls should be socialized to think in a broader view as it relates to chess. That would be a watershed moment. As for Richards-Porter, she qualifies for the next round of qualifiers for the Women’s World Chess Championship. Let’s wish her well on her endeavor and hope to see her mash up the competition in Jamaica.


Kenya Kenya Kenya

2016 Kenya Open

Kenyan chess is seeing an uptick in activity in 2016. After holding a successful Kenya Open last month (won by Ben Nguku) it is in the midst of the Nairobi Open. There are apparently some bright talent sprouting from years of nourishment. The frequent trips around Kenya seem to be bearing some fruit.

Ben Nguku (left) receives his trophy from CEO
of Terrian Chess Academy Brian Kidula.

Happy winners from left…
Timothy Milton, Ben Nguku, Jane Wambugu and Mehul Gohil.

Ben Nguku ended up with 7/8 the same as Mehul Gohil but he emerged as a winner on tie break. Both shared equally the first and second prize KES 30,000 (USD 300) & KES 20,000 (USD 200). Peter Gilruth & James Panchol ended up in fourth position with 6.5/8 to each earn KES 7,500 (USD 75).

Timothy Mwabu


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Visit to Mukuru Kwa Njenga

Githinji Hinga and officials from Chess Kenya went to the infamous slum of Mukuru Kwa Njenga to provide the children a respite from the deprivation of necessities. It is a testament that Chess Kenya was not afraid to enter the rounds of this precarious area. The area is not paved and danger was always lurking.

“Usisahau huku ni ghetto, Battery na tenje zitaenda”
(Do not forget this is the ghetto, your car battery and radio will definitely go).

These are the type of stories that are missed in the chess world as there is a focus on the top players and the latest results in a big tournament. In fact, these stories may carry a larger social importance given the role that chess has played in upliftment in impoverished areas around the world. Chess players will perhaps know the story of Phiona Mutesi of Uganda.

It is interesting that this visit was sponsored by Sports Outreach Ministries (SOP), a non-profit faith based organisation that seeks to mentor children in impoverished areas through sports and a feeding program. It is the organization that made Phiona’s story possible. Pastor Francis Juma who is a director of SOP Kenya, started a chess program in October 2015. Robert Katende of SOP Uganda, who served as Phiona’s mentor, conducted a week-long training workshop at Mukuru teaching a dozen teachers from surrounding schools.

By this training, teachers were able to introduce chess to their respective schools and thus introduce them to Chess Kenya. This story would not normally see the light of day if not for niche websites and blogs.



Four-time U.S. Champion GM Hikaru Nakamura won MC2 in exciting fashion.
Will MC3 bring more spills and thrills?
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

* * *

ALERT!! The May 31st deadline is fast approaching!

At least 50 people have already signed up for Millionaire Chess 3. Avoid the last-minute rush and sign up before the entry fee increases to $549! Remember that you need to have at least 60 games rated by 31 August 2016 to qualify for the Under Section of MC 3. If you haven’t met your 60 game requirement and are not sure about registering now for the tournament, here is some friendly advice. Go for it! Register now and then you have all the motivation to play as much chess as possible before MC 3.

The very first person to register for Millionaire Chess was Jones Murphy. Well done Jones! To follow Jones and many others who have already registered for the tournament, please…

Register now at!

MC supporters Daaim Shabazz, Adia Onyango,
Ashik Uzzaman and Jones Murphy, Jr.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Into History Once Again

April was a very hectic month for Millionaire Chess and also a historic one as our very own Grandmaster Maurice Ashley was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame. Maurice gave a moving acceptance speech in which he chronicled his humble beginnings in chess from the tough streets of Kingston, Jamaica to Brooklyn, New York and gave tribute to family, friends and colleagues who have helped him along the way. Maurice was the first African-American to ever be inducted into the hall, 17 years after he became the first Black person in history to become a GM. It’s an accomplishment of which we are all proud! You can view the acceptance speech here:

Video by CCSCSL.

Hail to the Chief!

Please join us in welcoming Ken Ballou to the MC family. Ken will be our Chief TD at MC3. It was an arduous and particularly difficult search for a Chief TD following Sevan Muradian’s sudden passing in February. Ken has deep experience at a TD in national events. This should hold him in good stead as he leads a new team to Millionaire Chess’ third edition. He has hit the ground running, already busy addressing technical queries and questions regarding registration, ratings, staffing and the like. Welcome aboard Ken!

Final Notes

A very big thank to all those who are helping to spread the word about MC’s Dream Maker Satellite Series and MC. We appreciate it very much.

If you have any questions regarding MC 3 or the registration process please do not hesitate to contact us at

We look forward to seeing you in October!

Best wishes,

Amy and Maurice

Participants Adia Onyango, Stacey Moore and Alisa Melekhina
flanking Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

The 2016 Millionaire Chess Open

Thursday, October 6th through Monday, October 11th 2016


email address:



* * *


Chicago is a wonderful city with its vibrant ethnic communities, world class entertainment and beautiful landmarks. However, the media paints a decidedly narrow picture… one cloaked in death, despair and helplessness. The law enforcement has been dogged by allegations of unlawful acts, police brutality and obstruction of justice.

The city has seen heated confrontations between the public and the police and the jails continue to fill up. This story is similar to what one finds around the country. The irony is that many men learn the deep consequences of their actions in a very unconventional way. Oliver Fluck arranged a nice photo series of inmates who found chess as an outlet.

Mikhail Korenman (left) conducts chess classes at the Cook County Jail.
Photo by Phil Velasquez (Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Tribune ran a story about the benefits of chess on inmates. There are already a number of studies showing a reduction in recidivism. While the lessons often amount to cliches about “chess is life” or “making better moves,” the lessons stick. Jeff, a two-time participant in Cook County’s chess program stated, “If I make the wrong move, it can cost my family,” he continued, motioning toward the other pieces on the board. “It can cost everything that I have.”

Mikhail Korenman started the program four years ago and has made quite a bit of an impact. Chess is often used in a way to examine one’s inner self through introspection. Some see it as a tool that will enable them to succeed after paying their debt to society. Ernest expressed a bitter truth:

Once you get older and you start having kids, you realize that one bad decision can cost you your freedom, your life,” he said. “I just hate that it took me this long to really, really grasp that. But now, I really understand it. I really look forward to being successful when I get out there in the world. Because I believe I could do it.



Detroit has been beset by a long list of issues stemming from the scandal-ridden politics, the financial crisis of 2008, the recent Flint water crisis and lately the “sickout” strike of 94 of 97 Detroit’s school teachers. Certainly, everyone is sick of these egregious violations of public safety and the endangerment of our youth. Many of the Detroit schools suffer from neglect, abuse and total marginalization. This is why what is happening with the Detroit City Chess Club (DCCC) makes the latest accomplishments more meaningful.

Kevin Fite, founder of the DCCC, has been a selfless leader in providing Detroit-area youth an outlet from the social pathologies that plague the proud “Motor City.” It is a town that has quite a history of productivity and is home to the famous Motown Records empire. If you visit Detroit you will see the signs of urban blight and a city separated from its prosperous past. However, in such a city there are still jewels such as the Charles H. Wright African-American Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Fortunately, these landmarks play a duel role of educating the public about the proud history of the city, but also as a host for chess activities of the DCCC.

Tamryn Watkins was the subject of a very inspirational story on According to the article by Scott Talley, Watkins stated, “If I didn’t meet Mr. Fite that day my grades could have dropped, or I could have even been kicked out of Webber.” Watkins had been called to the office because of an altercation with two other girls. “I think being a part of her school’s chess team has made her more focused and goal-oriented,” says Fite. He stated that she is more focused, goal-oriented and she’s smiling a lot more.

Kevin Fite, Detroit City Chess Club

NM Jimmy Canty

DCCC product FIDE Master Jimmy Canty
Photo by Kwabena Shabu.

Fite has invited a number of dignitaries to Detroit to expose the youth to positive images and to help invigorate enthusiasm for the local chess scene. Most recently GM Hikaru Nakamura made an appearance and gave exhibitions to the DCCC and toured the city. The DCCC services school around the metropolitan area and boasts of many success stories. Duffield Elementary shined at the 2005 SuperNationals and Bates Academy and prep powerhouse Cass Tech has produced FM James “Jimmy” Canty III.

The latest success coming from Detroit is the six students from the University Prep Science and Math team winning the “Under 14” category at the 13th Annual Kasparov Chess Foundation All-Girls National Championships. The team members are active at Fite’s DCCC and among their many titles, this was the biggest. Fite told The Chess Drum that the girls had a disappointing tournament last year, but returned with a vengeance.

Yes, They really wanted to win it because the previous year they placed in 4th place and they didn’t realize how tough the All-Girls tournament was. I’ve never seen the girls so upset like they were last year. All they talked about this year was going back to the All-Girls. All the girls will be attending Cass Tech High School in the Fall.

KCF All-Girls National Championship, 2016 National under-14 Champions!

L-R: Jaidyn Hamilton, Lauren Bradford, Sa’Nya Burton, Gisele Motley,
Jada Hamilton and Charisse Woods.
Photo by Catherine Martinez.

In actuality, four of the 8th-grade girls will attend Cass while Charisse Woods, a 5th grader who competing for University Prep Science & Math Elementary will transfer to University Prep Science and Math Middle School next fall. She will join Sa’Nya Burton who is a 6th grader. With the girls poised to attend Cass Tech, it goes without saying that they will continue adding to the tradition of the Detroit powerhouse high school.

Fite told The Chess Drum that Canty, a Cass Tech alumni, has been assisting the girls with instruction. Canty has been blazing his own trail having won $40,000 at the 2015 Millionaire Chess Open and later qualifying for his FM title. Things are looking up for Detroit and the chess community is keeping their heads when all about them are losing theirs.


Fabiano Caruana
2016 U.S. Chess Champion

The tide has turned and the balance of power has shifted in American chess. There were two new champions crowned after the U.S. Championships held in St. Louis ending this past weekend. Fabiano Caruana was crowned the champion in his debut. After switching his federation back to the U.S. last year, it has been an eventful ride for the Miami-born, Brooklyn-bred Grandmaster.

Caruana has since settled in St. Louis and is the top-rated U.S. player and now the national champion. In addition to his muscle as America’s champion, he has Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So as teammates in the upcoming Olympiad this fall in Azerbaijan. They will make a formidable trio along with Ray Robson. These four held the top four places in the championship where there was exciting play from wire-to-wire. There were no breakout stories in the open championship and Aleksandr Lenderman and Sam Shankland did not have the best of tournaments. Veterans Gata Kamsky and Alexander Shabalov never got any momentum going. U.S. Junior champion IM Akshat Chandra had a “character-building” experience getting three draws from 11 games.

The youth movement is afoot! Carissa Yip and Ashritha Eswaran chat after a round Both players affected the outcome of the championship.

In the women’s championships, Nazi Paikidze won her crown in the very last round after Tatev Abrahamyan lost to Ashritha Eswaran. Paikidze beat 7-time champion Irina Krush to nudge out Abrahamyan who had lead for most of the second half of the tournament. This broke the reign of Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih who had won the championship for the last ten years. However, that wasn’t the story. In fact, the story was the onslaught of the younger players such as Eswaran, Jennifer Yu, Akshita Gorti and Carissa Yip. The last three rounds saw these young players took scalps thus affecting the outcome of the championship.

GM Fabiano Caruana & IM Nazi Paikidze
2016 National Champions

2016 U.S. Chess Championship
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Final Standings (Overall)
Rank Name Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score
1 GM Caruana, F 2795 x ½  1  ½  1  ½  ½  1  1  1  ½  1  8.5
2 GM So, W 2773 ½  x ½  ½  ½  ½  1  ½  1  ½  1  1  7.5
3 GM Nakamura, H 2787 0  ½  x ½  ½  1  ½  1  1  1  1  ½  7.5
4 GM Robson, R 2663 ½  ½  ½  x 1  ½  ½  ½  ½  ½  1  1  7.0
5 GM Onischuk, A 2664 0  ½  ½  0  x ½  ½  1  ½  1  ½  1  6.0
6 GM Xiong, J 2618 ½  ½  0  ½  ½  x 1  ½  ½  ½  ½  ½  5.5
7 GM Kamsky, G 2678 ½  0  ½  ½  ½  0  x ½  ½  ½  ½  1  5.0
8 GM Lenderman, A 2618 0  ½  0  ½  0  ½  ½  x ½  ½  ½  1  4.5
9 GM Akobian, V 2615 0  0  0  ½  ½  ½  ½  ½  x 0  1  1  4.5
10 GM Shankland, S 2656 0  ½  0  ½  0  ½  ½  ½  1  x 0  1  4.5
11 GM Shabalov, A 2528 ½  0  0  0  ½  ½  ½  ½  0  1  x ½  4.0
12 IM Chandra, A 2477 0  0  ½  0  0  ½  0  0  0  0  ½  x 1.5
PGN Games (Overall)

2015 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Final Standings (Women)
Rank Name Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Score
1 IM Paikidze, N 2346 x ½  ½  ½  ½  1  1  1  ½  1  1  1  8.5
2 WGM Abrahamyan, T 2342 ½  x 1  ½  1  ½  0  1  ½  1  1  1  8.0
3 IM Zatonskih, A 2470 ½  0  x ½  ½  ½  1  0  1  1  1  1  7.0
4 WGM Nemcova, K 2367 ½  ½  ½  x ½  ½  ½  1  1  0  ½  1  6.5
5 WGM Foisor, S 2258 ½  0  ½  ½  x 0  ½  1  1  1  1  ½  6.5
6 GM Krush, I 2465 0  ½  ½  ½  1  x ½  ½  0  1  1  ½  6.0
7 WIM Eswaran, A 2225 0  1  0  ½  ½  ½  x ½  0  ½  1  1  5.5
8 WFM Yu, J 2157 0  0  1  0  0  ½  ½  x 1  ½  ½  1  5.0
9 Yip, C 2164 ½  ½  0  0  0  1  1  0  x 1  0  ½  4.5
10 FM Gorti, A 2184 0  0  0  1  0  0  ½  ½  0  x 1  1  4.0
11 WIM Bykovtsev, A 2219 0  0  0  ½  0  0  0  ½  1  0  x 1  3.0
12 FM Melekhina, A 2205 0  0  0  0  ½  ½  0  0  ½  0  0  x 1.5
PGN Games (Women)


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