Drum Interviews @ Millionaire Chess Open #2
The second Millionaire Chess Open is in the record books and it was even more eventful than the first. Accented by a marquee lineup of players, the tournament lived up to its billing as the brightest stars shone in the end. While Hikaru Nakamura won in the end, there were other stars who had followers that spanned the globe. The Chess Drum was able to catch up with several of the international qualifiers and also a couple of chess VIPs.
FM Harold Wanyama (Uganda) – The winner of the Kenyan MC qualifier discussed his tournament and what he appearance at the MC tournament means to Ugandans. This interview was conducted after round three after his game with Alexander Kalikshteyn. He discusses the rise of players in Uganda and the impact of Arthur Ssegwanyi’s performance against Anish Giri in Baku, Azerbaijan. He also gives the securing of sponsorship as an important factor in improving the standard around the continent. The lack of sponsorship may result of talented juniors not focusing on chess seriously. Overall, Wanyama had a great experience and will certainly share his experience with the rest of the community back home. 15:03 minutes
Malaku Lorne, Mario Marshall, Kassa Korley (Las Vegas, Nevada) – This was a group interview during lunch at Abyssinian Ethiopian restaurant. It was on the occasion of Lorne’s birthday. While were was no birthday songs sung, each of the three players talked about their respective experiences in Vegas. Excellent conversation! 18:13 minutes
Malaku Lorne, Mario Marshall, Kassa Korley and Daaim Shabazz.
Ashik Uzzaman (Fremont, California) – From Bangladesh by origin and software engineer by training, Uzzman is probably the most ardent supporters of the Millionaire Chess franchise. He has been an active supporter through his videos and through his various posts in response to MC “haters”.
Uzzaman, whose son is also competing, mentioned some of the things he thought makes the MC idea so unique such as the “Millionaire Square” game show. He also spoke at length about sponsorship potential of MC. Uzzaman works in Silicon Valley and believes that there is great potential to marry chess with the empires of the technology catalysts. There was an agreement on the fact that a complementary team of volunteers to help take the load off of the principle founders. It is obvious that there are a lot of talented people in chess who are at the highest level of their professions.
Lastly, there were kudos given to the “confessions booth” which he visited several times and his son Ahyan visited each round! 30:25 minutes
IM Providence Oatlhotse (Botswana) – Now a veteran of Botswana chess, Oatlhotse recounted his experiences at Millionaire Chess including his games (drawing with Lenderman and Garcia) and his meeting of old acquaintances such as Zimbabwe’s Farai Mandizha. He also discussed the Botswana chess scene which he states struggles for support. He weighs in on ideas to groom talent in Africa. He also makes a point that Africa should have more qualifiers in the World Cup and that the continent is capable of hosting an Olympiad. Interesting! 16:18 minutes
IM Providence Oatlhotse (Botswana)
Orrin Hudson (Atlanta, Georgia) – A man with an endless supply of catch phrases, idioms and allegories, Hudson has taught 40,000 children with the ultimate goal of reaching 1,000,000. Hudson talked about his successful 5/7 score and some of his recent projects including his pending cover story on the December issue of Chess Life. “Brains before Bullets” is a new slogan emblazoned on t-shirts that he sold at the tournament. He invoked the words of notables such as Bill Gates, his teacher James Edge and Abraham Lincoln’s mother who told him to “be someone”. 10:52 minutes
Daaim Shabazz (The Chess Drum) and Orrin Hudson (Besomeone, Inc.)
IM Bunmi Olape (Nigeria) – Olape is a veteran of several Olympiad tournaments and now a veteran of Millionaire Chess. having won the Nigeria qualifier, he joined a large contingent of Nigerians who made the long trip to compete for the green and white. Olape’s parents and sister actually reside in Colorado and while he visited them prior to returning to Nigeria, this was his first time to the U.S. He shared his experience of the tournament and Las Vegas, Millionaire Chess and his personal goals. 12:46 minutes
Pan-Africanism at work! FM Harold Wanyama (Uganda), IM Providence Oatlhotse (Botswana) and IM Bunmi Olape (Nigeria) playing blitz while Dominique Myers (USA) and Malaku Lorne (Jamaica) look on. Oatlhotse is playing IM Kassa Korley (Denmark/USA) and Olape is playing Mario Marshall (Jamaica/USA).
Millionaire Chess commentators!
GM Robert Hess, IM Tania Sachdev and IM Lawrence Trent
All photos by Daaim Shabazz.
IM Lawrence Trent (England) – One of the main commentators calling the action and known for his sardonic wit and raw humour, Trent gave his overview of the MC tournament which he called it “great fun”. He talked about what makes Millionaire Chess different from others. It is the idea that chess is accessible to all levels and even the rank players can win prizes that literally change lives. He talk about the possibility of sponsorship and how the tournament could become a marketable. Trent also talked about his managing Fabiano Caruana. 7:22 minutes
CONTACT: MILLIONAIRE CHESS