Archive for the 'Opinion/Editorials' Category

Chess community, I am Dr. Daaim Shabazz, Associate Professor of Global Business at Florida A&M University and the creator/owner of The Chess Drum website. I am in good standing with the United Stated Chess Federation where I am an active player, Board Member of Florida Chess Association and have selflessly served the chess journalist community […]

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Hikaru Nakamura has started strongly in 2015. Photo by Eteri Kublashvili. Hikaru Nakamura started the year trying to rebound after a mediocre result in the London Classic and being relegated to America’s #2 position after Wesley So’s impressive showing at the Tata Steel. While there were no public comments by Nakamura, there was a sense […]

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Michael Jordan always sought the toughest competition. Michael Jordan is perhaps one of the world’s most recognized sports names even long after he has retired. He has been viewed as the best competitive basketball player ever to play the game. Of course arguments can be made for Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird […]

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Uganda Chess President Vianney Luggya receiving Garry Kasparov. Photo by New Vision. Former World Champion Garry Kasparov recently embarked upon an Africa tour covering several countries. Since his retirement in 2005, Kasparov has not rested. He has been a prolific author and has been active in the political realm as a prominent opposition to current […]

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Back in 2007, I visited London, England for the first time to attend a conference held by the International Academy of African Business Development (IAABD) at London Metropolitan University. I had heard much about the famed metropolis of eight million, but particularly the rainy, gloomy days and pedestrian congestion. While these notions were true, there […]

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The year of 2012 was supposed to be a magical year with all the Mayan calendar prophesies and such. In the year of the Olympics, a World Championship match, the Chess Olympiad and Kasparov’s record falling, there was quite a bit happening in the chess world. The Chess Drum was able to capture the news […]

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The first Black National Master Walter Harris on the March 1964 cover of U.S. Chess Life. In the U.S., the World Open serves not only as the marquee tournament, but as the unofficial barometer for how healthy the chess environment is in the country. Approximately 1000 players trek from around the country and world to […]

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The World Open is a special tournament in U.S. history. Having finished its 40th version, the tournament will move to Arlington, Virginia next year. There are no clear plans on whether it will return to Philadelphia. Nevertheless, I have many good memories of the World Open. Here are some of them from the 2012 event. […]

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How can GM Hikaru Nakamura reach the next level?Photo by CCSCSL. After having won his third U.S. Championship (2005, 2009, 2012) and moving to 5th-6th on the Live Rating List, there is no doubt that Hikaru Nakamura is a championship contender. To all the naysayers in years past, they must be busy trying to think […]

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James McCune Smith February is deemed “Black History Month” for the celebration of important figures in African Diaspora. Originally “Negro History Week” the commemoration was created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 who wanted to honor the accomplishments of Blacks. The month has primarily focused on those born in America, but there are those who […]

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Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen In the 1972 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, then-championship challenger Bobby Fischer stated that he like to “crush a man’s ego”. He then played Boris Spassky for the World Chess Championship and beat the Soviet player mercilessly even after forfeiting the second game and falling behind 2-0. Fischer had […]

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Scan the code…where does it take you? 🙂 They look like crossword puzzles, but are powerful diagrams of pixels. They are called Quick Response (QR) codes and they are coming to chess soon. In chess we record moves by writing down algebraic notation with a pen or use an input device (i.e., Monroi system or […]

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GM Hikaru Nakamura, 2770 ELO on FIDE list. Photo by Daaim Shabazz. The pairings of the first round of the FIDE World Cup were released in July and after a couple of changes will commence on August 26th in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Russia will bring a delegation of 26 players. China will bring nine players; the […]

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In a recent ChessBase article, Uzbekistan’s Rustam Kasimdzhanov made a pronouncement about the state of professional chess and its appeal to sponsors. In a very stark admission, Kasimdzhanov opened with, I am writing this open letter, addressed both to FIDE and the entire chess playing world, due to a certain crisis, in which our noble […]

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The Chess Olympiad is less than one month away and there are continued grumblings about the logistical arrangements. One month ago there was a story about the venue in Khanty-Mansiysk still being under construction. There was also the revelation that the organizers may have chosen a venue unable to accommodate all the attendees. Israel Gelfer, […]

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Sweden’s GM Pontus Carlsson at 2008 European Championship. Photo from www.eicc2008.com. From time-to-time there is a question raised about the presence of Black players in the chess world. Players in this demographic can be seen at tournaments around the world and are seemingly enthusiastic about competition. However, those who have found success at the highest […]

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Baraka Shabazz’s demure pose is a testament to her confidence and poise. This photo was featured in Chicago Metro News, December 4, 1982 as part of Tony Brown Journal segment. Baraka Shabazz (pronounced ba-roka sha-boz) is a famous name is Black chess lore and a name that exudes power. Her arrival on the scene was […]

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Mikhail Botvinnik, Soviet School icon. Chess has a storied history. There are many theories of its origin stemming from either India or China and going to Persia through the Middle East across the Sahara and into Europe. Some say that chess went through Central Asia and into Eurasia. Regardless of where chess started and how […]

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Tomorrow Viswanathan Anand will set foot down on the African continent. This is reportedly his first visit which is significant for a number of reasons. First, no other sitting World Champion has visited the continent in recent memory (or perhaps ever). This is revolutionary for a number of reasons and may represent a “homecoming” of […]

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For decades, there has been a characterization of chess that may be considered flattering by some and insulting by others. It is the idea that chess is somehow associated with those who are socially-retarded, but intellectually overdeveloped. GEEK (n.) A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in […]

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Dr. René Gralla has done an interesting piece on a version of chess called “Senterej” which originates in ancient Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Gralla contends: Historians and experts in cultural studies always look towards India, Persia and Arabia – and some even turn to China, more recently – when they search for the origins of chess. But […]

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If you are reading this story you are probably one of the millions who have an appreciation for the royal game of chess… or at least have some intrigue. If one stops to think about the game and sport, perhaps a common question has arisen, “Why Chess?” “Why have I decided to spend so much […]

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The 2009 edition of Corus is underway as three high-powered sections have assembled in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. Group “A” is headlined by world’s #3 Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine. China’s Wang Yue and Cuba’s Lenier Dominguez are two newer faces in the elite. Dominguez is making his first appearance in Corus “A”. Corus, […]

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There is an article in the Scientific American titled, “Men’s Superiority in Chess Explained.” While the title of this post bears a question mark, the article’s title did not. The article claims to explain the rationale of why men dominate chess. They basically say that since there are more men playing then they have a […]

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EARL HAMMUDTrenton New Jersey Maximum Security Prison.Photo by Oliver Fluck. Five years ago, I penned an essay titled, “Prison Chess: The Game Called Life.” Chess is a game that holds a lot of intrigue among prisoners. There are reports that have found that chess helps prisoner behavior and also reduces recidivism rates. However, it is […]

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