There is a positive initiative taking place in a city famous for its “Bulldogs” than anything else. However, University of Georgia (UGA) graduate Lemuel LeRoche has begun a new trend in Athens, Georgia with a youth empowerment program centered around chess. Laroche had the revelation after playing a game with an elderly Russian Jew in Dimona, Israel. He felt that would be the avenue that chess could break down walls of mental degradation and serve as a way to encourage youth to strive in a world where intellectual fortitude is becoming a necessity.

There are a number of chess programs that have executed similar missions for youth such as Kevin Fite’s Detroit City Chess Club, Adisa Banjoko’s Hip Hop Chess Federation, Orrin Hudson’s Besomeone, Mazi Mutafa’s Words, Beats & Life and Frank Johnson’s chess-coach.net. Others such as Salome Thomas-El have written about these lessons in his book I Choose to Stay. Maurice Ashley’s work is also well-known. There is such a need for social engagement, and each of these mentors has found a unique way to express these lessons.


“Think Before You Move”


For LeRoche, what started as one hour a month in 2002 has grown into a weekly program with 30-60 youth with themes such as “chess and pizza,” “chess and ice cream,” “chess and kayaking,” and even “chess and climbing.” There is also an emphasis on reading and scholarship. After officially starting Chess and Community in 2012, LeRoche also launched a conference designed to discuss elements of community-building and professional development. He originally planned his conference in January, but due to a snowstorm, it was canceled. With a bit of determination and serendipity, he rescheduled the event. On April 1st, Chess and Community will hold its 5th Conference with acclaimed journalist and UGA alumnae Charlyne Hunter-Gault as its keynote speaker.

* * *

5th Annual Chess & Community Conference
April 1st, 2017
University of Georgia (Mahler Hall – Georgia Center)
Doors Open at 9am

Chess and Community (CC) is a youth development organization that impacts and equips youth with real world hands-on experiences through mentoring, traveling and community service. CC expands students’ perspectives on life and develops them to become leaders in their communities. CC offers an array of programs to assist youth in their expansion, while working diligently to foster positive communication and interaction within the Athens community.

Link: https://www.chessandcommunity.org/conference2017

Share

Jamaica Jamaica Jamaica

There was lots of trash talk leading up to the Red Scorpion Blitz tournament with pundits predicting who would make it out of the four groups of four. The tournament was structured with World Cup brackets. Sixteen players were vying for glory and there was the Group of Death” featuring FM Shane Matthews, FM Warren Elliott, WIM Deborah Richards-Porter and Lucien Rowe. The first three are legendary mainstays in Jamaican chess while Rowe was looking for the upset.

The brackets featured a number of veterans and Jamaican brass including former champion Damion Davy and current national champion Shreyas Smith. National Master Dr. Kevin Brown was making a comeback after a long hiatus from the Jamaican scene. He is an alumnus of the Jamaican Olympiad teams (Novi Sad, 1990 and Manila, 1992). For a long time, he had been the only Jamaican to defeat a Grandmaster. Surprisingly, he showed decent form.

Each group would be a double round robin, but there was an interesting system of cross-pairings between brackets. After Matthews (A1) won his game against Deborah Richards-Porter, he would face runner-up Kevin Brown (B2). Meanwhile Elliott (A2) would face Myers (B1). Both Matthews and Elliott would advance into the semifinals.

In the other brackets, Damion Davy (C1) won the group and would face Malaku Lorne (D2) in a heavyweight clash. Shreyas Smith (D1) would face off with Daren Wisdom (C2). Davy and Smith advanced for the other semifinal match. Odane Hall and Peter Thomas did not show in Group B. Thus, the four remaining players would have amongst them nineteen national titles (Elliott, 8; Matthews, 7; Davy, 3; Smith, 1).

Elliott got the edge against Matthews in some spirited battles while Smith bested Davy. The eight-time champion then showed the young champion that he had not lost his fangs and could still hunt well. Smith would have to weight another day to prove his emerging status and King of Jamaica.

Share

Fédération Internationale des Échecs  (FIDE)

In the past 24-48 hours, the chess world has been buzzing with the news of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s resignation. The news was reported on the FIDE website, and many chess organizations ran the story as well. Literally hours after the news broke, Ilyumzhinov’s personal assistant Berik Balgabaev called it “fake news” and that no official documents had been signed.

Indeed, Ilyumzhinov stepped down from running the affairs of FIDE since December 6th, 2015, “withdrawing from any legal, financial and business operations of FIDE.” At the time, it said that he offered to “temporarily suspend his powers until the following Presidential Board.”

Translation: “Meeting of the FIDE Presidential Board. The FIDE President offers to temporarily suspend his powers until the following Presidential Board”.

The suspension was precipitated by his sanctions levied by the U.S. Department of Treasury. There was a bizarre conspiracy posited that Garry Kasparov had involvement with sanctions. Despite his withdrawing from duties of FIDE President, Ilyumzhinov appeared at events in a Presidential capacity, including the recent Women’s World Championship in Iran. The truth of the matter is that FIDE has been in limbo and is suffering from tremendous brand erosion with his sanctioning.

There has been a recent controversy that FIDE has not paid the participants of the Women’s World Championship nearly a month after Tan Zhongyi of China won the crown. On March 27th, the following news broke:

FIDE Secretary Nigel Freeman had broken the news to the public, but the question is why had FIDE reported this resignation if it did not occur. Was there a coup d’etat? Was Kirsan Ilyumzhinov putsched? On the FIDE website, there was a very short statement. It read,

At the end of the Board meeting held in Athens, Greece on the 26th March 2017, Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced his resignation from the position of FIDE President. The Presidential Board has been formally advised of this announcement and an extraordinary board meeting has been called in April.

In a response dated March 27th, Ilyumzhinov stated that the news was untrue …

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov response to his resignation

… after which Freeman recounted the events.

Nigel Freeman's response to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

This was followed by Ilyumzhinov’s reassurance to federations that he had not stepped down.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov addresses federations

These documents were found in a FIDE post titled, “Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s denial and FIDE reply.” If indeed, Ilyumzhinov uttered “I resign” three times, is this enough to tender a resignation? What is the formal procedure? Was Ilyumzhinov pressured into resigning? Is this an “unscrupulous struggle for power,” as Anatoly Karpov calls it? FIDE has become silent, but an extraordinary President Board Meeting has been called on April 10th to discuss the matter.

Ilyumzhinov blames the United States Chess Federation (U.S. Chess) for the controversy. He is apparently referring to the recent political tensions between the countries and the sanctioning months before the World Championship held in New York. In an interview with Evgeny Surov’s chess-news.ru he stated that he is President until September 2018 when the next elections will occur. Another statement from Ilyumzhinov is forthcoming and will most likely be posted before the April meeting.

Share

GM Maurice Ashley has been back in the media like we’ve never seen before. First he gave a candid appearance on “One on 1” segment. On display were vintage photos of a younger Ashley, but it gave a wide-ranging view of his passion and the expanse of his activities. Most of Ashley’s story is well-known. Even the cameo appearance with a street hustler last year was featured. The Brooklyn-based GM now has a mission that extends beyond the borders and will be traveling to Africa this June for another initiative.

One on 1: http://www.ny1.com/


“A friend of mine called me up and said, ‘I can get you a six-figure job right now working on a mutual fund. And in half a second, I thought, ‘Why would I do that?'”


Ashley also appeared in The Moth where he gave a rather poignant story of Brooklyn chess and the hardscrabble environment in the chess parks. “Slaying King George” was the 13-minute segment. He lamented on his passionate beginnings of chess and his introduction to the Black Bear School of Chess. The brutal environment was Prospect Park where the raucous scene unfolded each day. Ashley spoke of his initiation into this august group of players, but the piece centered his meeting George “Firebreather” Golden. Very description and expressive.

The Moth: http://player.themoth.org

Share

Fantastic, ‘magnificent’ product which will in time be duly recognized as a ‘magnum opus’!

~Ian Wilkinson, Jamaica Chess Federation

Retail Price: $40.00 (full color, hard back)

On March 11th, The Chess Drum announced the release of Emory Tate’s biography, Triple Exclam!!! The Life and Games of Emory Tate, Chess Warrior and the book has been warmly embraced by the chess community. The biography comes in the aftermath of Tate’s death October 17, 2015 when he was stricken by a heart attack during a chess tournament in California. He was 56.

Tate was an artful figure of chess throughout his playing career and enthralled fans with his charisma and signature tactical style. He also enjoyed postmortem sessions and was in his element in conducting them. The book actually transcribes two of these sessions making for colorful prose. Below are a few selections from Triple Exclam.

Introducing “Triple Exclam”

Currently, there is a 10% volume discount for quantities of five or more and a 20% discount to FIDE’s CACDEC countries (see below). Hopefully, there are CACDEC funds that will help to offset exorbitant shipping fees. Tate is not known to have visited the African continent, but had a legion of fans there as well.

Triple Exclam retails for $40.00 + shipping. The Chess Drum plans a single printing of 500 copies for Triple Exclam, so get your copy while they last!!

FOR PURCHASING 1-4 COPIES


FOR PURCHASING 5 OR MORE COPIES, click here!

# # #

The Chess Drum, LLC is a publisher of chess news content and literature. The organization’s website has continued to demonstrate the universality of chess by covering a variety of topics through news stories, essays, interviews, and photos since 2001. Visit The Chess Drum at thechessdrum.net and follow the beat on Facebook and Twitter!

Share

Kevin Fite is preparing his chess players for Supernationals that is only months away. Fite coaches at University Preparatory Science and Math Middle School, but has had a hand in the development of most of the area players through the Detroit City Chess Club. He has also hosted a number of guests to provide inspiration in chess as well as in life.

Kevin Fite, Detroit City Chess Club

Recently, detroitnews.com ran a story about the chess scene in Detroit, a city beset by a history of odious politics. A ray of sunshine has been the chess program led by Fite.

The chess team at the middle school, located inside the Michigan Science Center in Detroit’s cultural center, is the defending national champion. University Prep Science and Math Middle School’s sixth-graders won the K-6 state elementary championship Feb. 4, while the seventh- and eighth-graders won the junior high state championship a little more than a week ago. UPSM Elementary school won the Metro Detroit City League Elementary Division Jan. 14, making it the best elementary team in the area.

As with many of the fledgling programs, they are often lacking in resources and are forced to hold fundraising campaigns to compete. According to the article, Fite is at it again. “The parents always pay, but they’re just about tapped out now and we just need some help,” said Fite. The opportunity to travel to these tournaments provides the students not only with the opportunities to compete, but to gain social skills, develop life-long networks and even a chance to earn scholarships.

Fite is a mentor for the players and even a surrogate father for some. He tries to discuss with them real life issues. Being part of the chess club provides them with a positive outlet and the results are paying off. They need help to realize their talents. The goal is $55,000 to send the team in Nashville and at the time of the article, they were $17,000 short. The team is working to make this trip a reality.

Link: http://www.detroitnews.com/

Share

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum
P.O. Box 7663
Tallahassee, FL 32314-7663 USA
webmaster@thechessdrum.net
(850) 296-9494

Tallahassee, USA – 11 March 2017 – Emory Tate’s biography Triple Exclam!!! The Life and Games of Emory Tate, Chess Warrior has finally arrived and is available for purchase. The book details the life of one of the most colorful figures on the U.S. chess circuit. Tate’s death on October 17, 2015 brought an end to the adventurism and sense of wonderment he found in chess.

In just over a year, his biography has been published by The Chess Drum after finishing production in March 2017. Release was delayed for months by a number of technical issues. The book covers his exciting 56-year journey and life as a chess artist. His passion for chess was truly inspiring. Triple Exclam was the culmination of an intense research effort on the life of Tate.

The following blurb appears on the inside flap of the dust jacket:

ISBN-10: 0998118001
ISBN-13: 978-0998118000
Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
Publisher: The Chess Drum, LLC
Retail Price: $40.00 (full color, hard back)

TO ORDER NOW… CLICK HERE!

In the annals of attacking chess players, International Master Emory Tate built up a collection of stunning gems. Tate also showed his passion in describing these exciting battles as if acting in a stage play. With his clear, accelerated speaking style, melodramatic portrayals, quick wit and creative word play, he intrigued audiences and showed unequivocally that chess is not merely a game to be played, but an art form to be expressed. This book details the life and games of Tate over the course of his 56 years.

His contribution to chess lies not merely in his level of play, or even his scintillating victories, but in his creation of unique ideas and inspiring dreams. Somewhere on that chess board was beauty to behold, a new story to be told, and perhaps an idea that would touch the soul. Tate told many stories, many of which would reflect an adventurous, purposeful, yet troubled life. This story is of beautiful games, life lessons, mind-boggling conflicts and celebration of a man whose contributions will live on!

The Book

Triple Exclam is a hardback, full-color edition that includes 280 pages in 12 chapters and seven appendices surveying the life of Tate. It includes 35 of his games (all annotated) and vintage photos at various stages of his life. The book also includes chapter notes and is fully-indexed. If you are not a chess-player but enjoy biographies, you will appreciate his story.

The Foreword of the book was done by GM Maurice Ashley with annotations by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Alejandro Ramirez, GM Pontus Carlsson, GM Amon Simutowe, GM Kenny Solomon, IM Malcolm Pein, FM William Morrison, FM Todd Andrews, FM Jimmy Canty and National Masters Ernest Colding, Glenn Bady and Dr. Okechukwu Iwu. Two games feature transcribed annotations from Tate’s famous post-mortems. A file of the Triple Exclam games will be sent to customers.

Triple Exclam: The Life and Games of Emory Tate, Chess Warrior
(Previews)

Order Details

The highly-anticipated book can be purchased by following the Paypal button below. A Paypal account is not needed. Buying in bulk cuts per unit and mailing costs, so for groups of friends, chess clubs, and vendors seeking volume discounts (for the purchase of five or more), click here!

International rates are currently prohibitive unless ordering quantities in multiples of five (U.S. Postal Service flat rate box). The Chess Drum is looking for international distributors to make the book accessible to a wider audience. An e-book version of Triple Exclam is forthcoming.

Some customers many be skittish about ordering online. In that case, contact me at webmaster@thechessdrum.net with number of copies needed and I’ll send an invoice. Mail orders are completed with money orders only. Also available for book signings. Make sure you add this handsome book to your collection!

FOR PURCHASING 5 OR MORE COPIES, click here!
FOR PURCHASING 1-4 COPIES


# # #

The Chess Drum, LLC is a publisher of chess news content and literature. The organization’s website has continued to demonstrate the universality of chess by covering a variety of topics through news stories, essays, interviews, and photos since 2001. Visit The Chess Drum at thechessdrum.net and follow the beat on Facebook and Twitter!

Share

Gambia Gambia Gambia

While the chess world has been occupied with world championship tournaments and elite players, there are many stories unfolding involving the ancient board game. There are different aspects of chess… the sporting aspect, the scientific aspect and the social aspect.

The latter is found in stories such as “Queen of Katwe,” which was based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi. These stories are often untold or overlooked because they don’t contain a sporting aspect in a high-browed game obsessed with ratings, titles and results. However, in a recent story in the McAlester Times, we learn that there are other redeeming qualities that make chess attractive.


“Chess… it can be an equalizing force.”
~Zac Smith


Zac Smith had graduated from University of Oklahoma and decided to join the Peace Corps, a U.S. government organization designed to promote humanitarian goodwill. One of the things Smith decided to take along was a chess set. His village of Kappa in rural Gambia had no electricity and no running water and was “unimaginably divorced from global culture,” said Smith.

Abdou Badjie (right), plays chess with fellow Gambians in Kappa village.
Photo by David Dishman

When he took out his set and began to show the children the board game with odd-shaped pieces, they took an interest. He learned that chess empowered people in the village. “Chess… it can be an equalizing force. The game doesn’t care if your’e old or young or male or female. I think it can provide an arena where boys and girls can compete equally in the same arena.”

Smith found a willing protege in Abdou Badjie. The 15-year old had more curiosity and Smith had set him up with a coach in St. Louis. The lessons were conducted via Skype and gave the young Gambian exposure to computers and a look at the outside world. Again… many of the lessons here are similar to Phiona Mutesi’s. Smith’s two-year tenure in Kappa will wind down in August 2017 and hopefully the tradition will continue.

Link: http://www.mcalesternews.com/

Share

2017 Women's World Chess Championship, Tehran, Iran

A new woman will be declared World Champion as the knockout tournament dwindles down to two competitors. Both Tan Zhongyi and Anna Muzychuk had trod different paths to reach the final Zhongyi survived an intense tiebreak despite being on the brink of defeat in the Armageddon game.

On the other hand, Muzychuk has waltzed through her five competitors winning every match without tiebreaks. Odds would have her as the favorite since she is higher rated and has had more rest. However, Tan has showed tremendous grit and determination without the pressure of high expectations.

Tan has beaten Sabina Foisor (USA) 1½-½, Anna Ushenina (UKR) 4½-4½ (tiebreaks), Padmini Rout (IND) 3½-2½, Ju Wenjun (CHN) 1½-½ and Dronavali Harika (IND) 5-4… formidable competition. Muzychuk defeated Amina Mezioud (ALG) 2-0, Alina Kashlinskaya (RUS) 1½-½, Pham Le Thao (VIE) 2-0, Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL) 1½-½ and Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) 2-0.

There will be four classical games with 40 moves in first 90 minutes and then 30m+30s. In the event of a equal score, the tiebreak will consist of two-game matches two rapid 25m+10s, two blitz 10m+10s, two blitz 5m+3s and one Armageddon will decide the match.

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
FINAL (Tan Zhongyi vs. Anna Muzychuk)
 
Flag
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
pts.
Zhongyi
China
½
1
0
½
½
1
Muzychuk
Ukraine
½
0
1
½
½
0
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/

Share

GM Carlsson conducting simultaneous exhibition at East Park Mall in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo by Yofoso Chess League.

Pontus Carlsson is currently in Zambia as part of the Chess Masters in Africa tour. On February 25th, he posted on his Facebook page,

Yesterday giving a simul against 25 players at the big East Park mall. 21 wins and 4 draws but tough games! Very impressed by 8-year old Candidate Master Kennedy Shane who held the draw. The boy deserves a sponsor! Big Thanks! to East Park Mall, president Mr Nshikokola, chairman Mr Katebe and IM Andrew Kayonde for organising it and to the Paul Allen Foundation & Kasparov Chess Foundation that brought me here!

Carlsson conducting his first sessions in Botswana

According to a press release on the KCFA, Carlsson spent his first week in Gaborone, Botswana conducting training for the selected trainers and also “participated in a number of school visits and exhibition events.” Apparently Zambia, Rwanda and Namibia are on the list as the Swedish national makes his first tour of the continent.

Originally born in Colombia, South America, he has represented Sweden in the Olympiad and in the European Team Championships, but is currently based in the Czech Republic. He is thrilled at the opportunity and a chance to make an impact.

Paul Allen: http://www.pgafamilyfoundation.org/
KCFA: http://www.kcfafrica.com/

Share

The Paul Allen Foundation in collaboration with the Kasparov Chess Foundation for Africa is currently conducting its “Chess Masters for Africa Tour,” with a number of icon players including GMs Maurice Ashley (USA), Pontus Carlsson (Sweden) and Kenny Solomon (South Africa). The tour will cover six countries and last until June.

GM Solomon unloading equipment for the Kenyan session.

Session in progress in Rwanda.

Solomon has been to Kenya, Botswana and recently in Rwanda. Carlsson held training sessions in Botswana and Namibia. More than sixty trainers are expected to complete the training. Maurice Ashley will also participate at the tail end. The countries involved in the training sessions are: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. The session will run from February until June 2017.

Paul Allen: http://www.pgafamilyfoundation.org/
KCFA: http://www.kcfafrica.com/

Share

Chess enthusiasts and supporters,

Throughout the “Black History Month” of February we celebrated the accomplishments of people of African descent, particularly those in the U.S. For 16 years, The Chess Drum has been recording the history of a population segment that is largely unknown or unappreciated in the world of chess. I have written thousands of articles for this website, with a number being featured during Black History Month. There was even a 3-part series in 2015 (#1, #2, #3).

There are several reasons that there remains little international notoriety of chess accomplishments in the Black community. Much of it has to do with the discipline of chess itself and the manner of how information is handled. One of the objectives of The Chess Drum is to demonstrate the universality of chess by highlighting the accomplishments of a segment that has received scant mention in history.

The importance of this effort will prove that chess has broad appeal and shows how inclusive the activity is. It is certainly important to show this attraction. Thus, it becomes apparent that the compilation of diverse segments of chess serves a noble purpose.

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

# # #


Creating Black History in Chess

The documentation of one’s history is one of the singularly most important tasks of a social entity. It places events in a context and presents key points of progress along the timeline. Furthermore, it gives successors a source of inspiration and sets the stage for the accomplishment of future feats. Typically, one who is a student of history has broader, enriched perspective over one who does not have such a historical context.

Marcus Garvey

There are many instances in chess world where the history of African Diaspora isn’t known because of missing data. There are thousands of pools of information. Some are filed away in cabinets, a single folder, or in someone’s storage locker. When surviving relatives sort through the belongings of the deceased, they may not know the value of sheets of paper with a strange notation on them and discard them.

Old photos and magazines are a treasure trove of information, but remain dormant and beautiful stories remain untold. In the past, there had been little effort made to compile data with the idea of making it a comprehensive history. The Chess Drum has attempted to do this in the last 16 years. The point is there are ways in which we can preserve key moments. Following are some of the challenges:

Quality

Firstly, there is a lack of consistency in the quality of information that can be accessed. Apart from a few sources, there is no concerted effort to preserve the history of Black chess through photos, videos, and other documentation. Even the amateur photos can be brought to life to tell a story. Jerry Bibuld did an excellent service to catalog many figures in the Diaspora, and his work resides in the Schaumburg Center in Harlem.

Maurice Ashley and William Morrison. Copyright © 1996, Jerome Bibuld.

Classic photo of Maurice Ashley and William Morrison
Copyright © 1996, Jerome Bibuld

One other problem is that many players fail in preserving their games, annotating their thoughts and publishing them. This became a shock as I spoke with a number of master-level players who have neglected to keep their game scores. I have discovered on occasion that players do not even write down opponent’s names and other details. It severely damages the integrity of the game and its historical importance. Chess players of the African Diaspora have to take more care in preserving game materials and records.

Sharing of information is encouraged, and if possible, in formats that can be readily processed. The days of sending in games in Microsoft Word or plain text files are a thing of the past. It doesn’t mean that people should not submit photos of poor quality or hand-written scans of old games. Sometimes you have to submit what you have, but in today’s time, there are tools that make information quality much better. Everyone has a phone with a camera, and the technology is quite good.

Social Media Abyss

Secondly, the issue of publishing in chess content has exploded, and micro-communities have grown. Well… that’s a good thing Daaim. Certainly. In today’s chess world there are many social media outlets. These tools have decentralized information and have made it easier than ever to share chess literature and content. Correspondents have started using social media as a primary platform. The mindset is if one posts on Facebook to several groups, that is enough and everyone will see it.

The Chess Drum (2001)

Admittedly, if you are relying on visits to your website and blog without the use of social media, content does not have maximum visibility. However, archiving such information becomes exceeding difficult since Facebook information is not accessible via a search engine and requires a “public” setting to view content. This is a fact that many may miss. There is a need for a more consistent pipeline for conveying information to those permanent chess news outlets and platforms seeking to cover news of the Diaspora.

Historical Accuracy

Thirdly, the accuracy of information is an issue. As mentioned earlier there is a problem with completeness of information, but it also becomes harder to ensure its accuracy. While news travels quickly in this information age, so do mistakes and omissions. Social media is replete with misinformation. Also, there are many errors in crediting quotes, attributing opening novelties, and even who took particular photos. There are also instances where game scores are in error.

The final move in the memorable Tate-Yudasin game is recorded as 36.Qh6 in databases and in a Chess Life analysis by IM Jack Peters. According to bystanders and Tate himself, the move was 36.Qg5! The initial Qh6 error has been replicated in databases and takes some of the luster off the effort.

For example, the well-known Tate-Yudasin game has as the last move 36.Qh6 when in actuality the move was 36.Qg5! It is unclear how this happened, but the error lives on. At The Chess Drum, information is obtained from public and private sources, but in some cases, the information provided is sometimes incomplete or riddled with inaccuracies.

The idea of presenting accurate information has to take precedence over any other factor. Also, if readers find an error in a story, they should alert the source so that other media sources do not replicate it. Many times errors are repeated, and they are ultimately taken as fact. Users of content often neglect to credit photographs as items are copied and used without proper citation. It then becomes difficult to know the source in case the user needs to obtain a better copy, or provide the credit.


“If you don’t like the history of your people,
build a glorious history that will
make your people proud when others read it.”


Presentation

Fourthly, there has to be great care on how media presents information. As the consumption of information has become more decentralized, social media has given everyone a platform to post a variety of information. However, there is a sort of careless nature in how information is presented in social media. Games often lack a back story and articles may consist of two or three sentences with a few photos.

Sometimes there are photos posted with no captions or indications of who the subjects are. It appears that these posts are merely for sharing rather than documenting. It is preferable if a context is given. Names, dates, venue, city and other details are needed. Fortunately for the chess community, much of the chess software has the capability to embed diagrams, annotations and other details about the game. These insights are invaluable.


“And as we gazed at Morphy, with his fine, open countenance, brunette hue, marvelous delicacy of fibre, bright, clear eyes, and elongated submaxillary bone, a keen suspicion entered our ethnological department that we were not the only Carthaginian in the room. It might only be one drop, perhaps two, God only knows how they got there but surely, beside the Tria mulattin who at present writes, there was also a Hekata-mulattin in that room!”

James McCune Smith speaking about the legendary Paul Morphy
“CHESS” published in The National Era, September 29, 1859
Volume XIII, Number 665, page 153


Community Support

Last but not least, there is lukewarm support for media sources that have the most vested interest in archiving Black history. The Chess Drum remains as one of the primary sources of chess information for the African Diaspora. Black news media organizations have always struggled for legitimacy and support. It is unfortunate that even some of the personalities covered extensively on this site will provide links to articles they’ve been featured in, but strangely, The Chess Drum isn’t featured at all.

In some instances, the chess player may view one short article from non-chess mass media as more valuable. There can certainly be an argument made that a national publication will attract more general readers than a chess-oriented site. In the mind of the player, it is a great accomplishment to be in the national news because it shows wider acceptance. This is understandable, but it is a rather short-sighted view. One must realize that the New York Times, USA Today, the Guardian is not going to make the article anything more than a news item.

Articles in non-chess media are a necessity to provide valuable chess exposure, but the African Diaspora must chronicle its chess history.

While national media may have a wider general readership, media sites targeting a demographic (i.e., The Chess Drum) have the objective of expressly highlighting accomplishments and at some point make it part of a documented historical archive or literary compilation. If you want to learn about chess players of African descent, do you go to a large media organization that may have handful of articles about the subject or one with tens of thousands of items? They both have their values, but play decidedly different roles.

Some of the most valuable contributions to The Chess Drum have come from people from outside the African Diaspora. This tournament item was sent to me by Jim Kulbacki who lives in Wyoming. It came from a Polish chess magazine from 1967 Polanica-Zdroj tournament and featured Afro-Cuban Rogelio Ortega (center).

So what does this mean? The Black history of chess is developing, and we have to work hard to build it. If you don’t like the history of your people, build a glorious history that will make your people proud when others read it. We have to take more interest in documenting chess activities in the Diaspora. Graham Jurgensen of South Africa has done a creditable job at documenting activities around the continent. It is a valuable resource of data.

In the very near future, The Chess Drum will continue to compile literary content on the history of Black chess. After amassing tens of thousands of pages of chess literature, it is time to make one of the biggest contributions to Black history. It is time to make this history part of a general history of chess, and it is up to our community to do it.

KEEP THE BEAT GOING!!!

Share

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
Match Scores (Semifinals)
Pairings
1 Tan Zhongyi
CHN
5-4
Dronavalli, H
IND
2 Muzychuk, A
UKR
2-0
Kosteniuk, A
RUS
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

Tan Zhongyi
Photo by David Llada

The first game of the semifinal matches began with a bang. Two Asian competitors faced off and in the other match were players from two European chess powers. Dronavali Harika and Tan Zhongyi (with surnames first) started off calmly, but it appeared the Indian played too cautiously with her Nimzo-Indian. Essaying a solid setup, the Indian player played 14…Ng4!? The move looks like a one move cheap shot as it threatened 15…Bxf3 and 16…Qxh2 mate, but the idea was to force white to commit to playing h3 and weaken the kingside a bit.

Dronavali seemed to wander with 20….Qa6 and the queen and Tan grabbed more space. While white had a weak pawn structure, black had a flexible formation and few worried, but after 23.Qg4, white’s intentions were clear. They repeated moves twice, but the Chinese continued to forge ahead with the ambitious 26.Re4. Even though this move is apparently dubious, it has psychological value. Engines don’t like it, but they have no emotions. It is certainly a menacing move.

Tan Zhonyi vs. Dronavali Harika, 1-0

Tan Zhonyi on the attack with 35.Qf3 against Dronavali Harika
Photo by David Llada

Tan ended the game smartly with the picturesque 44.Rxh6!

The black queen kept flailing away on the queenside, not fully appreciating the pending trouble. Before Dronavali realized her peril, she had to scurry the queen with 33…Qh7, literally guarding the king. It wasn’t enough. Tan played 34.Rf4, and at this point, the Indian knew she was in grave danger. She tried to solve her problems tactically, with 36…Nd7, hoping for 37.Rxf7 Qb1+! 38.Kh2 Nxe5 when 39.Rf8+ Kh7!-+ However, the Chinese player maintained the pressure. Finally, the black queen became entombed the white rooks, and the finishing blow came with 44.Rxh6! Dronavali resigned and must win to continue her historic quest.

Tan-Dronavali (Annotations by WGM Swati Ghate)

Anna Muzychuk

Anna Muzychuk is the reigning women’s blitz and rapid champion and is trying to win the classical. She would repeat the feat of Magnus Carlsen who held three such titles at once. The Ukrainian did not get off to a good start, and it appeared she would have problems holding the position. Alexandra Kosteniuk got a favorable position out of the opening but no decisive advantage. Both players made some inaccuracies as time pressure loomed, but Kosteniuk missed a few knockout blows such as 32.Bxg7, 33.Bc5 and 34.Be3!

Nevertheless white had a pawn edge (after 41.Nxe6!) to go along with a queenside majority. Inexplicably, Kosteniuk continued to make mistakes. On 56.Ne5?? Muzychuk found 56…Ng5! and now the tide turned. With the devastating Rxe5 threat, white had to cede a pawn. After 57.Rb3 Nxh3+ 58.Kh2 Nxf2! black is up a pawn. Muzychuk pocketed another pawn after Kosteniuk played 60.Qb2? She probably was still in shock at the turn of events. The game ended swiftly after 64…Rf1 as white would suffer massive losses after 65.Kh1 Qe6! Kosteniuk will have to rebound to keep Russia’s hope alive for a championship.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 5, Game 1)

Today’s games were must-win situations for both Dronavali and Kosteniuk. There were two Siclians today as Dronavali-Tan was a Rossolimi and Muzychuk-Kosteniuk was Sicilian Taimanov. Incidentally, Dronavali turned the position in a type of Ruy Lopez structure, but Tan overextended on the queenside and dropped a pawn. Tan sacrificed a pawn for counterplay, but Dronavali returned the pawn.

Fatigue must be setting in because Tan dropped another pawn after 40.Nxa5 and white was now clearly winning. Suddenly the Indian player launched at attack after 50.h5 gxh5 51.Qc1 (or 51.Qc7!), but the game got a bit murky. Dronavali missed mate after 56…f5?? For example, 56.Qe7+! Kxc8 57.Bd3! White still carried the advantage but needed the services of her passed pawn.

The queens came off, and black had to sacrifice her pieces to stop the white pawns setting the stage for another bishop and knight mate. It may be the first time in awhile that we’ve seen two in one tournament. Dronavali showed some poor technique in executing the maneuver and allowed the king to escape a few times before getting the right formation and delivering the mate. As in Stefanova-Buska, the mate was not allowed.

Anna Muzychuk vs. Alexandra Kosteniuk, 1-0

Anna Muzychuk and Alexandra Kosteniuk prepare to play with an inspiring background. Photo by David Llada

In the Muzychuk-Kosteniuk game, the Russia misplayed the opening and there followed a Maroczy Bind set. Kosteniuk played the speculative 6…Bc5 instead of 6…Bb4 and never got close to equalizing after 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng8. With only a draw needed, white swapped queens and there was no hope to win for black. In fact, white was better with an advantage in space and the two bishops. It was simply a smooth win for Muzychuk as she closed the match and will try to win the “Triple Crown” in the finals.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 5, Game 2)

The tiebreaks between Dronavali and Tan were epic. There were three occasions where a win was needed to stave off elimination and it and was delivered. The first game was a complete disaster and Tan simply had not focused and was demolished in 17 moves. The simply 12.Qh4! wins a pawn as black’s knights are in awkward positions. The ensuing attack looked like something out of a blitz game in a coffee house.

In the second rapid game, Dronavali appeared to be heading toward a draw and thus, advancing to the finals. The game evolved into a knight ending with have to be treated with care. Some opine that they are more like pawn ending in that tempos are extremely crucial. There were a number of missed opportunities as the Indian was trying to avoid getting into zugzwang. However, there were a comedy of errors made between moves 40-50 with 49…Kb5?? being ultimate. After that, white picked off pawns and use her a- and h-pawns with great effect. Unfortunately, minor pieces can’t effectively defend both sides of the board and Tan had leveled the score.

In the ten-minute games, the game was mostly equal until Dronavali got her pieces tangled up when trying to shield her exposed king. White’s 54.Qe3 required 54…Re7 when Ng6 would cover everything. However, 54…Qf5?? was played and 55.Nd3 wins a piece. Fatigue was certainly becoming a factor. Tan finished the game with a cute mating sequence. So Dronavali had to win again.

In the Lowental variation, the Indian was not playing the most testing lines and Tan got comfortable equality. Dronavali sacrificed her queen for a rook and bishop believing she could gang up on black’s weakened pawns. It appeared that the active queen was more than capable of disrupting the coordination of the pieces. Nevertheless, the position was dynamically equal until Tan began wandering her queen around the board flailing at secured targets.

After 61…Qe5+ Dronavali got her break! On 66.e5! Qg6?? the tide had turned. White basically shouldered the queen away and started advancing both the b- and e-pawns. The checking queen chased the white king to no avail and Dronavali had equalized again!! Amazing comeback!

Comparatively speaking, the two 5-minutes games were uneventful and they were drawn. It is uncertain why Dronavali kept trying the Lowenthal when she was not getting an advantage. The Armageddon game would the last of a tense and thrilling match. Both players were completely exhausted as the level of play was deteriorating. In the coin toss, Tan got the choice and chose black and four minutes. This mean white had to win the game. Since Dronavali had not shown anything with white, it was a prudent choice.

Either 57.Qf5+! or 59.Qf5+! would have sealed the win since white will force a trade of queens after a check on the dark square and then Qh4.

This time the game started 1.Nf3 and went into a type of King’s Indian Attack. Tan actually dropped a pawn with 31…Nhf6 32.Nfxe5. The problem was that white had to win. Tan made a few mistakes in assessing the situation and thought that the queen ending would easily be drawn. She actually blundered with 54…Qh3 when 55.exf6+ Kxf6 56.Qe5+ wins.

After black’s 56…Kf7, Dronavali panicked and played 57.Qe1?? Black even repeated the losing position meaning she was encouraging white to find the winning plan. She didn’t find 57. Qf5+! or 59.Qf5+! which leads to a trade of queens on the h4-square. Play was fast and furious with white trying to break through. She had another chance, but was running dangerously low on time.

On 66.Qd6+, black repeated moves twice so on 68…Kf7, white should play 69.Qe6+ and forcing a trade of queens on the h4-square as in the previous line. After 20 more moves both had taken pawns and tried to race passed pawns to the queening square. However, both queens on an open board were defending and attacking, neutralizing. Dronvali queened. Tan queened. In the final position, it would have been drawn, but the Indian GM had lost on time.

Dronavali was distraught after the match feeling that she had let her country down. Not at all. She played every match until tiebreak and deliever a bishop and knight mate in 162-move game and staved off elimination a number of times. Her performance was truly courageous. Viswanthan Anand had also tweeted words of support.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 5, Tiebreaks)

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/

Share

Justus Williams, Webster University
Photo by Paul Truong (SPICE)

FIDE Master Justus Williams has had an interesting ride in his chess career. Coming from Bronx, New York, he became a National Master at 12, starred in “Brooklyn Castle” in 2013, won the Junior Open back later in the same year along with many state titles. Apart from his scholastic success (including championships in K6, K8, K12, Cadet), he is now completing his freshman year as an International Relations/Economics major at Webster University.

Chess Life (July 2012)

Last weekend earned his third and final International Master (IM) norm after tying for first place with FM Joel Banawa at the St. Louis Winter IM Invitational. Both scored 6.5/9 and Banawa earned a norm as well. A graduate of the Bronx School of Science and Technology, he earned his 1st norm at North American Youth Chess Championship, his second norm at the North American Youth Chess Championship, and is only required to get his FIDE rating over 2400 to have the title conferred.

Justus has long had the idea of becoming a Grandmaster, and his goal is within reach at Webster University. He won a scholarship to attend the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), but chose Webster as a place to pursue his dream. He has appeared on TMZ and car commercials, but now has his eye on a lofty goal of becoming a Grandmaster. Webster’s SPICE organization has been a force in shaping his play and Susan Polgar told The Chess Drum that Justus has been proactive in improving his play and the results have paid off. They certainly have.

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 at the 2016 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Justus’ last norm received lots of congratulatory remarks and certainly a bit of celebration by his grandmother Pamela “Nana” Ballard and his mother Latisha Ballard-Williams. While St. Louis may be called the “capital city” of chess in America, New York can certainly put up a strong argument on the talent it has produced. Justus has made his presence felt in St. Louis and hopefully the Grandmaster title remains in his sights.

Congratulations Justus!

Official Website: http://www.uschesschamps.com/
Coverage: https://chess24.com/
Results (USCF): http://www.uschess.org/

2017 St. Louis Winter IM Invitational
USA USA USA
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Final Standings (Overall)
Rank Name Fed. Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
1 FM Banawa, Joel USA 2370 x 1  ½  ½  0  1  ½  1  1  1  6.5
2 FM Williams, Justus D USA 2333 0  x 1  ½  1  ½  1  1  1  ½  6.5
3 FM Gauri, Shankar IND 2306 ½  0  x ½  1  1  ½  ½  ½  ½  5.0
4 FM Colas, Joshua USA 2317 ½  ½  ½  x 1  0  ½  1  ½  0  4.5
5 Grabinsky, Aaron USA 2372 1  0  0  0  x 0  1  0  1  1  4.0
6 IM Neimer, Vitaly ISR 2356 0  ½  0  1  1  x ½  0  ½  ½  4.0
7 IM Young, Angelo PHI 2295 ½  0  ½  ½  0  ½  x ½  ½  1  4.0
8 IM Brooks, Michael A USA 2384 0  0  ½  0  1  1  ½  x 0  ½  3.5
9 FM Hua, Lefong CAN 2333 0  0  ½  ½  0  ½  ½  1  x ½  3.5
10 FM Eckert, Doug D. USA 2135 0  ½  ½  1  0  ½  0  ½  ½  x 3.5
View Games at chess24.com!

Share

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
Match Scores (Round #4)
Pairings
1 Ju Wenjun
CHN
½-1½
Tan Zhongyi
CHN
2 Dronavalli, H
IND
2½-1½
Dzagnidze, N
GEO
3 Muzychuk, A
UKR
1½-½
Stefanova, A
BUL
4 Kosteniuk, A
RUS
1½-½
Ni Shiqun
CHN
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

A nation of over a billion people are cheering after Dronavali Harika advanced to the semifinal round of the Women’s World Championships in Tehran, Iran. After defeating Nana Dzagnidze in the tiebreaker, she is on a history-making quest to become the first India woman in history to win the title. The other three countries represented in the final four have all had champions, including Alexandra Kosteniuk who was world champion in 2008.

Mariya and sister Anna after advancing to the final.

Will Anna claim the glory like younger sister Mariya?

Anna Muzychuk is trying to make history by being the first sister duo to hold world championships in chess. Her younger sibling Mariya Muzychuk won the last knockout tournament two years ago. Tan Zhongyi attempts to add to the Chinese dominance and become the fifth Chinese player to hold the title. Hou Yifan will abdicate her crown.

In round four, perhaps stamina becomes a factor. Former champion Antoaneta Stefanova lost focus an erred with after 34.d6! Qe6?! (34…Kh8) 35.dxc7 Nd5? Approaching the 40th move, Muzychuk sealed the result with 36.Qb5 when black’s position collapses. In Dronavali-Dzagnidze, the Indian positionally outplayed the Georgian and scored a smooth win.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 4, Game 1)

In the second game, Dzagnidze came roaring back to equalize the match in an English. Dronavali’s pieces got tangled and she ceded a pawn in the middlegame. She was confident she could hold the draw in the rook ending, but even with her active rook, she couldn’t manage. She was slowly pushed back and Dzagnidze converted the point to level the match 1-1.

The biggest upset of the round was Ju Wenjun falling to Tan Zhongyi. In fact, it was revealed in the post-game press conference that Tan has had quite a bit of success against Ju and won another tiebreak match against her in a Chinese tournament. The top seed allowed black good play and there was a buzz in the air after 16…Bc2!

Bad news for Ju. The move 16.g4 was definitely a risk that came to hurt her later. After 19…Bd6! the white queen was overloaded and she had to donate material. In a weird ending white had two knights and a bishop versus two rooks, but the active rooks demolished the clumsy minor pieces. Ju blundered in time pressure with 37.Ke3?? and 37…Rxe2 wins trivially.

Alexandra Kosteniuk is attempting to reclaim the crown and made a statement that she had already done better than expected. She was facing a 19-year old upstart who had already beaten two of her Russia compatriots in Valentina Gunina and 2015 finalist Natalija Pogonina. This game would be one of the close study and the ending was definitely better for white with her two bishops and extra pawn.

Kosteniuk probed and probed until she found the right plan and set up a cute finale with a deflection mate in two. Out of the ten Russians who made it to Tehran, there was still one standing… and she is perhaps the best candidate given her experience.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 4, Game 2)

There would only be one tiebreak with Dronavali and Dzagnidze. In the first tiebreak game, Dronavali opted for 1.e4 and faced a Kan Sicilian. The game got tactical, but when the queens were traded, white had a slight advantage with the two bishops and space. What more could you want? As the bishops zipped around the board, black’s pieces could not gain any mobility and was slowly squeezed.

Black managed to simplify into a rook ending, but white’s rook on the 7th and aggressive king was compensation for the pawn. Dronavali showed a bit of technique and ended the game with the smart 47.Rxa3! when white pawn will go through. Dzagnidze resigned a few moves later. In the second tiebreak game, Dzagnidze ran out of gas and was also outplayed, but the Indian offered a draw in a winning position.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 4, Tiebreaks)

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/

Share

FMs Josh Colas and Justus Williams are competing in the IM St. Louis Winter Invitational taking place at Chess Club and Scholastic Center in St. Louis. Both are looking to earn their last norms to complete the requirement of three. Both would then have to eclipse the 2400 FIDE barrier. Both are currently finishing their first years at Webster University. There is also a parallel GM Invitational.

Josh Colas and Justus Williams have come a long way
from their time in New York parks.
Photo by Elizabeth Vicary.

Format

Two 10 player round-robins
Game in 90 minutes with a 30-second increment

Schedule (EST Time)

Round 1: Thursday, 16-Feb, 5:00 pm
Round 2: Friday 17-Feb 11:00 am
Round 3: Friday 17-Feb 5:00 pm
Round 4: Saturday 18-Feb 11:00 am
Round 5: Saturday 18-Feb 5:00 pm
Round 6: Sunday 19-Feb 11:00 am
Round 7: Sunday 19-Feb 5:00 pm
Round 8: Monday 20-Feb 11:00 am
Round 9: Tuesday 21-Feb 11:00 am

Live Coverage: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/st-louis-winter-2017-IM#live
CCSCSL: https://saintlouischessclub.org/

Share

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
Match Scores (Round #3)
Pairings
1 Ju Wenjun
CHN
3½-2½
Girya, O
RUS
2 Padmini, Rout
IND
2½-3½
Tan Zhongyi
CHN
3 Harika, Dronavalli
IND
3½-2½
Guramishvili, S
GEO
4 Dzagnidze, Nana
GEO
1½-½
Shen Yang
CHN
5 Muzychuk, A
UKR
2-0
Pham, Le Thao
VIE
6 Stefanova, A
BUL
1½-½
Khurtsidze, Nino
GEO
7 Kosteniuk, A
RUS
4-2
Cramling, P
SWE
8 Ni Shiqun
CHN
1½-½
Pogonina, N
RUS
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

The cream is starting to rise to the top as the round of “Sweet Sixteen” featured marquee matchups. There were the young hopefuls hoping for another upset and veterans hoping to keep them at bay. Former champions Alexandra Kosteniuk and Antoaneta Stefanova will try to reclaim the title while several elite Europeans and a contingent of seven Asians vie for the crown.

In the first game, there were victories by Anna Muzychuk and Nana Dzagnidze, but the win by Stefanova ended in a bishop and knight mate.

Nino Khurtsidze played on, but it was apparent that Stefanova had the technique and got the formation to execute the “W” technique.

The idea is to get the same formation on the h-, f-, d- and b-files. You lose a tempo, deliver a check with the knight and then checkmate with the bishop on a1. Interestingly enough, Khurtsidze resigned instead of allowing the checkmate. The question being, why test your opponent’s technique until two moves before mate then deny her the chance to present it?

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 3, Game 1)

Most of the favorites were winners of the matches, but Natalija Pogonina was sent home by 19-year old Ni Shiqun of China. Ni, who admires Boris Gelfand, won the second with a powerful performance. She stated that she never had an idea that she would be close to a championship title, but faces former champion Alexandra Kosteniuk who beat the legendary Pia Cramling. There would be four tiebreaks to decide the quarterfinalists. Dronavali Harika, who is one of the favorites to win the crown, would have to go to tiebreaks to keep her dream alive.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 3, Game 2)

Padmini Rout

India’s Padmini Rout

The tiebreaks were very tense with Ju Wenjun and Olga Girya trading wins in the rapids and the Chinese player winning in the last 10+10 game. Tan Zhongyi who had lost the first rapid game against Padmini Rout and had to bounce back quickly in the second and promptly equalized. Rout played a horrible opening in the second 25+10 game and was crushed. In the first 10+10 game, Rout sacrificed an exchange, but did not get enough compensation and was behind a game. In the second 10+10, Tan played the Pirc Defense and equalized easily to become the third Chinese player to advance.

Alexandra Kosteniuk who won a thrilling encounter over Pia Cramling when the Sweden blundered in time pressure of the first 10+10 game. In fact, Cramling was an exchange for a pawn with clear winning chances when disaster struck. Cramling was trying to get the queens off the board, but lost her sense of danger in time pressure after 47.Qd2?? Kosteniuk belted out 47…Qf1+ 48.Kh2 Be5+ winning back the exchange. White’s exposed king was defenseless as black gobbled up two more pawns and developed a deadly battery on the diagonal. Cramling resigned. Heart-breaking loss for the Swede, who always charms chess fans for her humility and graciousness.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 3, Tiebreaks)

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/

Share

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
Match Scores (Round #2)
Bracket 1
1 Ju Wenjun
CHN
1½-½
Zhu Chen
QAT
2 Bodnaruk, A
RUS
0-2
Girya, O
RUS
Bracket 2
3 Zhao Xue
CHN
1½-2½
Padmini, Rout
IND
4 Tan Zhongyi
CHN
4½-4½
Ushenina, A
UKR
Bracket 3
5 Harika, Dronavalli
IND
2½-1½
Saduakassova, D
KAZ
6 Buksa, N
UKR
3½-4½
Guramishvili, S
GEO
Bracket 4
7 Dzagnidze, Nana
GEO
2-0
Zimina, Olga
ITA
8 Shen Yang
CHN
1½-½
Savina, Anastasia
RUS
Bracket 5
9 Muzychuk, A
UKR
1½-½
Kashlinskaya, A
RUS
10 Goryachkina, A
RUS
½-1½
Pham, Le Thao
VIE
Bracket 6
11 Stefanova, A
BUL
2½-1½
Melia, S
GEO
12 Batsiashvili, Nino
GEO
4-5
Khurtsidze, Nino
GEO
Bracket 7
13 Kosteniuk, A
RUS
2½-1½
Gaponenko, I
UKR
14 Paehtz, E
GER
1-3
Cramling, P
SWE
Bracket 8
15 Gunina, V
RUS
0-2
Ni Shiqun
CHN
16 Pogonina, N
RUS
3½-2½
Huang Qian
CHN
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

Ju Wenjun will lead the Chinese in the next round. Photo by David Llada.

Round two of the Women’s World Championship was filled with twists and turns. There were seven tiebreak games with two going into Armageddon. Tan Zhongyi showed resilience by staving off three different elimination games to force a final sudden death game. The last game Tan had black with time-odds deficit and was able to hold. It was a good day for the Chinese as they maintained four candidates, the highest number of any federation.

It was a disastrous day for Russian players. Russia started with 10 and are down to two. One of the biggest casualties came at the hands of Ni Shiqun, an unheralded player from China who was more than a hundred points lower than her highly-fancied opponent, Valentina Gunina. Russia lost five matches, but national team members Olga Girya, Alexandra Kosteniuk and Natalija Pogonina went through. Gunina was brutally crushed by Chinese upstart Ni Shiqun.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 2, Game 1)

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 2, Game 2)

Georgia started with a eight players and have two remaining. Two of their survivors won thrilling matches with two Georgians with the names “Nino” battled until the Armegeddon game. This match was an even affair, but it was Nino Batsiashvili who had better chances throughout. In the Armegeddon game, she was completely winning and somehow allow Nino Khurtsidze to turn the tables.

Georgian Sopiko Guramashvili certain won the award for best photo in the round and her chess-themed hijab seemed to yield results. Photo by David LLada.

After 125…Rg2+ Buksa played 126.Kxe3 when 126.Ke1 would have secured the draw and the match. Heart-breaking.

In a brutal fight against Natalija Buksa, she was down a point and needed a win to stay alive. Despite outplaying Buksa she ended up a piece up in a R+N vs. R ending. It seemed that Buksa was easily hold the draw and move on, but a bit of fate occurred during the time scramble. In the diagrammed position, instead of 126.Ke1= (126…Rxa2 stalemate) Buksa blundered with 126.Kxe3?? and 126…Rxa2 ended the game. The chess community was aghast at the turn of events, but Guramashvili simply signed the sheets and walked off as if it were an expected result.

In the last 5’+3″ game, Buksa fell behind in the opening, lost the tactical thread on the position and dropped an exchange. With her wrecked pawn structure and passive knight, she was unable to hold and Guramashvili would advance.

Games from WWCC2017 (Round 2, Tiebreaks)

Two Indian players will advance. Dronavali Harika and Padmini Rout have been seen enjoying the experience. Harika has a strong support system and has brought her grandmother along! Photo by David Llada.

So the tournament goes down to the last 16 players. Apart from the Indian duo, four Chinese, three Russians, three Georgians remain. In addition, there is one player from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Vietnam and Sweden.

Press Conference with Pia Cramling

Interview with Pia Cramling.

Pia Cramling may be the story as the congenial 53-year old has been at the top longer than some of the players have been alive. Always very gracious and humble, she looks forward to her epic match with Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/

Share

2017 Women’s World Chess Championship
February 10th-March 4th, 2017 (Tehran, Iran)
Match Scores (Round #1)
Bracket 1
1 Ju Wenjun
CHN
2-0
Lane, N
AUS
2 Zhu Chen
QAT
1½-½
Sukandar, I
BLR
3 Hejazipour, M
IRI
4-5
Bodnaruk, A
RUS
4 Girya, O
RUS
*-*
Foisor, C
UKR
Bracket 2
5 Martinez, A
ARG
1-3
Zhao Xue
CHN
6 Danielian, Elina
ARM
½-1½
Padmini, Rout
IND
7 Tan Zhongyi
CHN
1½-½
Foisor, S
USA
8 Ziaziulkina, N
BLR
½-1½
Ushenina, A
UKR
Bracket 3
9 Shamima, Akter Liza
BAN
1½-2½
Harika, Dronavalli
IND
10 Saduakassova, D
KAZ
1½-½
Nechaeva, M
RUS
11 Hoang, T
HUN
1½-2½
Buksa, N
UKR
12 Guramishvili, S
GEO
2½-1½
Khademalsharieh, S
IRI
Bracket 4
13 Dzagnidze, Nana
GEO
4-2
Khaled, M
EGY
14 Zimina, Olga
ITA
1-3
Khotenashvili, Bela
GEO
15 Arribas Robaina, M
CUB
1-2
Shen Yang
CHN
16 Socko, Monika
POL
2½-1½
Savina, Anastasia
RUS
Bracket 5
17 Mezioud, A
ALG
0-2
Muzychuk, A
UKR
18 Cori, D
PER
½-1½
Kashlinskaya, A
RUS
19 Goryachkina, A
RUS
1½-½
Zhai Mo
CHN
20 Pham, Le Thao
VIE
1½-½
Javakhishvili, L
GEO
Bracket 6
21 Stefanova, A
BUL
2-0
Marrero Lopez, Y
CUB
22 Melia, S
GEO
2½-1½
Atalik, E
TUR
23 Gvetadze, S
GEO
0-2
Batsiashvili, Nino
GEO
24 Zhukova, N
UKR
½-1½
Khurtsidze, Nino
GEO
Bracket 7
25 Kosteniuk, A
RUS
2-0
Latreche, S
ALG
26 Gaponenko, I
UKR
1½-½
Kovalevskaya, E
RUS
27 Pourkashiyan, A
IRI
½-1½
Paehtz, E
GER
28 Cramling, P
SWE
1½-½
Nemcova, K
USA
Bracket 8
29 Ni, V
USA
0-2
Gunina, V
RUS
30 Mkrtchian, L
ARM
½-1½
Ni Shiqun
CHN
31 Pogonina, N
RUS
1½-½
Zhou Qiyu
CAN
32 Charochkina, D
RUS
1-3
Huang Qian
CHN
Drum Coverage
| Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 |
| Semifinals | Finals |

The opening round kicked off in Tehran, Iran leaving behind a cloud of controversy. As the clouds passed, the opening ceremony officially kicked off the championship and pairings released. Russia brought ten players, while Georgia had eight and China had seven. During the Opening Ceremony, there was a moment of silence for Cristina-Adela Foisor who had passed away prior to the tournament’s start. Her daughter Sabina-Franseca Foisor received gifts and condolences from the attendees. It was a touching moment.

WGM Sabina Foisor receives tributes, the statue of a knight (horse) and flowers, from Iran’s Minister of sport and youth affair, Masoud Soltanifar, and president of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Photo by Reza Mahdipour

Sabina-Franseca Foisor receives condolences from the Iran’s Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Masoud Soltanifar, and President of FIDE Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Photo by Reza Mahdipour.

With the opening of the tournament, there were some complaints about the air conditioning which prompted an inquiry from the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP), but they were soon rectified.

There were a couple of upsets including Elina Danielian (Armenia), Natalia Zhukova (Ukraine) and Lilit Mkrtchian (Armenia). Mona Khaled of Egypt scored an upset victory over Nana Dzagnidze putting the Georgian player at the brink of elimination.

It was the first victory for an African player in the women’s championship. However, she could not clinch the match as Dzagnidze came storming back with a win. The Egyptian player then won the first rapid tiebreak game, putting her a draw away from advancing. Again… she could not clinch the match. She ultimately lost in the 10’+10″ tiebreaks.

Mona Khaled of Egypt

Mona Khaled of Egypt had her chances.
Photo by Reza Mahdipour

Sopiko Guramishvili plays Saradasat Khadmalsharieh in the tiebreak. The Georgian prevailed. Photo by Reza Mahdipour

Sopiko Guramishvili plays Saradasat Khadmalsharieh in the tiebreak. The Georgian prevailed. Photo by Reza Mahdipour

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html
All PGN Games (TWIC): http://www.theweekinchess.com/

Share

The Chess Drum, http://www.thechessdrum.net/

Dear friends and supporters,

During this Black History Month in the U.S., there are usually many stories about the history of people who have made tremendous contributions to the evolution of history in the country. Many of these figures would be unknown and obscure to most, but may also include figures that extend across the African Diaspora.

Carter G. Woodson founded “Negro History Week” to highlight the accomplishments of these figures and it later became “Black History Month.” There have been some who scoff at the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, but certainly we are to celebrate this history throughout the year.

Since February 12, 2001, it has been my mission to highlight the accomplishment of Black chess players around the world and provide a forum to show the universality of chess. The beauty is that chess has touched every corner of the earth and practically every demographic segment. Some stories would not usually see the light of day. There are also those human interest stories that are so much more compelling than who won a particular tournament in a certain year. “Queen of Katwe” was one such story that was covered at The Chess Drum extensively. This beautiful story showed a value in chess apart from its competitive nature. It demonstrated triumph over tragedy.

The Chess Drum has also covered many important events in its sixteen years. The first event was the Wilbert Paige Memorial in Harlem, New York, but the site has provided coverage to several Olympiads, national championships, and elite tournaments. In October, we were beating the Drum from Atlantic City to cover the Millionaire Chess Open and in November, we carried live coverage of the World Chess Championship in New York. In a couple of weeks, “Triple Exclam” will be released to the public and highlight the life and games of IM Emory Tate. While Tate was known for his tactical wins, his story will evoke discussion about this multifaceted figure.

To date, The Chess Drum is posted dozens of interviews, thousands of news articles, and tens of thousands of photos. Where does the site go from here? In coming months, the site will focus on a number of book projects and less on news coverage. There will still be the pursuit of human interest stories to highlight rare stories and unheralded heroes with some emphasis on video productions.

Thanks for your support and keep the beat going!!

null

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum


Share

2017 Women's World Chess Championship, Tehran, Iran

The Women’s World Championship is underway in Tehran, Iran with 63 women vying for the world title. Apart from the pre-tournament controversy, the event would begin on a somber note after the unfortunate passing of Romanian Cristina Adela Foisor. She passed away just over two weeks ago on January 22nd at age 49. The organizers could not fill the position, so her opponent Olga Girya will automatically advance.

Despite the absence of the world champion Hou Yifan and perennial top-tier Indian player Humpy Koneru, the event will be hotly-contested. Some of the players scored well in the Gibraltar Masters and will be coming will high expectations. Anna Muzychuk, the winner of World Rapid and Blitz, will be one of the front-runners as will China’s Ju Wenjun, the tournament’s top seed.

There will be several former world champions in the field including Alexandra Kosteniuk, Zhu Chen and Anna Ushenina. Unfortunately, the last knockout winner Mariya Muzychuk declined her invitation. There will be three Iranians playing host, but looking to make and impact in front of the supportive country of nearly 78 million. Mitra Hejazipour will be joined by FIDE selections Atousa Pourkashiyan and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, Iran’s rising star.

Ju Wenjun in Women's Grand Prix, Tehran, 2016. Photo courtesy of chessdom.com

Ju Wenjun, shown here at 2016 Women’s Grand Prix in Tehran, will be top seed. While the tournament lists her at 2583, her live rating is currently over 2600. Photo courtesy of chessdom.com

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html

Share

On February 10th, the Iranian capital of Tehran will begin hosting the 2017 Women’s World Chess Championships months after the “hijabgate” firestorm led by current U.S. women’s champion Nazi Paikidze. Given the heightened political U.S.-Iran tensions after the election of Donald J. Trump, it is unlikely that the two boycotting Americans would have felt comfortable, but the issue surrounding the mandatory head covering played into the adversarial narrative.

Paikidze, the current U.S. champion, decided to take a stance by boycotting the event stating that the mandatory hijab is an unreasonable demand. Her story got extensive media coverage (mostly in her favor), and she received support from a few chess celebrities. While some took a measured approach to criticism, other arguments were rather specious and uninformed about Islamic tenets and its diverse cultural practices. Still others, including Paikidze, equated the head coverings with “symbols of oppression.” While there were legitimate concerns, some in social media circles used the opportunity to justify their hatred of Islam and its adherents.

The hijab is a modest covering worn by many Muslim women. Apart from basic styles shown here, head coverings have become a bit more fashion forward, colorful and varied in their expressions. Photos from herbeauty.co

There was another issue broached concerning Iran’s right to host the tournament. In what quickly became a political fight, British chess legend Nigel Short contended that FIDE (World Chess Federation) awarded the event to a country that violates the bylaws of the body. Short, a former coach in Iran, cited in his argument FIDE statute 1.2 that “rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of gender.”

Many (in retrospect) opposed the bid due to what they perceive as a violation of human rights. Some have countered that the U.S. and other western European nations lack moral high ground and have their own history of human rights violations against many different groups of people… including against Muslims. The event has unfortunately become a political football with U.S. vs. Iran, U.S. vs. FIDE, and other anti-FIDE battles.


Why did 159 FIDE members vote
in favor of the bid (with no objections)?


The Islamic nation earned the right to host the event given a vote at the 2016 Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the federations successfully passed by a 159-0 vote at the FIDE General Assembly (GA-2016/31). It is widely-known that Iran has hosted international events in which a head covering was required by the organizers. Instead of the hijab, a headscarf was also permissible. It is what some of the players decided to wear. If there were complaints or concerns about the requirement, dissenters did not voice them on the floor of the General Assembly. Thus, the voting nations need to take the brunt of the responsibility for the decision.

Iran at 2012 Asian Team in Zaozhuang, Shandong, China.

Iran at 2012 Asian Team in Zaozhuang, Shandong, China.
Photo by Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh.

Of course, most travelers know that every society has laws that bind its citizenry and all who have permission to visit the country. Some are cultural, while some may be religious. Iran is a very complex Persian society with cultural and religious prescriptions for men and women (see Iran Chamber Society). The issue here seems to be that the mandatory head covering only pertains to women, which includes foreign visitors.

Many Muslims see the hijab as a symbol of modesty, and it is one of a multitude of styles for the head/body coverings. It is interesting that practically every major religion has had head coverings or adornments for women in their respective histories. In most cases, it is encouraged, but no longer compulsory except in some places of worship. What is shameful is how Muslim coverings have been targeted by Western media, often without the proper context or understanding.

Several of the women players have weighed in on the issue, and three decided to boycott the event. Susan Polgar released statements in her capacity as Chair of the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess (WOM). When told women had previously complained of having to wear a head covering, Polgar told CNN,

This is news to me as not a single player spoke up or addressed it with WOM to date. The only thing that I heard was the event was well organized. So if these players would have informed WOM or FIDE about their problems or concerns at that time, the Women’s World Championship may have been awarded to a different organizer. … As you can imagine, it is a very difficult task to please everyone as players have different cultures, religious beliefs, political views, and at times personal interests. I can safely say that it is unlikely that 100% of the participants will completely agree with any particular issue. … Because of this delicate situation, we have to respect EVERYONE and handle things professionally and diplomatically in a proper setting.

In a public statement and a series of tweets, Polgar urged the “respect of local customs and regulations.” Such behavior is expected in any country requiring such a cultural prescription. For example, if you are in a Muslim country during the month Ramadan, you are encouraged to abstain from eating in public during the daytime fast, even if you are not a Muslim. In most of India, it is unlawful to slaughter a cow and eat its flesh, even if you are not Hindu. In Singapore, chewing gum, spitting, jaywalking and even drinking on public transportation is prohibited and subject to fines. Of course, other cultural rules (i.e., removing shoes before entering a home, or not exposing the sole of one’s shoe) are merely social taboos that can lead to awkward situations or derision, but not arrest. In suggesting that one adhere to Iran’s local customs, the chess community attacked Polgar ruthlessly.

However, Paikidze’s claim is not merely due to the hijab requirement. After she had gathered more information on Iranian society, she cited human rights issues that concerned her. Her protest received widespread support, but with reservations by some Iranian activists. In fact, British-based, Iranian activist Ghoncheh Ghavami stated that “hijabgate” reinforced the oft-heard narrative that Muslim women are timid, weak and not progressive. While respecting Paikidze’s right to protest, Ghavami felt the boycott would be used for political opportunism by Iran’s enemies.

Obviously, I recognise Pakidize’s right – and that of every other human being – to choose how to dress and I applaud her insistence on her rights as a woman. But I believe that her choice to boycott the games is misguided. A reductionist approach to the mandatory hijab has, in the past, functioned as a pretext to reinforce a rift between Iran and the west, as well as insinuating that Iranian women are passive beings who simply lack the will to improve their situation.

While Iran has many detractors in the West, the negative portrayals
about its people could not be more wrong.
Photo by Charles Glass

Women’s equality is a global issue and America is a country where President Trump has received harsh criticism for his “fat-shaming,” sexually suggestive, and crude comments about women. Millions of women around the world assembled for the “Women’s March on Washington” a day after Trump’s inauguration to protest what many saw was his tendency to engage in sexist hyperbole.

In the end, Paikidze found other reasons to nix the trip. She also opined that it is not safe for women around the world to play in Iran and posted the U.S. Department of State long-standing travel warnings for Americans. Perhaps one reason cascaded into others, and certainly, she is within her right to abstain if unable or unwilling to follow the law.

Current women’s world champion Hou Yifan has decided to exit from the women’s cycle to focus on playing elite competition. She also disapproves of the championship format which features a knockout tournament determining the world champion. Humpy Koneru of India withdrew for unknown reasons. The three not competing due to “hijabgate” were Pakidze, seven-time U.S. women’s champion Irina Krush and Mariya Muzychuk, a former world champion.


The hijab means different things to different people. Some see it as a symbol of oppression while
some see it as a symbol of liberation.


Nevertheless, countries are known for their unique cultural prescriptions, and some are holding dear to their traditions, regardless of whether other countries accept them or not. A personal protest not to wear a hijab or head covering is one thing, but to add that Muslim women in Iran (and elsewhere) should not wear it because it’s oppressive is quite presumptuous and ethnocentric. The consensus seems to be that women should have the prerogative to wear whatever they want. However, the tendency in this debate has been to discourage Islamic coverings and to encourage styles of dress that suit western standards of beauty.

U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad received wide acclaim for wearing the hijab during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where she won a bronze medal. Some Muslim women see coverings as a source of liberation from beauty objectification. Photo by Jason Getz (USA Today Sports)

Ecuadorean master Carla Heredia offers the view that no woman should be forced to wear a hijab or be forced to remove it if she chooses to wear it. The hijab has been a lightning rod for controversy and France had banned the head covering and other Muslim garments such as the “burkini,” the full-body beach covering worn by women. What would happen if Catholic nuns showed up on a French beach in their habits? This is what occurred in the famous burkini ban after a Muslim woman was made to disrobe in public by the police! Nuns showed up on the beach but were not made to remove their garments, so the discriminatory motive of the law was immediately noted.

The hijab means different things to different people. Some see it as a symbol of oppression while some see it as a symbol of liberation. The idea of hijab as a “symbol of oppression” further perpetuates stereotypes of Muslim women, fans the flames of Islamophobia that puts Islam and its adherents into ideological boxes. Profiling is the very reason that millions around the world protested the so-called “Muslim travel ban” signed by President Trump. The ban was ultimately overturned by the judicial branch.

While Muslims are being supported on the one hand, they are condemned on other counts. The world is entirely schizophrenic at this time as Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” is upon us. Nevertheless, this is a critical moment for countries seeking to maintain cultural or religious traditions. How does any country (Muslim or otherwise) proceed in a world where national cultures are eroding, traditions lost, and a global culture is emerging? This is a question all nations must address and is the crux of the raging debate on religion.

Official Website: http://tehran2017.fide.com/
Live Games: http://tehran2017.fide.com/live/live.html

Share

The Millionaire Chess organization has released a press release announcing that there would not be a tournament in 2017, but there are possibilities for future events. Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee cited lack of sponsorship as the prime reason and appealed to the chess community for assistance in finding support.

Amy Lee working hard to make MC#1 a success.

There have been three wonderful events (2014, 2015, 2016), all relative successes. The first in 2014 (won by Wesley So) had the most glitz and glamour while the second (won by Hikaru Nakamura) added the wildly popular “Confessional Booth” and “Millionaire Square” game show. The last (won by Dariusz Swiercz) was a scaled down version held in Atlantic City, but better conditions and stellar operation… ironically a smaller crowd.

Scene from Millionaire Monday at MC#2!

Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Photos by Daaim Shabazz

* * *

Official announcement: No Millionaire Open in 2017

Quite a number of people have written to MC in the past few weeks asking about details for the next event. Unfortunately, due to lack of sponsorship, the decision has been made that there will be no MC Open in 2017. This announcement does not preclude the possibility of editions in future years. The dream of high-stakes events that promote the great game of chess to mass audience remains very much alive and is something the company, particularly co-Partner Maurice Ashley, continues to believe in as a worthwhile cause.

Corporate sponsor

If you know a corporate sponsor who might be willing to work with MC or have any other ideas on how to continue this budding tradition, please let us know. We can be easily reached at contact @ millionairechess.com.

Naturally, should there be any further developments regarding funding and sponsors, we will quickly announce our plans for upcoming years. In any case we will keep you updated via this newsletter and our social media channels. Thank you so much for the continued support.

Thank you

Once again a very big thank you to everyone around the world. 2017 promises to be a very busy year for the partners in the company as both Amy and Maurice will be traveling the world on a variety of exciting ventures. We wish you all the best for the new year and look forward to seeing you once again sometime soon. Much success to you all and thanks for being a part of the Millionaire Chess experience.

Best Wishes,
Amy and Maurice

Amy Lee and Maurice Ashley


MILLIONAIRE CHESS

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

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


* * *

Share

Hikaru Nakamura receives his winners cheque for £23,000 and trophy from Tradewise Chairman James Humphreys (left) and Tradewise Chess Festival Organiser Brian Callaghan. Hikaru scored 8/10 (+6,=4) and then won a playoff 1½-½ to take first prize. Photo © John Saunders

Hikaru Nakamura receives his winners cheque for £23,000 and trophy from Tradewise Chairman James Humphreys (left) and Tradewise Chess Festival Organiser Brian Callaghan. Hikaru scored 8/10 (+6 =4) and then won a playoff 1½-½ to take first prize. Photo © John Saunders.

Hikaru Nakamura has won the Gibraltar Masters for the third time (2015, 2016, 2017) after winning the playoff over David Anton Guijarro. Nakamura stated in an earlier interview that he enjoyed the environment of Gibraltar, the weather, the scenery and conditions. It would actually be his fourth victory at the event, first winning in 2008.

Tania Sachdev asked Nakamura about the tournament and he mentioned the stellar play of Anton, but mentioned that he was confident after beating Yu Yangyi. In terms of the three wins, he stated that while his 2015 victory was smooth his last two victories required him to make a late push. He did take some satistfaction to win a tournament with two higher seeds. He looks to “three-repeat” in Zurich and has the U.S. Championship and the Grand Tour ahead. Here was Nakamura’s reflections on the tournament.

Official Site: http://www.gibraltarchesscongress.com/
PGN Game: http://www.thechessdrum.net/games/gibraltar2017.pgn

Share

U.S. Chess Line Online ranks its top articles each year and The Chess Drum’s feature on FM Josh Colas made the cut at #8. Colas is a freshman at Webster University and at the time of the article had just earned his first GM norm. The article features the evolution of this humble product of White Plains, New York. Below are the judges’ laudatory comments.

The Judges Sound Off

“This inspiring article written by Daaim Shabazz is a great tribute to Joshua Colas and his family. I especially appreciate the biographical style of the article covering Josha’s upbringing, his family life, school life and his future plans to attend Webster on a scholarship. Knowing what kind of talent Webster churns out, it looks like Josh’s journey has just begun!”

-Jennifer Vallens

“I certainly connected with this piece on a personal level. Josh and I followed similar paths over the course of our childhoods by taking advantage of the countless opportunities in American scholastic chess. We now both study at Webster University and competed for our C-team at Panams. Daaim does a great job of documenting Josh’s journey and highlighting the triumphs and obstacles along the way. The words “?Keep him interested” is some of the best advice for the parents of a young chess player. Josh has undoubtedly kept interest!”

-Eric Rosen

“Josh Colas’ rise in U.S. chess is well chronicled by Shabazz who writes engagingly about our nation’s young talents, national and international chess. Josh annotated his masterful victory over GM Jinshi Bai for this article. His annotations are clear, precise and demonstrate awesome technique in what was a difficult endgame to win. ‘Young Josh will be looking to make history of his own,’ writes Shabazz. We agree wholeheartedly!”

-Michael Ciamarra

“This interesting story describes the journey of young Joshua Colas from a sharp 7 year old playing his father to an experienced master battling a Chinese Grandmaster with the IM title at stake. These are true words of wisdom from the talented rising star himself. ‘After earning his GM norm, Josh stated, “My parents constantly remind me that if I work hard and believe in myself, nothing is impossible.”

-Michael Aigner

Thank you judges… hopefully I’ll be writing another article about Josh very soon.

Revisit the article here!!

Here is Josh blitzing with his father (Guy Colas) at the 2006 World Open. This was the year he started playing. He’s all grown up now.

Josh Colas at 2015 World Open in Arlington, Virginia
Photos by Daaim Shabazz

Share

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »