Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Alabama, USA) has had some keen minds to cross its historic grounds. It is known by its roots in agricultural and mechanical sciences and was founded by Booker T. Washington, an intellectual who plotted a course of progress for Blacks "up from slavery." Recently, the university's chess club invited another keen mind to provide inspirationů IM-elect Stephen Muhammad.
Dr. Steven Dowd, who serves as the club's faculty advisor, extended an invitation to the Georgia-based player and Muhammad was delighted to make the short trip to the campus where he played his first tournament. The exhibition was held in the Student Union building in one of the "breakout" rooms. At most campuses, the student center is usually filled with loud music, card and video games, conversation, and laughter. Tuskegee was no different as young men and women milled about.
Muhammad was warmly welcomed and after exchanging pleasantries with the players (including club President Jack Wilson), he proceeded to give a lecture. When asked about the environment, Muhammad stated, "There was a really nice spirit there. I lectured for about an hour and had their undivided attention, it was mostly on tactics and activity." After questions were answered, it was time to rumble on the chessboard.
Nine boards set up and several spectators came to watch the exhibition. Of course, there was a bit of light-hearted trash-talking beforehand, but as the games wore on, it was apparent that Muhammad would settle all matters on the board. Ironically, the player coming the closest to beating Muhammad was the quietest. He won the "Best Game" prize and was presented with a magnetic chess set. All in all, the afternoon was enjoyable for both Muhammad and the Tuskegee chess players. Hopefully, this is the beginning of better things to come!
Read, "Tuskegee University makes mark in Collegiate Chess!
Posted by The Chess Drum: 6 April 2003