Tate on norm hunt in Spain!

Emory Tate has been on the chess scene for the past 30 years cutting a swath of memorable wins into his historic journey. The journey has been a challenging one, but the famous tactician continues toward his goal. He is currently competing in the Benidorm International and is battling amongst the likes of GMs Julio Granda Zuniga, Boris Avrukh, Victor Mikhalevski and the legendary Ulf Andersson.

IM Emory Tate
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

After winning the King’s Island Open with Grigory Kaidanov and Carl Boor, his U.S. activity has declined as GM norm opportunities are rare and conditions are meager stateside. This puts chess professionals as the mercy of personal funds and private sponsors. Thus, Tate has gone abroad for more opportunities and more hospitable conditions. Tate told The Chess Drum that the window of opportunity is closing for attainment of GM norms, but it is apparent that his will is everstrong.

(Note: While Tate was snubbed in Chess Life’s coverage of King’s Island back in Febuary, he certainly deserves mention. Jerry Hanken spent a bit of time writing of his own experiences and half of the article was on Carl Boor. Meanwhile he only gave a cursory mention of Tate’s 4-1 score and never associated this score with joint first. This is a horrible and egregious omission in journalism.)


  1. Daaim, please help. Is there anyway we can setup a fund to aid Tate in his quest? There are so many who would like to donate to
    our brother.

  2. Kent,

    I realize this. I could set something a fundraising page, but it may be quicker to wire him the funds. I have discussed with Emory the possibility of putting together a collection of annotated games. It would be an instant seller! I’d do the design and layout.

    Maybe we should set up a professional entity. I’ll give it some thought. The only reason we only have one Black GM in the U.S. is due to lack of support funds and a poor tournament infrastructure. Even Maurice Ashley clawed his way to the title. It’s unfortunate that he is not playing because he could certainly have an impact.

  3. Message in from Tate… game vs. GM Dragan Paunovic.
    e4 d6
    d4 nf6
    nc3 e5
    f4 ed
    qd4 nbd7
    be2 c6
    be3 d5
    ed bc5
    qd2 cd
    bc5 nc5
    ooo oo
    bf3 be6
    nge2 nce4
    be4 draw offer accepted.

    I think that I am winning, but I measured the norm chance against all else.

    Here’s the quickie from round #1 again…

    Tate Pastor Rd 1 Benidorm International 24 Apr 08

    d4 nf6
    bg5 g6
    nc3 d5
    qd2 bg7
    bh6 oo
    h4 c6
    h5 nh5
    rh5 bh6
    rh6 1 0


  4. I think it all has to start with a set down of serious chess people/players who want to continue to aid in the growth of African/African American chessplayers as a whole, as for tate who is on the map as an active I.m/G.m and really deserves more support for “creating the “Audacity to Hope” at the highest level of chess , lets go now for corporational donors such as Black enterprise, Music Moguls Jet, Harpo , Ariel fundation…etc , lets really look at what it takes to create a foundation that will support the efforts of our great minds in chess forever. Keep the beat going!!!

  5. Lets form an inner circle of chess advocates through out the usa and continue to branch off from there, this group wouldstart the disccussion and put are resources on the table. lets start to talk online and build a database of like minded people who want this happen .

  6. I’m not seeing too many big money bags in this. Oprah… not; Ariel Capital… not; Black Enterprise… maybe. However, I do see where the music moguls could step up. We have to bridge the Hip-Hop chess community (Adisa Banjoko, RZA et al.) with the rest of the chess brotherhood. Many of them do not know the legend of Emory Tate because he is not in popular press/media. There are some hip-hop moguls that would support a brother like Tate… if they only knew his story. Wu Tang’s RZA would certainly appreciate Tate’s slashing style.

    The only person that is known is Maurice Ashley and his being the only Black GM in the U.S. is certainly not a positive sign of growth. Almost ten years after Ashley’s GM title, no one else has earned one norm! Of course that says as much about the impotence of U.S. chess than it does about the talent of Tate. Tate’s years have been spent slaying GMs in a bunch of Open tournaments (with scant norm chances). However, a country with the wealth of the U.S. should be producing lots more GMs than they import from abroad. Somebody like Hikaru Nakamura can’t even get support in the U.S. Pathetic.

    We have to DO FOR SELF!!

  7. Tate has been sending me the games, but not this one. He merely stated how he won. Maybe he’s holding secrets. I respect that. He’s getting to the point where he’ll be playing GMs.

  8. Travis,

    Are you still at Georgia Tech? Do you play at the Atlanta Chess & Games? If you’re in grad school, you probably don’t have time because I didn’t when I was in grad school. I went one whole year without looking at the chess magazines I got in the mail!

    Here’s the last game (with queen sacrifice)…

    IM Arnd Lauber-IM Emory Tate
    Rd 4 Benidorm International 28 Apr 08

    1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. d5 d6 5. e4 e5 6. dxe6 fxe6 7.h4 Nc6 8.h5 Nge7 9.hxg6 Nxg6 10.Nc3 Nd4 11.Nxd4 cxd4 12.Ne2 Qa5 13.Qd2 Qe5 14.Ng3 0-0 15.Rh5 Qf6 16.Bd3 Ne5 17.f3 Bd7 18.Qe2 Be8 19. Rh3 Qg6 20. f4 Nd3 21.Qd3 d5 22.cxd5 exd5 23.Nf5 Kh8 24.Nxg7 Qxg7 25.e5 Rac8 26.Bd2 Rc4 27.g4 Bb5 28.Qg3 Rc2 29.Rc1 Qxe5+ 0-1 (See Game)

  9. Great work Daaim! I don’t know where I would be without the
    beating drum. Almost like reading a daily newspaper… I look
    forward to my next issue. Good to know John is still active.

  10. Yes I’m still at Georgia Tech…finishing up this summer…I’ve taken a long break from chess besides the occasional blitz game but I’m starting back training this summer…so I’m definitely looking at collecting games to look at like Tate’s games

  11. Me too! I don’t play at all during the school year because of my teaching and administrative duties. It’s crazy. The Chess Drum took a hit for a little while, but I kept the beat. While I have a good rep with my students, it is becoming more and more challenging and I’m performing other duties that cuts into my chess drumming. 😐

    I will get busy and prepare for the Chicago Open, World Open, U.S. Open and perhaps a trip to Trinidad and an undetermined African country. I’d like to do a Chess Drum world tour in Africa and Caribbean… in 2009 perhaps.

    I hope to get to the ATL… my old stomping ground. Kayin Barclay is coming to Morehouse and I’m sure he’ll be glad to put a beatdown on you. 🙂 I need to put in some serious work over the chess board. I may drop in on the Georgia State championship. We’ll see.

  12. You really do deserve a lot of credit for keeping the beat going…it has really been a connection between people from the Diaspora all over the world and is commendable indeed and a trip around the Diaspora to highlight current chess players would be an inspiring undertaking as well!

    About Kayin, I’m not afraid of a challenge and if he wants to play I’m game anytime….but I’m taking a year to train & start back competiting next year…with the overall costs of travelling to tournaments I want to make sure I can at least break even.

    Let me know if you make it for the GA championships & I’ll stop by.

  13. I do it not only for guys like Emory (who I’ve known of since his rating was exactly 1797), but for all of those players around the world who otherwise would not get any attention in the chess media. Players in the African Diaspora will know that the world will see that they have made contributions. It also makes chess appear universal which is good for marketing purposes.

  14. Travis,

    I may also add that Emory has contributed to The Chess Drum over the years. He sends e-mail, sends games, offers analysis, offers interviews and gives words of encouragement. The other day he corrected me on the use of the word “egregious.” I laughed at myself because I pride myself on spelling and word usage. I had learned to be careful after once misspelling “bologna” in an 8th grade spelling bee! 😳 I appreciated his correction.

    I say this to say that Tate’s “chess philanthropy” is under-rated and he deserves as much support as we can give him. He deserves an honest shot at the GM title. I hear a lot of people talking about organizing norm events, but little action toward this. Tate was not included in the Wilbert Paige (a major mistake… regardless of the reason), but we need to revisit this idea. I will consider a major project for 2009.

  15. A thought occurred to me…if Tate (or someone else) brought out a book of his best games (especially games where he cracked GM’s like the famous Tate-Yudasin…can’t remember who was white or black) would that raise the capital for him to continue his GM quest? I know I for one would line up for an autographed copy of that book!

  16. Like when I was back at Howard I bought a copy of Charles Covington’s book on his best games (autographed)…it wasn’t expensive but it is a piece of history…even in his introduction he says…when he looked at the chess books on his shelf there weren’t any written by players fromt he Diaspora and he decided to fill that void…

  17. Covington is a special player in Black history. He was working on a revised history and I wrote the foreword to it. I haven’t seen it yet, but his original compilation is interesting. There are some design flaws and factual errors, but the intent and spirit in which it was written was admirable.

  18. Ed, usually I go to the FIDE site online calendar to learn about
    upcoming international events.

    An annotated book by Tate would sell. Wilbert Paige was still
    a great tournament with or without Tate. The key is just to
    arrange another Wilbert Paige event and on an annual basis. In
    this way, we as black players could help to promote and sustain
    our own talent pool.

  19. I agree with Kimani…and not just Tate’s games analyzed by Fritz like certain other books that are currently selling…I mean with the Tate humor and his OWN insight..

  20. 2001 Wilbert Paige Memorial Chess Tournament

    The Wilbert Paige Memorial event was a classic, but Tate wasn’t even invited. I had discussed this with Jerry Bibuld when he asked for my input. He stated that he had problems with Emory being reliable at an earlier invitational, but I found that there was simply a misunderstanding. Tate has been one the most active Black players going back into the late 70s.

    In Fall of 2004, I had begun organizing a major 32-player Swiss invitational (GM and IM norms) slated for July 2005 (at Philadelphia’s Temple University after World Open) and got a quick commitment from Tate. Nakamura was one of the 6-8 GMs I planned to invite and had gotten a verbal committment from at least two.

    Maurice Ashley and Stephen Muhammad could not commit citing possible schedule conflicts. I later deferred when Ashley told me over the phone that he was organizing a big tournament which later turned out to be the $500,000 HB Global tourney in May 2005.

    I then tried to revamp the tournament in 2006, but Corbin e-mailed me and said having the tournament in the Olympiad year would force some African and Caribbean players to take two two-week vacation periods from their jobs. Pontus Carlsson is interested in playing in the US and told me he would play.

    Biggest issue is fundraising and meeting accommodations of GMs and the foreign players (i.e., visa issues). Fortunately, we have more GMs and IMs in the Diaspora since 2005. Maybe a smaller norm tournament could be done this year, but of course you need lead time in order to satisfy FIDE requirements… and you need money.

  21. Pictures of IM Emory Tate at Benidorm International

    This picture is worth a thousand words!
    Tate and the legendary Ulf Andersson.

    Tate prepares to start the battle!
    Photos courtesy of Ajedrez Benidorm.

    Emory played the legendary Ulf Andersson of Sweden (pictured upper left). Most of you know that Andersson was once reputed to be the toughest player in the world to beat. He used to go toe-to-toe with Anatoly Karpov back in the 70s and 80s. He got the best of Tate today. Anderssen is still active and can be found on the ICC.

    Tate plays Francisco Romero Berruezo (Spain) in round #7. Soldier on Tate!

  22. Mr. Tate is 50 years old and rated 2378. To become a GM he needs 3 norms (doesn’t have any yet?) with performance of 2601, and to increase his rating to 2500+. This is quite a challenge.

    I hope he realizes that doing the same old thing that has kept his chess exciting and fun for 30 years is just not good enough for this task. He has to re-think and change his approach and knowledge base.

    It will need far more study, far more stability, far more hard-headed GM level practical playing. It’s a great thing to try to become a different and stronger player at 50. But there is no prospect of success (defined as becoming a GM) without willingness to make fundamental changes.

  23. Umberto,

    Of course, you have some interesting (and logical) points.

    FM Emory Tate at the 1998 New York Open. Photo by Jerry Bibuld.

    Perhaps those of us who have followed Tate’s games over the years remember his incredible inventiveness at the board. Given his ability to create difficulties at the board for GMs, he has the potential to score a GM norm at any outing, but he has some obstacles which he has told me himself (and also implied). Firstly, his age is certainly a factor. I once had a debate with a Jamaican coach who stated that Tate should follow the methods of Amon Simutowe get his norms, someone 24 years younger!

    Approaching 50 (in December), Tate’s circumstances are totally different. He may not have the stamina that he once had and this is crucial when you talk about traveling to foreign countries. To Tate’s credit he still looks for provocative lines and is able to drum up favorable complications against strong players. His “independent” style is a double-edged sword… he lives and dies with it. I would agree that Tate could use a high-level “chess friend,” or another GM with which he could share ideas. Who would that be?

    As I told Simutowe, it is my view that Tate will have to be more selective about tournaments he plays in. You cannot chase norms any more than you can chase ELO points. I just got off the phone with Simutowe (who was coming from Europe and on his way to Zambia). He stated that for every loss to a lower player you have to win three games. That is too much pressure to bear. It is even more challenging if you’re constantly on the move, it is difficult to remain focused.

    The problem is that Tate does not get the invitations needed in closed events and there are few in the country where he lives. This is one reason America has not produced many home-grown GMs in the last 20 years. Two things need to happen for Tate… fundraising and invites to strong closed tournaments.

    I once asked Kirsan Ilyumzhinov during the last FIDE election what he could do for players like Tate. The answer was vague and basically stated that such proposals are worthy of consideration and FIDE would entertain the ideas. So there you have it… players like Tate are left to figure it out for themselves.

  24. Let me know where to sign up. It is time we get together and get this thing started. stop talking and start doing it. (Where do I sign up.) 😈

  25. Emory Tate has clawed his way back to a +3 score and faces German Grandmaster Rotstein Arkadij in the last round. Tate’s GM norm chances have vanished, but a +4 score would certainly put him in the prizes. Venezuela’s Eduardo Iturrizaga, Peru’s Julio Granda-Zuniga and top-seed Boris Avrukh (three-way tie with 7½-1½) are trying to split 10,000€, but GM-elect Manuel Leon-Hoyos is on 7-2 with several others. Leon-Hoyos is the teenage GM from Mexico and should go over 2500 and be declared the title at the FIDE Congress at the Olympiad. Good to see Latin Americans in the mix!

    Go get ’em Tate!

  26. Tate lost the final battle to Arkadij and had to settle for +2. He started well in the first four rounds, but had a couple of key losses. I have not seen the games, but his last game would be of interest.

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