WuChess.com launches June 2nd!!

WuChess.com

The moment is here! RZA is conjunction with chesspark.com with launched the highly-anticipated wuchess.com site. It is a social networking site where players can play and vibe about chess, hip-hop, martial arts and other social subjects. There will be a instant messaging and live chat feature allowing spontaneity and a “live” feel. Wu Tang Clan’s RZA will use the proceeds to fund college scholarships.

Visit WuChess.com!

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

24 Comments

  1. WuChess is here! With great anticipation, this new community expose and untapped market. There have been a number of articles following what has become a subgenre called “hip-hop chess.” Many detractors think it’s a chess gimmick, but of course chess players come from all demographics and this will allow the bringing together of two worlds… underground and professional. Great concept! Also kudos to Adisa Banjoko who gave life to the movement that had died a few years earlier.

    WuChess: Online Chess For The Hip Hop Crowd. Why Not?

  2. This is crazy, I checked the website and it charges a US$ 48 annual fee and the only goodies are for patzers!! Come on guys, let chess be chess and not hip-hop chess. Music is one thing, chess is the other thing. I fail to see how senseless music like hip-hop could mix with a sensible game like chess. The rappers don’t follow music theory (they sing/talk out of key) and serious chess players obey chess theory, WHAT A CONTRAST!! Cheese and chalk!!
    Lets be serious!!

  3. Unathi,

    I’m not sure what you expect? ICC after the first release??

    I don’t believe there is a distinction between chess and “hip-hop” chess in the way you’re viewing it. Chess is chess (unless you play a variant), but what WuChess.com and the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF)are trying to do is expose a new youth segment to the game of chess. Contrary to what you believe, there are chess players who are hip-hop enthusiasts as there are hip-hop enthusiasts who enjoy chess. Never before have these segments been actively targeted. Rappers have the ear of the youth and they certainly influence the youth to play chess moreso than the average chess player.

    I don’t understand… you re trying analyze rap music in some musical construct (i.e., singing in key, musicological theory). Maybe you misunderstand hip-hop as a cultural artform. Maybe you don’t understand music. Rap comes from a griot tradition of story-telling and the accompanying music focuses more on the flow of the beats than a tonal key or a particular pitch. No… neither RZA nor Lupe Fiasco raps in C-minor. Is that an indictment?

    People who listen to acid rock, reggae, jazz, rap, classical can also play chess. There is no such thing as saying, “oh that guy listens to rap, he can’t play chess.” All of these music forms differ in how they arrange the eight notes and how they manipulate the accompanying lyrical content, the beat, the intonation, the syncopation and the improvisation. All artforms vary in this regard and rap music certainly has it’s place.

    I’m not understanding your rant against WuChess.com and hip-hop. Your views against hip-hop precluded your support of the site and I’m not sure why you even felt compelled to write. You must have known all of this before you posted your comment. WuChess.com and HHCF is trying to bring together segments of people… those hip-hop enthusiasts who enjoy chess and those chess enthusiasts who enjoy hip-hop. If this is not your cup of tea, then there are many of chess-playing sites you can choose from.

  4. Chess is one of the biggest and most respected game on earth.
    Hip-Hop is the biggest language the kids use to communicate.
    HHCF bridges the gap between them. Why hate on that?

    None of the people trying to bash the HHCF or WuChess do ANYTHING in the community to teach chess to kids in the hood. You don’t see them at the Omega Boys Club with Josh Waitzkin and RZA donating time. They just cry on the sidelines…LOL

    The videos on youtube don’t lie. HHCF and WuChess are making huge strides in helping kids. Look at the footage with Immortal Technique. 400 kids staying AFTER school to learn chess because a rapper is bringing the science to them about life?

    Haters can hate, there is no debate about this. HHCF, WuChess and other urban chess outreach organizations are doing a great job.

    Don’t believe me? Go look and find articles in the MAINSTREAM PRESS on chess that DONT have the urban twist on it. You can’t find them.

    HHCF has gotten more mainstream press on the beauty of chess than any of the old guard chess orgs have done in the last 5-10 years. Its not just because we are new, its because we are sincere and because its WORKING.

    Don’t be mad, DO BETTER or shut up.

    -Adisa Banjoko
    Co-founder HHCF

  5. the best help our kids can receive is support from those whom serve on the front line. keep up the great Work

  6. There is another article on RZA’s launch of wuchess.com. It is based on the New York Times article and video above. There is a segment of the article that features a quote by Marley Kaplan who states,

    Marley Kaplan, the chief executive of Chess-in-the-Schools, a non-profit group that teaches chess in poorer New York City school districts, says RZA’s involvement might encourage some children to play, but she doubts it will make a big impact. “Most kids get interested in chess through schools and through family and friends,” she says. “We taught 20,000 kids this year and I bet if you surveyed them, none of them knows that he [RZA] plays chess.”

    Kaplan is talking about how important Chess-in-Schools is and that’s all fine, but to then put RZA’s effort down is arrogant and shows a lack of understanding about chess demographics. There has to be an understanding that there is more than one way to capture chess demographics. Certainly, CIS reaches New York youth, but what about the others worldwide?? Hip-Hop chess has an opportunity to reach a segment that others cannot.

    I’m not sure why organizations feel a need to compare and contrast their methods with Hip-Hop chess. CIS has done some great work and has trained (by Kaplan’s admission) 20,000 kids, but how many years has that taken?? Hip-Hop chess has just begun. What’s important, in my opinion, is whether these kids continue to play. I’m not aware of any Masters having come from CIS New York, but hopefully that is coming. Hip-Hop chess has a totally different focus.

  7. National Hip Hop Convention Set for August in Las Vegas

    (Taylor Media Services) The 2008 Third Bi-Annual National Hip Hop Political Convention (NHHPC) will be held August 1-3, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NHHPC is a bi-annual gathering of social justice activists, organizers, students, journalists, scholars, artists and concerned citizens who come together to define the political agenda of the Hip Hop community.

    On July 28-31, 2008, a pre-convention will be held called “The State of Hip Hop”, which will include a film festival, concerts, art exhibits, academic symposium and Hip Hop dance contests. Thousands of young activists, educators, entertainers, journalists, artists, students and concerned citizens are planning to come to Las Vegas to discuss the role of Hip Hop culture in political and social activism at the 3rd Convention of the NHHPC.

    Registration and sponsorship information is available online at http://www.NHHPC.org/08.

  8. Was on wuchess.com yesterday and got a feel for the interface. It was an interesting experience and I can certainly see its potential. For Wu Tang fans, RZA is posting messages and photos during his tour and there will be a separate blog for the wuchess community.

    I played five games and won them all, but the pieces were hard to adjust to. I was told that there is a feature that will allow a user to use the standard pieces, but they wanted to launch with the wuchess pieces. I must admit that the pieces go along with the theme of wuchess. One thing that is annoying is the lag time when moving pieces. I would imagine that will be corrected in time. There are chat session embedded into the interface so you do not have to open a separate window.

    There were a variety of players playing, but most were in the ChessPark room, the site’s developer. There is an “add” feature so you can communicate directly, view profiles and exchange files. I was told there was an IM from Hungary logged on, but didn’t get a chance to meet him. Adisa sent me a clip from Romania, one of the branches for the Hip-Hop Ches Federation. Interesting. As a caveat, I would say that in business you want to secure your homebase first before expanding. That way you control the direction and development of the brand. Nevertheless, the word is out.

    BTW, my handle is “chessdrummer” 😉

  9. Here’s a game I played at wuchess.com. I’m skeptical about …d5 instead of maybe …Bc5 or …Nc6. I’m not sure if white’s Bxh7+ is sound. I believe I can hold him off after …Be5 Qh7+ Kf6, but then Qh4. 😕 Looking at this again Maybe …e5! instead of …Be5. In fact, the line above gets him a draw, but he flagged. He spent a long time after I played …Kg6.

    There has been some discussion about the physical features of the pieces. The good thing is the interface generates a PGN and you can open your games with a database program. I’ve played about eight games so far. The starting level is 1500.

  10. Just logged off of wuchess.com… a bit of drama that I hope gets straightened out. It has been a good experience thus far. I’m still getting used to the pieces, so I haven’t played any 5-minute blitz. I played a decent player named “pogi31” three 15-minute games and lost the first game after getting a strong attack out of the opening. I then got overzealous and lost material. The game ended in in a wild flurry, but he finished me off.

    chessdrummer-pogi31 at wuchess.com – Chesspark, 21.06.2008

    1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 a6 3.Nc3 b5 4.d4 Bb7 5.Bd3 d6 6.0-0 Nd7 7.a4 b4 8.Ne2 Ngf6 9.Ng3 Be7 10.c4 c5 11.d5 0-0 12.Re1 e5 13.h3 a5 14.Nf5 g6 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.Ng5 Ng8 17.Nhxf7 Qe8 18.Qf3 Bxg5 19.Nxd6 Qb8 20.Nf5+ gxf5 21.Bxg5 f4 22.g3 Qe8 23.gxf4 h6 24.Bh4 Rxf4 25.Qg3+ Kh7 26.Kh2 Ra6 27.f3 Qh5 28.Bd8 Rg6 29.Qxf4 exf4 30.e5 Qxf3 31.Bxg6+ Kxg6 32.Rg1+ Kh5 33.e6 Ne5 34.Rxg8 Qe2+ 35.Rg2 Nf3+ 36.Kh1 Qe4 37.Rd1 Qxc4 38.e7 Qe4 0-1 (See Game)

    That’s fair… rematch. In the second game, I played a good positional game and was up an exchange when the server declared the game a draw. There was no three-fold repetition and I did not accept a draw. I’m not sure why that occurred.

    pogi31-chessdrummer at wuchess.com
    – Chesspark, 21.06.2008

    1.Nf3 c5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a3 Qc7 6.d4 d6 7.Be2 Be7 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Bd2 b6 10.Rc1 Bb7 11.Ne1 0-0 12.Bf3 Rac8 13.Bxb7 Qxb7 14.Qe2 Rfd8 15.Nf3 d5 16.cxd5 exd5 17.Rfd1 Ne4 18.h3 Ndf6 19.Be1 Bd6 20.Ne5 Re8 21.f4 cxd4 22.exd4 b5 23.b4 Nxc3 24.Bxc3 Ne4 25.Qf3 f6 26.Ng4 Bxf4 27.Qxf4 Nxc3 28.Re1 Ne2+ 29.Rxe2 Rxe2 30.Rxc8+ Qxc8 31.Qd6 Qe6 32.Qd8+ Kf7 33.Qc7+ Kg6 34.Qg3 Kf7 35.Qc7+ Qe7 36.Qc6 Re1+ 37.Kh2 Qe6 38.Qc7+ Kg6 39.Qg3 Kf7 40.Qc7+ Kf8 41.Qd8+ Kf7 42.Qc7+ Ke8 43.Qb8+ Kd7 44.Qb7+ Kd8 45.Qb8+ Qc8 46.Qd6+ Ke8 47.Kg3 Qe6 48.Qb8+ Kf7 ½-½ (See Game)

    In the third game, I had played another good game and about the 20-second mark I played 62.Ne3+ winning a rook. There is a five-second delay… now the madness happens.

    chessdrummer-pogi31 at wuchess.com– Chesspark, 21.06.2008

    1.e4 a6 2.a4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Qc7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Be2 Bb4 9.f3 0-0 10.0-0 Be7 11.Nb3 d6 12.Kh1 Ne5 13.Qd4 Rd8 14.f4 Nc6 15.Qd2 b6 16.Bf3 Bb7 17.Qf2 Rd7 18.Bxb6 Qc8 19.Rfd1 h6 20.a5 Ne8 21.Rd2 Nb4 22.Ra4 Nc6 23.Rc4 Qb8 24.Na4 Kh8 25.Be3 Bd8 26.Nb6 Bxb6 27.Bxb6 Na7 28.Nd4 d5 29.exd5 Bxd5 30.Rb4 Qc8 31.c4 Bxf3 32.Qxf3 Rb8 33.Nb3 Rxd2 34.Nxd2 Nc6 35.Rb3 Nf6 36.Rd3 Qb7 37.Rd6 Ne7 38.Qxb7 Rxb7 39.c5 Nfd5 40.c6 Rb8 41.c7 Rb7 42.Rd8+ Kh7 43.c8Q Nxc8 44.Rxc8 Nxb6 45.axb6 Rxb6 46.Nc4 Rb4 47.Kg1 Kg6 48.Kf2 a5 49.Ke3 a4 50.Kd3 Rb3+ 51.Kc2 Kf5 52.Rc7 Kg6 53.Rc6 Kf5 54.g3 g5 55.fxg5 hxg5 56.Rb6 Rf3 57.Kd2 Rf2+ 58.Ke3 Rxh2 59.Ra6 Rc2 60.Rxa4 e5 61.Kd3 Rg2 62.Ne3+ 0-1 (See Game)

    😯

    After playing the knight fork, my move registered and showed my opponent’s clock ticking. He is not moving and I’m showing 17 seconds left. Next thing I know, it said I lost. My opponent asked me why didn’t I move. I told him I couldn’t. I have not had any major lag problems and nothing like this particular case. I seriously hope they fix that glitch.

  11. Here’s 1993 video from the Wu Tang Clan… that 15 years ago! It’s a bit hardcore, but the chess theme shows you where the passion of chess comes from. Part of WuTang brand of hip-hop is the swagger, the strength and the dropping of mystical knowledge in tightly-woven metaphors. Of course one may say it looks like violence, but it’s part of that tradition of MC battling that made hip-hop such a staple in cities around the country back in the 70s and 80s.

    Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ (1993)
    (WARNING: strong language, violent themes)

  12. These half-baked attempts at describing WuChess.com are getting a bit annoying. Some of these writers still don’t get it. They present the new venture as something of an anomaly and with surprise that hip-hop enthusiasts could like chess (or chess players could like hip-hop). It just goes to show you that age-old stereotypes about chess still remain. Check out this drivel from the LA Times.

    WuChess is not cheap, however. If you want to battle rap stars and chess masters, you have to shell out $48 for a year’s subscription. To some chess or Wu-Tang lovers, this might seem like a bargain, but to the rest of us, that half a Benjamin means three-quarters of a tank of gas, and, besides, there are plenty of free chess services online, even if you can’t play against Bobby Digital.

    The writer’s point here is that WuChess.com is expensive and you can play for free. Well… play for free if you want! The point here (and in business) is that customers play for value-added features that define niche products and services. What does WuChess.com offer you that you can’t get anywhere else? That is the question when deciding to drop $48.00. I agree that there is high price elasticity for online chess services but if wuchess is successful in merging two captive markets into the social network (around music), the potential is promising. They certainly have the demographics! The writer also admitted to being unaware that the Wu Tang Clan played chess despite them covering their music. Here was a response:

    If you didn’t know that RZA and the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan were chess enthusiasts,” wrote one commenter, “then you were never a fan. They rap about it, talk about it, feature chess in videos” and even have it on album covers. “How anyone who knows anything about Wu didn’t know this is just strange.”

    Mate!

    Source: NewsDay

  13. The idea of hip-hop chess is taking shape, but of course there are those detractors. No… hip-hop chess is the same game, it is attempting to reach a slightly different market segment. There will be many points in history that we’ll look at as seminal events in its development.

    Who can forget “Urban Chess” which lasted only a few months, but was able to get a brief mention in New in Chess. It was done by a college student whose idea was to create a community centered around chess and the appreciation of hip-hop. I wrote founder Damon Willis back in April 2004 and he responded and articulated his vision:

    I am a 22 year old college student who just happens to love the game and also love hip-hop which became my inspiration for the site. I’m not a hardcore player of the game yet, as I am still learning about it. I just wanted to create an online presence for urban chess players around the world, especially catering to the hip-hop generation. I wanted to have a site where visitors can come and listen to the latest urban sounds and interact with other urban chess players around the world.

    urbanchess.com

    Then in 2007, another pivotal moment in marriage of chess and hip-hop occurred when Adisa Banjoko and Leo Librian came together to form the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. This was a bit more defined that the moniker “urban chess” and pointed more toward the artform of hip-hop and a genre including music, dance, art and rap. After a couple of events, the HHCF launched the successful Kings Invitational tournament featuring rap artists, martial artists and spoken word poets. One mainstay of HHCF events has been the panel discussion looking at how chess, martial arts and hip-hop are drawn together in a common cultural landscape.

    FLASHBACK from Kings Invitational!

    From left, Rakaa of Dilated Peoples, Daaim Shabazz, Creator/Webmaster of The Chess Drum, RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, and Josh Waitzkin, former National Chess Champion and author of the book “Art of Learning” speak on a panel at the Hip-Hop Chess Federation Tournament at the San Francisco Design Center in San Francisco on Saturday. (Photo by Karna Kurata/Staff)

    Last month, RZA of the WuTang clan launched wuchess.com which has received the help of chesspark.com to create a community of chess and hip-hop enthusiasts. The site is built as a social networking site and has gained momentum in the last month. Challenges remain, but…

    …in case you didn’t know. Hip-Hop chess is on…
    check out wuchess.com!

  14. I have signed up on wuchess.com. My handle is “shootfilm” One of my first observations is that the chesspark users are playing with a different chess set (pieces) than the wuchess.com members. Please be aware.
    I look at the chess notation to verify moves, because the pieces are a little difficult on the eyes for me.
    Also, you must make sure that your move is registered. I have experienced glitches where it looks like my move was made but my clock is still ticking. So I just click on the square where the piece I intended to move was and try again. It will eventually take. Just make sure you monitor that clock.
    They do start you with an unusually high rating (1500) so expect some inflation. However, this may balance out with people loosing games because of glitches or piece unfamiliarity. I won my first game with ease and lost the second one because I missed my queen being attacked by a strange looking bishop! I cried out loud, “that was a bishop?”
    Look for me on wuchess.com, I also play on chess.com as “shootfilm”, ICC as “amun”, fics as “shootfilm”.

  15. Yep… they have to check those glitches. As I said in an above post, I lost when I moved and the system didn’t register it. My opponent’s clock was ticking, but in actuality my clock was still ticking and I flagged! 😐

  16. Just got off of wuchess.com. Played two games… won them over some 2000-player. The pieces are still a pain. The first one I swindled my opponent, but the second game here.

    (Note: Update… played a 2300 a couple games and split. Second game I had a mouse slip and resigned a few moves later.)

  17. I sent Frank Johnson (shootfilm.net) my extra wuchess t-shirt and he wore it to the chess park in downtown Atlanta. He told me he got a lot of comments on it from players and non-players alike. I’m sure it had to do with the Wu Tang symbol! He also told me a story about driving to the World Open (from Atlanta to Philadelphia) and being told by a South Carolina policeman that he also played on wuchess.com. Unbelievable.

  18. I decided to log on to wuchess.com for the first time in a month and they finally have an option to change the pieces. However. when reviewing games it still provides the “wu” pieces. Here’s the last game I played.

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