For the past ten years, I have attempted to make contributions to the chess community by covering worldwide events and maintaining standards of responsible journalism. Of course there will always be improvements to be made, but it has been a very interesting decade.
Being able to give talented young players inspiration is extremely important in their chess development. I enjoy writing about the rising stars and giving them a sense of history. Here I’m at the 2010 World Open with Nigel Bryant, Jehron Bryant and Darrian Robinson.
There have been some tremendous challenges along the way and there are times when fresh news is scarce and the creativity spigot has run dry. It is important to develop a niche in the sea of respectable sites covering chess. The niche of The Chess Drum has been players of African descent who badly needed and demanded a vehicle for expressing their enthusiasm for chess.
The Chess Drum covers stories that are may be otherwise missed by the media. Despite the ethnic focus, the site covers chess in all regions and provides the audience (from over 200 countries and territories) with exposure to top-level events. Chess is a universal activity and it is important that we show this to attract more enthusiasts and investors.
Me in Trinidad for the 2010 Chess Carnival.
Since its inception in 2001, The Chess Drum has remained true to that aim, but continues to cover international events as well. Some of the greatest experiences in covering chess is traveling to international tournaments and seeing how different countries express their appreciation for the sport.
As I look back on the decade of the site, there are so many great moments including coverage of three Olympiad tournaments (2004 Spain, 2006 Italy, 2008 Germany) and meeting chess players while in Bahrain, Qatar and Kenya on personal trips. Participating in tournaments in Jamaica and Trinidad have also been highlights because of the friendships I have made in these countries.
Daaim Shabazz playing Zeyad Janahi in Manama, Bahrain during a 2002 visit. IM Imed Abdelnabbi of Egypt observed.
Two of my most memorable pieces I’ve done have been when chess communities were in need. I did a piece on Sri Lanka after the tsunami in 2004. I had met the Sri Lankan delegation at the 2004 Olympiad in Calvia, Spain and they were so warm with the most beautiful smiles.
In 2010, attention was on the Haitian chess community after the earthquake devastated Port au Prince. Several articles were run (including one written for ChessBase) which led to a groundswell of support for Haiti. I had met members of the Haitian team at the 2008 Olympiad in Germany.
ten eleven facts about The Chess Drum that you may not know:
- The idea of The Chess Drum was spawned because a player asked me questions about the Black chess community that I could not answer. There had always been a lack of information on players of African descent.
- The Chess Drum was originally designed to be an international magazine focusing on chess in the Black community. A marketing plan was written for the idea during a marketing class in graduate school.
- The name “The Chess Drum” comes from the idea that the drum is a major vehicle of communication in African societies. The double entendre “Keep the Beat Going” refers to the drum beat, but also “beat” referring to the journalistic term.
- The site went live February 12th, 2001 at 12 midnight from Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
- The first website banner had a djembe drum. It only lasted a couple of months before the current banner was conceived. The shadow in the banner above is that of GM Maurice Ashley. Journalist Brian Killigrew took the photo as part of a feature in the May 1999 Chess Life after Ashley got his 3rd GM norm.
- The site now has over 8,000 pages of content including about 2,000 news stories spanning the globe. It also includes audio interviews, essays, photo galleries and a blog.
- The “Wall of Fame” page is 20 feet high and was a project completed after working on it 50 consecutive hours.
- The Indians’ humble attitudes make them a regular interview subject. I have interviewed Grandmasters Pentala Harikrisha, Krishan Sasikiran, Sandipan Chanda, Parimarjan Negi, Magesh Panchanathan and famous chess journalist Vijay Kumar.
- The audio interviews coverage a wide range of personalities including world-class players such as Hikaru Nakamura (three times) and Levon Aronian (twice).
- Their have been three video site tours… 2008, 2009 and 2010.
- The Chess Drum only has one “employee”. 🙂
It is an honor to have served the chess community for 10 years and I plan to make some changes in the coming years. There is a need to revitalize some of the features of the site such as the “How to Play Chess,” “Game Library” and “The Chess Academy” links. The site will increase reliance on multimedia platform (including videos) and social networking.
The bimonthly format of posting feature stories will be discontinued after ten years. This design was consistent with a magazine format, but has outlived its usefulness. The content from “Historic Moments,” “65th Square,” “Fire on Board!” and “Chess Crackers” will be archived and will remain available to the public.
If you have additional ideas please forward to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your support!
Keep the Beat Going!!