Sean Miller interviews Shabazz (The Chess Drum)

The Chess Drum,

New Jersey native Sean Miller has been a fixture in New York for some time now. He has been active as a chess promoter and now has taken the lead in documenting chess through the lens of various personalities and events. One of his most recent projects was his “State of Chess in America” that featured a number of personalities in the form of a panel discussion. He has also launched a successful video segment called “Chess Scene in New York”. Recently, The Chess Drum’s Daaim Shabazz was featured on the segment. The first of two segments were recently made available.

Part One

Part Two

Videos by Sean Miller.


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  2. Great interview Daaim. Your comfort with the topic and passion were on full display. It always helps when one is articulate and/or eloquent and you demonstrated this at such a high level. Continue to fan the flames of passion. We in Jamaica (and I am certain all “Chess Drummers”!) wish for you and the Chess Drum even greater things going forward. Sean Miller also deserves commendation for the initiative. Keep them coming!

  3. Very nice video.
    I have a question for you.
    What is your vision to take “The Chess Drum” to the next ten, twenty years? Are you grooming some one to take over?

    1. There is no grooming plan. Frankly, to do this, one needs a particular combination of technical skills and the rest is desire, determination and consistency. Some things needed… computer/web design background, a decent skill level at chess, decent knowledge of chess history and current events of chess, journalistic ability and the desire/resources to travel abroad. The other key thing you need is… TIME! Most don’t have it and this takes a good chunk of time in addition to your full-time work. It’s easy to spend 30 hours a week on it. You have to have a flexible career.

      I have seen many, many websites and blogs come and go. Some last for five years, some last five months. One of the first respectable chess sites was I relied on it for a variety of news. Then it was gone! Mig’s Daily Dirt was by far the most important blog in the world for a few years. Then it went inactive. Some others…

      “Chess Connections”

      “Urban Chess”


      “Mig’s Daily Dirt”

      The were other like Chess Ambassadors and Africa Chess Forum. These sites, for various reasons came, and then faded. In fact, Urban Chess got a mention in New in Chess, a few months after its launch. That’s incredible when you think that it no longer existed two months later.

      You absolutely have to have a combination of skill and energy, but most of all, TIME. This is one thing we have not learned to make more of.

  4. Daaim,

    “Time and space”- arguably the two most precious commodities. Practically everything else revolves around those two. I understand the difficulty re the “grooming” but, respectfully, I think that you should start, sooner than later, the process of finding someone (or persons) to help you in a meaningful way. I know it won’t be easy, especially based on the high standards you have set, but you need an apprentice (Sorcerer’s?) or as we say in Jamaica a “PRENTO”!

    In addition to guaranteeing the longevity of this great website, this would free up more time for you to pursue other things you have spoken about such as writing books etc.

    I am going to discuss this some more with you privately, via email and otherwise. Will you be in Tromso ? That will provide a great opportunity for us to hang out. I still have fond memories of our dinner at the Calvia Olympiad, 2004 and comparing notes after witnessing, at the same event, the “attack” on GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili at the closing ceremony.

    1. Ian,

      I will be in Tromso. We have to communicate more often. There are so many things we can do in these historic times.

      The problem I have had with getting help is frankly… people have been unreliable. You have to have an undying passion for this. It has to be a priority and you have to be timely. You cannot post one story a month and think that is good enough. I have worked in journalism environments and the deadlines are unyielding. If you assign someone an article and give them a deadline and they keep missing it, you have to move on. As I said, The Chess Drum is like a baby… you have to feed it constantly and nurture it, or it dies. Well not exactly like a baby 🙂

      So many websites have died due to “child neglect”. Some sites, like tried to do too many things. It grew too fast and imploded from the weight. Other sites have been absorbed by others. ICC and have been in the business of “buyouts”. The Chess Drum has a unique niche and because of it, it has lasted and has created the acceptability of highlighting Black chess. There was a time when you could nary find a story about chess pertaining to any of the African and Caribbean countries. Now they are acceptable.

      I am looking into the possibility of enlisting technical talent, but that talent may come from a distant place. In terms of journalism, I have tried to find correspondents around the globe, but people move in and out of their interest and activity in chess. Sometimes my contacts simply disappear without notice. You then find out they had a change in their job or familial responsibilities. It’s understandable, but still you have a website to “feed” and you cannot wait on others. Chess is simply not a priority for many… especially writing about it. Most people just want to play.

  5. Daaim,

    I noticed you mentioned time. Why don’t you have a woman to take up all the time you are spending on this website? 🙂

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