There is a petition circulating to invite the gold medal winning U.S. Olympiad team to the White House. After the momentous victory in Baku, Azerbaijan, there was little fanfare and barely any recognition of the historic accomplishment apart from chess media. Nationally, there was hardly any media coverage, no airport reception, no celebration and certainly no invite to the White House by the administration. In the past, Obama has endorsed chess activities prior to assuming the highest office.
Senator Barack Obama on the Harlem Children’s Zone
As it were, a new administration will be ushered in on January 20th under Donald J. Trump. It is long overdue to honor a team most of whom developed and nurtured an interest in chess in America, but reflect a variety of experiences. The petition was launched on December 22, 2016 and requires 100,000 signatures to be considered. The petition reads in part:
As the US Men’s Olympic Chess team won the gold medal in the 2016 World Chess Olympiad Open event held recently in Baku for the first time since 1976 and for the sixth time overall, and because they truly reflect the diversity and competitive spirit of America they have earned a visit to the Whitehouse in similarity to the NFL, Baseball, or NCAA champions.
In a country that gives football, baseball and basketball top billing, it is time to show that chess has made a cultural resurgence on the cultural landscape as thousands of schoolchildren are becoming exposed to the game and thus gaining a number of social benefits. Each of the members of the U.S. Olympiad team were noted players in their youth and it has provided them with opportunities to realize their potential. Short of winning a world championship, this accomplishment is perhaps the crowning achievement in chess and one of the most difficult. Sign the petition today so that U.S. chess and its top players can be recognized with the honor they deserve.