The Chess Drum is 16 Years old!

The Chess Drum,

Dear friends and supporters,

During this Black History Month in the U.S., there are usually many stories about the history of people who have made tremendous contributions to the evolution of history in the country. Many of these figures would be unknown and obscure to most, but may also include figures that extend across the African Diaspora.

Carter G. Woodson founded “Negro History Week” to highlight the accomplishments of these figures and it later became “Black History Month.” There have been some who scoff at the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, but certainly we are to celebrate this history throughout the year.

Since February 12, 2001, it has been my mission to highlight the accomplishment of Black chess players around the world and provide a forum to show the universality of chess. The beauty is that chess has touched every corner of the earth and practically every demographic segment. Some stories would not usually see the light of day. There are also those human interest stories that are so much more compelling than who won a particular tournament in a certain year. “Queen of Katwe” was one such story that was covered at The Chess Drum extensively. This beautiful story showed a value in chess apart from its competitive nature. It demonstrated triumph over tragedy.

The Chess Drum has also covered many important events in its sixteen years. The first event was the Wilbert Paige Memorial in Harlem, New York, but the site has provided coverage to several Olympiads, national championships, and elite tournaments. In October, we were beating the Drum from Atlantic City to cover the Millionaire Chess Open and in November, we carried live coverage of the World Chess Championship in New York. In a couple of weeks, “Triple Exclam” will be released to the public and highlight the life and games of IM Emory Tate. While Tate was known for his tactical wins, his story will evoke discussion about this multifaceted figure.

To date, The Chess Drum is posted dozens of interviews, thousands of news articles, and tens of thousands of photos. Where does the site go from here? In coming months, the site will focus on a number of book projects and less on news coverage. There will still be the pursuit of human interest stories to highlight rare stories and unheralded heroes with some emphasis on video productions.

Thanks for your support and keep the beat going!!


Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum


  1. Cake presented to me in 2003.

    The “eternal” birthday cake presented to me in 2003 by Kay Umeakunne. This was the nicest gift I had ever received in appreciation for The Chess Drum! It was delicious! 😀

  2. Congratulations on 16 years of publishing!
    I read it sometimes & today I was reminded of it because Ben from Nigeria is playing in Hastings.
    I read about the many black people who get good but then have to give up the competitive side of chess to earn a living. This happens to many other people as well.
    I’d like to point out that you don’t have to become a titled player aged 15! I know someone who became a GM aged 39 & another person became a FM aged 60 after retirement age.
    It’d be great if more black people came back to chess after they got a job etc. This would not only encourage youngsters but would also help against the prejudice that chess is only for young people.
    Even if you don’t achieve a title later on, the game itself is exciting & great fun – so why not pick it up again when you have more time? It’s certainly better than wasting time accumulating riches.

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