Bishop Chronicles Podcast 2021
Exclusive with RZA from Wu-Tang Clan
RZA Poses with a 13k Purling London Chessboard
on Cover of Chess Life Magazine!

January 2, 2021 San Francisco, CA (HHCF) – Bishop Chronicles Podcast hosted by Hip-Hop author and journalist Adisa the Bishop is proud to announce Saturday, Jan 2, 2021 on YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes. It will debut on www.PharcydeTV.com at 12 noon PST.

The exclusive video is being released in tandem with RZA on the January 2021 cover story Chess Life Magazine (@uschess on Instagram). It celebrates the impact of the Wu-Tang Clan on chess in America and around the world. RZA shares his love for chess, the impact of Black American chess icon Emory Tate, and his reason for creating a creative retreat for young professionals with Tazo Tea called “Camp Tazo” (done pre-corona). RZA even shares one of his favorite vegan recipes that he cooks for his family!

“The RZA delivers like never before on his passion for chess and the impact it has had on his life and those around him,” says Adisa the Bishop. “It is an honor beyond words to be chosen to do a story on RZA for Chess Life Magazine. As soon as I got the opportunity, I called the CEO of Purling London in the UK and they flew it out to LA just so Mike Relm (@mikerelm) could do the shoot with RZA. To call this cover story historic, for the world of chess and Hip-hop, is an understatement.”

The chessboard RZA sits in front of is a $13,000.00 chessboard provided by Purling London (@purlinglondon on IG) based in the UK. Art Chess sets by Purling London are individually hand-painted by specially commissioned British and international artists and no two sets are the same. This otherworldly Art Chess set by Bristol-based street artist, Cheba, has a galactic theme inspired by the Hubble Telescope photographs. In order to simulate the concept of planets, stars and swirling nebulae, the semi-translucent chess board features glitter and spray paint set within 8 hand-poured layers of resin. This one-of-a-kind chess board is highly polished and complemented by sparkling hand-spray painted chess pieces.

People can read the full RZA cover story online at www.uschess.org

To watch the entire RZA interview on Bishop Chronicles episode, subscribe on:

# # #

About HHCF: The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is the world’s first nonprofit (501c3) to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence. They host lectures, panels, and celebrity chess events to help at-risk, gang-impacted and gang intentional youth make better decisions in life. The HHCF has been featured on Good Morning America, Forbes, Chess Life, VIBE and Rolling Stone.

Visit www.BishopChronicles.com today and LISTEN to some of the coolest interviews in entertainment, business strategy and technology on the net.

For more information visit www.bishopchronicles.com or follow @bishopchronicles on Instagram!

There is a wave of chess awareness stemming from the TV series “Queen’s Gambit,” but there are a growing number of movies with chess as the recurring theme. Several years ago “Life of a King” hit the movie theaters and was a movie based on the life of Eugene Brown, who spent 18 years in federal prisons on the east coast.

With all the excitement of the fantastical “Queen’s Gambit” Netflix series, there is a wonderful story that we must continue to revisit because it shows the true power of chess as a reformative tool. It is not a movie based on someone attempting stardom or trying to become a Grandmaster, but someone who is merely trying to find a way to chart a course in life and using chess as a powerful tool.

Brown gave a Ted Talk a few years back and talked about his story. Although he didn’t mention the movie “Life of a King,” it remains a must-see and stars renowned actor Cuba Gooding Jr. who plays Brown in the movie. He still runs the Big Chair Chess Club in the DC area.

To appreciate this story even more, listen to Brown’s inspiring talk!

Video by TedxHickory

Malawi Malawi Malawi

Susan Namangale
President of Malawi Chess Federation

We’ve heard of “Queen of Katwe,” but what about “Queen of Lilongwe?” Malawi is making moves and is poised for a banner year with Susan Namangale at the helm. Two years ago she gave an interview to Africa Chess Media in which she gave her background and evolution to be the head of the Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM). She holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science from the University of Malawi and a Master’s of Business Administration from Indira Gandhi University. She succeeded Kezzie Msukwa who has taken on a role and Malawi’s Parliament. Namangale the current chairperson of the Continental Women’s Chess Commission for Africa.

While it is not surprising that a woman has taken such a role of President, there are plenty of women on the continent who are waiting for an opportunity to shine. Below is a story of their general meeting in November. Also included was an interview conducted in 2018 before the Chess Olympiad where the Malawians were there in force. Keep an eye on Malawi!

Malawians in Batumi, Georgia watching teammate Desiderata Nkhoma
get a sketch done by Temur Dadiani. Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Malawians attending Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia watching teammate Desiderata Nkhoma get a sketch done by Temur Dadiani. Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Duncan Mlanjira, “CHESSAM strides to strengthen chess structures by demarcating districts into zones,” nyasatimes.com, 24 November 2020.

Africa Chess Media: https://africachessmedia.com/2018/12/12/who-is-the-president-of-malawi-chess-federation-interview/

The year was 2020. While the number is associated with clear vision no one could’ve seen this coming. The year was filled with hope just as “2000,” “2010” had before. Each decade we hope for a new era filled with hopes and dreams, but the first year of the decade was one that will go down in infamy. The emergence of the coronavirus resulted in untold numbers of death and despair and literally brought the global economy to a standstill.

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

To date, nearly 84 million have been afflicted with the deadly virus with the U.S. accounting for the largest percentage of the 1.8 million having succumbed (353,000+). However, there were some historic developments. The virus did delay the completion of the 2020 World Candidates tournament, but the elite players kept busy as there were a number of elite tournaments staged with Magnus Carlsen in the middle of the action hosting his own online chess tour. Maurice Ashley organized a new format with “Clutch Chess” in which the points had heavier weights as the tournament wore on.

Online activity exploded and the quarantine restrictions kept people in their homes and many adjusted to a hibernated lifestyle. For the chess community, it turned out to be a silver lining, and online chess activity increased dramatically. Streamers developed Twitch channels with Hikaru Nakamura leading the charge and making inroads for chess popularization.

In March, we ran an article here, “Will the coronavirus change OTB chess?” We already know that online chess had become a popular place for chess activity since the 1990s, but now organizations scrambled to convert their signature tournaments onto chess servers. On a positive note for chess we saw how chess communities like Ghana, Senegal and other regions were dealing with COVID-19.

Perhaps the second monumental event was the protest involving the death of George Floyd. The outrage in the aftermath of his death led to a worldwide outpouring of support in the fight against social injustice. The topic of racism became an international discussion and The Chess Drum made a few contributions including “George Floyd and the Right to Thrive.”

While we want to have an honest discussion on these issues, we have to be careful not to paint an overly dire or overly naive picture. FIDE’s Statement on Racism got a response here. On the issue of whether chess is a racist game? We covered that in “Is Chess Inherently Racist?

On a lighter note we saw commercials on Maurice Ashley (Hennesey) and Watu Kobese (Mazda). Both highlight legendary figures, and Kobese’s story was especially touching.

Video by Mazda Southern Africa

We also found out what happened to Theophilus Thompson after I received a tip from a librarian in Fredericksburg, Maryland. Outstanding! A monument has been dedicated to this pioneering problemist with his classic book. Check out this wonderful development!

Speaking of books, there were few books we highlighted this year:

Tani Adewumi My Name is Tani
GM Viswanthan AnandMind Master
Dr. Lyndon BouahReflection on Chess in the Rainbow Nation
Atty. Bertram ScottThe History of Chess in Jamaica: 1834-1978

While online chess resulted in a “chess boom,” the run of the “Queen’s Gambit” took advantage of binge habits of quarantined families. The fictional Beth Harmon became a megastar and inspired girls worldwide to play chess. The TV fictional series was a sensation and put chess at the forefront in 2020. All types of initiatives have been launched as a result.

However, it is ironic that the the non-fictional Phiona Mutesi had no such impact in “Queen of Katwe.” The story was equally compelling but perhaps didn’t have the same relatability… two “Queens,” two different realities. Incidentally, Pearl Waligwa who taught a young Phiona the moves in the movie, succumbed to a brain tumour this year.

Death was a overarching element that most of us had to confront. On a personal note, I lost both siblings (Abraham Jr. and Ahvia) to non-COVID illnesses. In addition, I also lost acquaintances and featured several profiles for chess players in 2020. They were:

Beejay Hicks (USA)
WIM Arianne Caoili (Philippines)
Michel Nguele Viang (Cameroon)
Della-Marie Walcott (Trinidad)
IA Bob Wheeler (Jamaica)
IM Pedro Aderito (Angola)
Charu Robinson (USA)

Trinidad’s Della-Marie Walcott at
2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey
Photo by Rohan Waite

Raging Rooks of Harlem, NY

Charu Robinson of Harlem, New York
January 3, 1977 – October 13, 2020

The year 2020 was a challenge for many of us, but I am happy to say that The Chess Drum was chronicled in the latest New in Chess. The Chess Drum will be celebrating its 20th year! Thanks for the support all of these years.

New In Chess (2020-8)

Here are some of the moments to revisit…

December

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

Index of Stories (2001-2020)

The Chess Drum, LLC is a publisher of chess news content and literature. The organization’s website has continued to demonstrate the universality of chess by covering a variety of topics through news stories, essays, interviews, and photos since 2001. Visit The Chess Drum at thechessdrum.net and follow the beat on Facebook and Twitter!

In June 2020, Jamaica’s Bertram Scott has released a seminal work chronicling the chess history of the island nation. The book titled, The History of Chess in Jamaica: 1834-1978 has important content in tracing the activities of history, not only on the island but important events in the chess world.

The book is a treasure-trove of invaluable photos, authentic clippings from the Jamaica Gleaner and Scott has done a magnificent job at compiling documentation on the foundation of Jamaican chess. There are little-known tidbits of classic information such as the exploits of Arthur Ford MacKenzie, a Jamaican of English stock who developed into a pioneering problemist. In 1886, MacKenzie would publish a ground-breaking book, “Chess: Its Poetry and Prose.” Click here for one of his famous compositions (mate in two).

Some of the other highlights were clippings marking important events and included Wilheim Steinitz’s death, the exploits of Jose Capablanca and Alexander Alekhine. If you are a history buff, then this book has everything you could want. The Jamaica Chess Association was formed in 1954 and the first national championship held a year later. There was a lot of attention given to the efforts of Dr. Harold Chan who was a tireless pioneer in helping the chess gain footing on the island. A picture on page 54 of Chan drawing Mikhail Botvinnik in a 1967 simul in England is a classic.

Dr. Harold Chan with Ian Wilkinson at the 2004 Harold Chan Open
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

There was important information highlight the informal activities in the Caribbean amongst the English-speaking countries. Cuba also played a prominent role and to this day, remains the region’s dominant chess nation.

Other important points were the rise of Bobby Fischer, the Olympiad in Havana, Cuba in 1966, the founding of Jamaica Chess Federation in 1969, and the subsequent Fischer-Spassky match. The 1972 match inspired worldwide and it so happened that Jamaica Chess Federation became a member of FIDE in the same year. Attorney Enos Grant would become the first President.

The classic photos in the book were not always of very high quality, but as it is with such images, the mind can fill in the gaps. Jamaicans will appreciate some of the names in the formative years of Jamaica’s consolidation and entry onto the world scene. For those of you who may be interested, there is a photo of Maurice Ashley as a youngster in Kingston.

Maurice Ashley in Kingston, Jamaica at age 12

Frederick Cameron, John Powell, William Roper and Gilbert Smith were other names that were prominently mentioned. There is also a picture of Jamaican players with Forbes Burnham, the Prime Minister of Guyana during the 3rd Caribbean Chess Championship in Georgetown, Guyana. Dr. Hope Anderson, the first influential woman on the Jamaica scene is also lauded.

Scott also covered school-age chess which is very prominent in Jamaica with many rivalries. This revealed the breeding ground for Jamaican talent such as Neil Fairclough, Thomas Figueroa, Sheldon Wong, and Orrin Tonsingh in the 1970s. Wong is best known for winning a brilliancy prize at the 1976 World Junior against Nir Ginsberg.

Jamaica national chess team to the Central American & Caribbean Chess Championship in El Salvador 1974. From Left are – NM Robert Wheeler, 1975 joint-Jamaica champion, NM Thomas Figueroa, Arturo Armando Molina, President of El Salvador, NM Neil Fairclough (Caribbean chess champion in 1993-94), John Powell, Bd. 4 Silver Medalist at the 1984 Olympiad in Greece, and Attorney-at-Law, Dr. Enos Grant, the 1st President of the JCF. Picture submitted by Rennie Phillips.

My overall account of Scott’s work is that the content is invaluable. As he plans for his second volume The Disciples of Bobby Fischer (1979-1998), he may improve on the photo quality and also rid the copy of obvious typos and some inconsistencies. A copy editor would provide an invaluable service. There are also a number of tools that are available to help in this refinement. The layout suffered from too much crowding on some pages, but the colored diagrams in this edition were clear and crisp. The games were embedded throughout and chess quotes were on almost every page.

Any author would be able to appreciate the long hours that it takes to collect, collate, and organize such an effort. There is a matter of detail when one is embarking on a book placed in chronological order. Scott has enough insight into history, not only from being a student of Jamaican history but also from his own involvement in the critical years of Jamaica’s emergence as a chess citizen.

Bertram Scott

In the early 2000s, Bertram Scott, created the Jamaica Ambassadors Chess Academy (JACA) which focused on chess in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. It was certainly a staging ground for what would become his book on Jamaican and Caribbean history. It is not only a gift to his country and the region but to the African Diaspora.

Many people have been debating on the “future of reading” and in what ways we will consume literary content. There was a thought that everything would be moving to a digital platform. However, books and quality magazines have shown their staying power. If one joins the chess book group on Facebook, it boasts almost 30,000 members!

Any player from the Caribbean and the African Diaspora would enjoy the trip down memory lane and derive great enjoyment from this book. As the designer of my book Triple Exclam, and as a subject in this book of Jamaican history, Neil Fairclough would say there is no such thing as a “perfect book.” He would be right, but if there is an authority on the history of Caribbean chess, this would be it.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/History-Chess-Jamaica-1834-1978/

Print length: 272 pages
Language: English
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: September 8, 2020
Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
ISBN-10: 109831428X

Amazon: $37.99
BookBaby: $37.99
Bookshop: $34.99
Barnes and Nobles: $37.99

New In Chess (2020-8)

Dear chess community,

After urging from New in Chess Chief Editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, I have penned an exclusive for the world’s premier chess magazine (2020-8). Dirk and I met at either an Olympiad or one of the Grand Chess Tour events in St. Louis. As we covered one of the events, he posed the idea of me writing an article for the publication, and I agreed to the honor.

Years melted away, and one event after another, Dirk would gently serve me a reminder. After another reminder at the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, I knew it was time. Then after the 2019 Grand Chess Tour in Abidjan, I started putting my thoughts together. I felt that I would have quite a bit of good news to write about the Africa Diaspora with this development!

In the year 2020, we exchanged e-mail and as I began writing the article, tragedy struck when both of my siblings (Ahvia and Abraham Jr.) developed serious health challenges. I was able to finish the final edit before becoming consumed by their health situations. Both would eventually pass away six weeks apart. This article is dedicated to them as they taught me the gift of reading and writing.

New In Chess (2020-8)

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but New in Chess has made progressive strides going to the larger size in 2011 and broadening the horizons of coverage. In a time when digital media has diminished the demand for print media, New in Chess has shown that quality formats are still in vogue. The magazine is of coffee-table quality and has been a staple of top-level chess since 1984.

So… in the eight-page article, I give a bit of history on the beginnings of The Chess Drum and review some of the interesting moments in covering chess in the African Diaspora. There are some exciting games including annotated games of Emory Tate, Watu Kobese, Amon Simutowe and Kassa Korley. This may be the first article in the magazine’s history to feature an article on the African Diaspora.

New In Chess (2020-8)

Over the past 20 years, I have had a chance to see chess from a unique perspective. In the beginning, there were skeptics about why such a site was necessary. Decades later, The Chess Drum continues to be a platform to champion the universality of chess. The site has tens of thousands of pages of chess content and is available for the general public to enjoy.

As much as we want to extol the FIDE motto of “GENS UNA SUMUS,” there had been so little coverage of Black chess players, such a platform became a necessity. Fortunately, there have been other sites to express chess activities in the African Diaspora. Some are frankly offended that The Chess Drum exists. One day I will write the story of The Chess Drum, but for now, you’ll have to settle for this article in NIC.

KEEP THE BEAT GOING!!!

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Note: This article is not available online, nor as a single print. I do not have permission to copy and post here. You will have to purchase your magazine at NIC store! You can see my past reviews of NIC here!

The 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament is on…
top-level OTB chess resumes

The year 2020 was a very challenging one for everyone including those of us in the chess world. On the bright side, chess received a boon as a result of a surge in online activity and the popularization of live streaming on various platforms. Live streamers have led the charge in this “movement” and has been helping with the chess outreach along with the sensation of the series, “Queen’s Gambit.”

Considering all of the issues surrounding COVID-19, tournament organizers have placed a hold on many over-the-board (OTB) tournaments. In fact, the World Candidates tournament was stopped at the midway point and is expected to resume in the spring of 2021.

However, Wijk ann Zee health officials had made an announcement to allow the 14-player event. Most COVID regulations will be in effect, but face masks will be optional. The tournament begins January 15th and will last until January 31st.

The field will be strong with four of the top five players in the world including world champion Magnus Carlsen and world number two, Fabiano Caruana, last year’s winner. There is also a lot of young talent with Alireza Firoujza returning in a diverse field. Many in the top half of the field are veterans of the tournament, while the lower half is comprised of rising talents. Below Anish Giri gives an assessment of each player. There will be no Challengers section this year. The organizers released a statement in which contained the excerpt:

Unfortunately, the current conditions to organise an approved sports event, do not allow for either the Tata Steel Challengers nor the amateur players to take part in the event. Equally attendance by public will be regulated by the reigning COVID-19 regulations at the time of the tournament and will need to be confirmed at a later stage. (link)

2021 Tata Steel Tournament
January 15th-31st, 2021 (Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands)
Masters
#
Name
Title
Federation
Flag
Rating
1 Carlsen, Magnus GM Norway
2862
2 Caruana, Fabiano GM USA
2823
3 Nepomniachtchi, Ian GM Russia
2784
4 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime GM France
2784
5 Giri, Anish GM Netherlands
2764
6 Firouzja, Alireza GM FIDE
2749
7 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof GM Poland
2749
8 Harikrishna, Pentala GM India
2732
9 Dubov, Danil GM Russia
2702
10 Esipenko, Andrey GM Russia
2686
11 Guijarro, David Anton GM Spain
2675
12 Van Foreest, Jorden GM Netherlands
2671
13 Abdusattorov, Nodirbek GM Kazakhstan
2627
14 Tari, Aryan GM Norway
2618
Official Site

Official Site: https://www.tatasteelchess.com/
Schedule: Masters
Videos: (YouTube)

Barbados’ top chess player Orlando Husbands finished off the year in grand style by winning the Michael Forde Memorial Championship with a perfect record over the weekend to secure a fourth major title for 2020.

The 23-year-old International Master brushed aside each of his seven opponents and was crowned champion before the final round of games on Sunday at the Chess Centre on Exmouth Gap, Brandons, St. Michael.

IM Orlando Husbands

Having secured 11 points in the FIDE ratings, the performance will push him to a career-high rating of 2348 when the world governing body for chess updates its rankings list at the end of the month.

The triumph rounds off an amazing year for Husbands who achieved a national treble of senior titles for the second time by winning the National Open, Rapid and Blitz Championships – a feat he also accomplished in 2018.

Husbands started the Michael Forde Memorial Championship with a victory over Hannah Wilson when the tournament pushed off on December 10. He followed up with wins against Aaron Haynes, Cleveston Ifill, Emar Edwards, Louis Wilson, Kiarra Eversley, and Adam Roachford.

Ifill, the no. 2 seed who returned to competitive chess in October after an absence of more than a decade, finished second with six points – his only defeat was to Husbands in the third round.

Cleveston Ifill (left), who took second place, playing against Louis Wilson, who won the prize for the Best Player rated under 1600.

There was a thrilling battle for third place which went to Emar Edwards, who ended with four-and-a-half points. Edwards, the no. 3 seed, was among eight players separated by a half-point going into the final round.

Three players – Louis Wilson, Kiarra Eversley, and Tarquin Clark – all finished on four points and also won prizes in the process.

Wilson took fourth place on the tie break and was the Best Player rated under 1600. Eversley was fifth and also won the prize for the Best Female while Clark, who was sixth, was the Best Player rated under 1400.

The Championship, the final event on the Barbados Chess Federation’s 2020 calendar, attracted 13 entrants.

~Barbados Chess Federation

Louisville, Kentucky will host their 2nd Annual Kwanzaa Chess Bowl during the weeklong festival. Lailah Hampton-El, Executive Director of Liberated Minds Homeschool Academy, posted a flyer announcing the event on Friday, January 1st, 2021 (New Years Day). The event was also announced in an article on WLKY.com which announced other Kwanzaa activities.

2nd Kwanzaa Chess Bowl (Louisville, Kentucky)

Lailah Hampton at last year's event

Lailah Hampton-El at last year’s inaugural event

Lailah Hampton at 1st Kwanzaa Chess Bowl

Photos by Bud Dorsey

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as an outgrowth of self-awareness during the revolutionary 1960s. It became an outward expression of reverence to seven principles consistent with ancient African civilizations.

The weeklong festival (December 26th – January 1st) and features historical reflections, honoring of ancestors, music/dance tributes, storytelling, wholesome food feasts, and most importantly, self-affirming activities for children of the African Diaspora. While the festival begins the day after Christmas, there is no relation to any particular religion.

Kwanzaa Kenora Kwanzaa Kenora Kwanzaa Kenora

Kwanzaa, Swahili for “first fruits,” was created to reinforce the “Nguzo Saba,” or the seven principles identified as central to African identity: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

Alexis Matthews, “‘Family, unity, culture’: Kwanzaa celebrations begin, Louisville traditions go virtual,” WLKY.com, 26 December 2020.

Dr. Lyndon Bouah with newly-released book, “Reflection on Chess in the Rainbow Nation.” Photo courtesy of Lyndon Bouah.

Dr. Lyndon Bouah is well-known in African chess circles, but specifically for being a longtime advocate for chess in South Africa. Dr. Bouah completed his doctorate at the University of the Western Cape in 2016 with the thesis titled, “An Analysis of the Implementation of the National Sport and Recreation Plan in the Western Cape.”

He serves as the Chief Director for Sport and Recreation in the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape. Most recently, he published a new book titled, “Reflection on Chess in the Rainbow Nation,” an inside look at chess activities in South Africa. The book comes in a handsome hardback version and goes for R250 (US$17.15).

Dr. Bouah announced launched the book on FM Calvin Klaasen’s twitch channel and spent more than an hour recounting his experience and sharing his nuggets of wisdom with the live audience. These types of books are a treasure for the prosperity of growing chess communities and Dr. Bouah is planning on additional volumes.

For orders contact: dev@chesswesternprovince.co.za

Dr. Lyndon Bouah
Tel: 27 71 363 130
E-mail: Lyndon.bouah@gmail.com

Lyndon Bouah at 2004 Chess Olympia in Calvia, Spain

FIDE Delegates at 2004 Olympiad in Calvia, Spain: (L-R) Enoch Barumba (Uganda), Rugema Ngarambe (Rwanda), Lyndon Bouah (South Africa). Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

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