Memoirs of an African-American Chess Master: NM Charles Covington

NM Charles Covington is one of the many talented players to come out of the Baltimore, Maryland/Washington, DC area. What's unique about NM Covington is not only his chess talents, but he is an world-class musician, an accomplished magician, a 100-square checkers expert, and a professional portrait artist. His endeavors have taken him all over the world and he has carried his music virtuosity to many concert halls around the world.

This experience has provided the opportunities to meet world-class players. One such event was the
1986 Thematic Tournament in Holland featuring GMs Jan Timman, Anthony Miles, Vlastmil Hort, John Nunn, John van der Wiel, and Zsuzsu Polgar. A Life Master in the U.S. Chess Federation, NM Covington captures these moments in his book, "Memoirs of an African-American Chess Master, Volume 1." The spiral-bound book was published in 1997 and a revised edition is forthcoming.

NM Charles Covington, world-class musician and U.S. Life Chess Master

Charles Covington

The book is an interesting compilation of essays, games, endgame studies, theoretical opening analysis, and interesting photographs. The introduction is intriguing as NM Covington gives a self-narration and describes the influences in his life. He invokes the names of many scholars of African descent, and intersperses bits of history and trivia throughout. He even raises the controversial question of Paul Morphy's  Black ancestry.

He documents some of his encounters with the likes of Black legends
NM Ken Clayton and NM Frank Street, current stars FM Emory Tate and FM William Morrison, and with Hall-of-Famers, GM Nona Gaprindashvili, GM Samuel Reshevsky, GM Bent Larsen,  and GM Viktor Korchnoi. There is even a picture of him playing GM Iser Kuperman, six-time 100-square checkers World Champion!! In his pre-tournament days, Covington also played trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie, but I won't tell you who won! The book is an interesting read, stands as a noble effort and should be an inspiration for other Black players to write books to pass on a proud legacy.

NM Charles Covington giving a simul in Baltimore, MD in 1983.

Read more about Charles Covington in "The Talking Drum"

Posted by The Chess Drum: 19 February 2002