Howard defeats Tuskegee 3-1 in Collegiate Showdown!

In 2002, Vaughn Bennett had begun to contact The Chess Drum about Howard University's Chess Club and the activities they were organizing. Since then the prestigious university has increased its activity which has culminated in an appearance at the Pan-Am Intercollegiate tournament last year in Miami. Around the same time that year, Tuskegee club adviser Dr. Steven Dowd (University of Alabama-Birmingham) contacted The Chess Drum asking about the possibility of running an article on Tuskegee University, another famous historically-Black university. Despite the fact that both schools are known more for their academic history than their chess, they have much more in common… chess!

The Schools

Tuskegee University Chess Club had hosted IM-elect Stephen Muhammad after The Chess Drum's Dr. Daaim Shabazz served as the liaison between Jack Wilson (who was club President at the time) and Mr. Muhammad. A contact was made, a date was set and the event was successfully held. In a previous exchange, Wilson had told The Chess Drum that Tuskegee was scheduled to compete in the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Championship, but the funds were not forthcoming. Wilson, who has now graduated, continues to help Tuskegee in their chess ambitions.

Howard University Chess Club has been bolstered by the encouragement of Mr. Bennett who has served as adviser to many the club's activities.  Unlike Tuskegee, the university sits in a metropolis with a chess culture where there are several places to sharpen one's skills. Howard has participated in a number of tournaments (including the Pan-Ams) and has received press coverage from their accomplishments.  Most recently, the club hosted IM Oladapo Adu for a simultaneous exhibition.

The Match

Travis Hoskins, President of the Howard University Chess Club had been informing The Chess Drum about certain chess events when Dr. Shabazz had suggested contacting the Tuskegee for a possible match. Afterward e-mail were exchanged and the two teams decided to meet on Yahoo! chess server to play a four-board match. The results were as follows:

Typically, chess clubs suffer at these schools because of lack of experience, lack of consistency and lack of university support.  Activities like the Internet match can go a long way into creating a healthy competitive spirit amongst the schools and perhaps it is the beginning of more participation and collaboration between historically-Black institutions.

Related Stories

The Chess Drum, "Howard University hosts Homecoming Chess Festival!!," 15 October 2002.

The Chess Drum, "Howard University on the Chess Map!" 23 December 2002.

The Chess Drum, "Tuskegee University makes mark in Collegiate Chess!," 22 February 2003.

The Chess Drum, "Tuskegee welcomes Stephen Muhammad! " 6 April 2003.

The Chess Drum, "IM Adu defeats Howard University" 12-1, 2 March 2004.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 3 April 2004