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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review: Viswanathan Anand: My Career, Volume 2

In a timely appearance, my review of the DVD Viswanathan Anand: My Career, Volume 2 is now online at ChessCafe. It is also permanently archived here. This is a brief excerpt:

Volume 1 of Viswanathan Anand: My Career covered Anand’s career through 1999. Volume 2 begins in the year 2000 and includes games as recent as June 2008. This DVD contains 1,037 of Anand’s games during this period, and he annotates a number of them over the course of the more than four hours of video segments. As in the first volume, he adds personal and humorous anecdotes along the way.

For example, in September of 2000, Anand won the FIDE World Cup tournament. He was met with throngs of fans upon his arrival in India, many of whom thought that winning the World Cup meant that he was now the world champion. When asked what his next plans were, he explained that he hoped to win the World Championship later that year in New Delhi and they asked, “Are there two world championships in one year?” Anand was caught a bit off-guard until he realized the fans’ misunderstanding. “I thought that was cute,” he says.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anand Wins !!

After 11 games and a surprising championship, Viswanathan Anand retains his world championship. For excellent coverage of what occurred in the match, see Susan Polgar's blog or the Chessdom website.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

2009 U.S. Women's Championship Comes to St. Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, which previously announced that it has been selected to host the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, has also been awarded the 2009 U.S. Women's Championship.

You can read more about it here.


Friday, October 10, 2008

SuperNationals IV website now available

The website for SuperNationals IV is now available. The mega-tournament, combining the elementary school, junior high and high school national championships, is scheduled to take place April 3-5, 2009 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. Over 5300 players participated at SuperNationals III, in 2005.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What Others Say About Scholastic Chess

My October Scholastic Chess ChessCafe column is now online, and I'm appreciative of the many top scholastic chess personalities throughout the U.S. who took the time to share their thoughts with me about why so many kids ultimately drop out of chess, and what might be done about it.

I heard back from a broad spectrum of interested parties. There were young players, some in high school, and some in college. I heard from parents, and I heard from teacher/coaches and I heard from chess administrators and organizers. This list consists of one grandmaster, several international masters, and some of the leading scholastic chess coaches, teachers and organizers in the country. It’s certainly not all-inclusive – many others with valuable opinions could have been included as well, but the people quoted herein are the individuals who shared their thoughts with me as of press time. Additional opinions and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Future of Scholastic Chess

“Where Have You Gone, Rachels, Shaked & Rao?” is the title of an interesting article by FM Mike Klein in the September 2008 issue of Chess Life magazine. It is essentially a brief “where are they now” piece profiling Stuart Rachels, Tal Shaked and Vivek Rao, all of whom were young talents who achieved significant success in chess, only to leave the world of competitive chess in their prime, or even before reaching their prime.

This of course, is nothing new. Even the reasons why “chess dropouts” occur are not a mystery. But I was interested in hearing from those closest to this issue – players, coaches, parents, teachers, administrators – what might be done to stem the flow. Here are the questions I posed to them:

1. What can be done to remedy the common situation in which talented youngsters often drift away from chess after high school?

2. Should anything be done? Is it fair to try to encourage kids to devote serious time to chess when, at least at present, it is virtually impossible to make a decent living from chess?

3. What suggestions might you offer to encourage greater corporate or government involvement in the financial support of chess in K-12 schools and colleges/universities? Should there be any government involvement?

4. Imagine that the USCF is financially healthy and free from the infighting and turf battles that have raged for years. Also imagine that a five-year $10,000,000 grant ($2,000,000 per year) has been provided for the support of scholastic and college chess. How might you allocate such funds and what type of five-year plan might you offer?

Responses to the first two of these questions from a broad spectrum within the chess community - players, parents, coaches, administrators - appear in my ChessCafe Scholastic Chess column, due to appear next Wednesday, with the final two questions to be covered in my November column.

But I'm interested in your thoughts as well. You can e-mail me at


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