Chess and hockey may not seem like a natural fit, unless you're the U.S. number one. Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, a longtime fan of the NHL, will finally get his chance to play chess at a hockey game. This Sunday, March 16, he will host a chess exhibition before the Florida Panthers home game in Sunrise, Florida.
Previously, Nakamura has been invited down to the field as a special guest at St. Louis Cardinals (baseball) and St. Louis Rams (American football) games. But if you've ever talked sports with him, his hockey knowledge is probably better than yours.
GM Hikaru Nakamura on the Jumbotron at the inaugural Sinquefield Cup in 2013
Starting at 1:00 p.m., two hours before gametime, you can play chess with fellow fans. As part of the "Checkmate Pack", which is $25, you get a ticket to the game and you'll also get a chance to meet the highest-rated player in U.S. history. He's also the owner if a shiny and new 2900 bullet rating on Chess.com. There will also be appearances by the Lady Panthers and Stanley C. Panther.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to local chess clubs.
The visiting team is the Vancouver Canucks, and since Nakamura used to live in Vancouver, the best bet is that he will side with them.
The event was put together through a combination of people. The Mayor of Sunrise, Mike Ryan, has made it a concern of his to boost area chess clubs. The city runs a free weekend club. The Viola family, owners of the Panthers, are originally from Brooklyn and grew up playing chess. Add to that the involvement of Robert McLellan, the executive producer of the documentary "Brooklyn Castle
" and current NSCF marketing director - www.nscfchess.org
- and chess and hockey came together.
Nakamura, who played in a hockey jersey, and GM Gata Kamsky, after their game at the 2010 U.S. Championship (photo: Betsy Dynako)
You can order tickets here
and if you enter the promotional code "Panthers" you get $5 off.