News at the HipHop Chess Event! at the HipHop Chess Event!

| 7 | Chess Event Coverage was invited to attend the 1st Annual Chess Kings Invitational organized by the Hip-Hop Chess Federation in San Francisco this past weekend. We thought it would be interesting to meet some of the advertised people like: hiphop artist RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, MMA fighter Ralek Gracie, chess celebrity Josh Waitzkin, and the brains behind famed CHESSMASTER software. So Jay and I packed it in and headed up to the city for a day of chess!

The event was late to start (coordinating celebrities?!) so Jay and I blitzed on the sidewalk for a while before the event. Once we got inside we saw that a lot of effort had gone into choosing and preparing the location. It was really neat. We wandered around and met many people. One familiar face was FM Eric Schiller who spoke with us for a long time about making a living as a professional chess author, arbiter, and spokesman among other things.

Jay and I then spotted the food and an empty table where we stacked up on eggrolls and crab cakes (thanks to the generous sponsors ;) ) and sat down for more blitz. We then bumped into Sam and Maya of Ubisoft. Sam manages the ChessMaster brand and was on hand for a few questions. Basically, this next ChessMaster is going to be a big step forward! Very excited. Maya is in charge of PR and promised to get us a copy so we can review the game. Then we met Phil, the former main ChessMaster guy who basically brought the product to the level it is today. Phil was a darned tough blitz opponent!

Pretty soon everyone started to gather to hear the special lecture about how hip-hop, chess, and MMA (mixed martial arts) are all similar and all in pursuit of perfection and learning. It was definitely an interesting point of view!

After the lecture was a huge tournament where hip-hoppers and MMA dudes clashed over the board to win an obnoxiously large WWF-style belt! It was hilarious. Josh Waitzkin was trying to give a running commentary on the games that ranged from comically bad to decently well-played. In the end it was RZA who took home the crown of "Top Hip-Hop Chess Playa".

Overall a fun and thought-provoking event! 


Check out all the photos here!

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