Hillary Clinton Needs Help Finding Irina Krush, And Other News

Hillary Clinton Needs Help Finding Irina Krush, And Other News

| 28 | Chess Event Coverage

What happens when a leading comedian hosts a talk show, invites a U.S. presidential candidate, and creates a panel comprising a female grandmaster and two imposters?

This month's "In Other News" once again covers the gamut of the weird, extraordinary, and lesser-known events in chess.

Grab your coffee, or if you're Nakamura, Red Bull, or if you're Carlsen, Isklar. Point and click away in this first part of two segments this month.

Can Hillary Clinton Identify GM Irina Krush?

Last month we highlighted that Bernie Sanders is a chess player. But what chess knowledge does his Democratic rival have?

While not campaigning for President of the United States, Secretary Clinton stopped by the "Steve Harvey Show" and played a questioning game where she attempted to identify the real GM Krush.

Interestingly, all three women (Krush and her two dopplegangers) memorized Krush's actual history. When Clinton and Harvey grilled them, their answers all accurately line up with Krush's real biography.

Clinton's three choices -- they are wore the same cut dress and had roughly the same hair cut and color.

Did the would-be president select correctly? You'll have to watch to find out.

This was essentially the inverse of the famous Bobby Fischer appearance on "I've Got a Secret" where a teenage Fischer was known to be the famous invitee, but the panel had to guess the nature of his fame.

From 'Brooklyn Castle' To Cadillac Pitch Man

Staying on the small screen, we turn to FM Justus Williams, who is best known to many chess players as one of the middle schoolers featured in the 2012 documentary "Brooklyn Castle."

While still progressing in his chess, he's not yet the "second African-American chess grandmaster" as the copy writer asserted. Still, he may have found a new talent -- spokeperson for a luxury car company. Although at 18 he just barely qualifies for a full driving license in New York State, he's now pitching cars for Cadillac.

Here's the commercial, first shown to most U.S. audiences on the biggest advertising stage of them all, Super Bowl 50.

Sure, Magnus Carlsen signed with the even higher-end car maker Porsche, but he's still learning how to drive that Tesla he bought.

'Professional Chess Player' Turned Software CEO

One of the popular media tropes about chess players is "devoted artist specializing in an unsung craft." This article from "Business Insider" is unique -- chess wasn't the glorified but austere art form -- but rather the hindrance to Poojan Kumar's more lucrative career.

While studying to be a "chess champion" and with people calling him the next "Vishy Anand" (the author does not give an antecedent to these "people"), his father abruptly ended his son's chess days due to what he saw as a lack of compensation in the sport.

Poojan Kumar, CEO of PernixData.

There seems to be hyperbole on both sides. There's no Poojan Kumar that this author could find on the FIDE list, so talk of a "professional career" seems speculative. In another interview, Kumar stated that he once played a game with someone he "came to know later was the world's #3 chess champion." (It seems incongruous for a professional player not to know most of the top 10 players in the world!)

Whatever the exaggeration with his chess bona fides, his full ride to Stamford and eventual creation of PernixData, a data company, shows that he likely made the right decision. Thanks a lot dad!

Millionaire Chess Open Will Return

After several kinks in the second edition in October, 2015, Millionaire Chess Organizers GM Maurice Ashley and Amy Lee were not sure what the future held. They announced last month that although the "possibility of cancelling the event remained on the table until mid-January," Millionaire Chess 3 will take place from October 6-10, 2016.

The event will switch coasts. Atlantic City, New Jersey is the new home, just a little more than an hour from New York City. That firmly places the Greater New York area as the place to be this fall -- the world championship will take place one month later.

Ashley and Lee said in a statement that they are courting the greater concentration of chess players on the East Coast. The tournament will restructure and will halve the entry fee (down to either $500 or $549 -- the press release cites both numbers) and the prize fund (down nearly half to $510,000).

In response to last year's first-round pairings issues, they've instituted these new procedures but will need them to be implemented with a new chief tournament director after the passing of IA Sevan Muradian. Ashley and Lee are also committed to answering the calls of past players. In response to a survey, they've made these changes too.'s Hour-Long School Takeover

Last month's scholastic site,, held a worldwide competition that challenged schools to play live chess or do puzzles for one full hour across the school. More than 50 schools took part, with several having many hundreds of students online at once during the school day.

One lucky school in Pennsylvania won 500 gold memberships, and several other schools received positive local press (kids playing chess is usually a feel-good story). Here's a short report and video from Madison City Schools in Alabama, where the entire district played chess for one hour at the same time.

"To be able to play chess during the school day really emphasizes how important we see chess in education," said Ranae Bartlett, the Executive Director of the Madison City Chess League.

Madison City Schools also offers gold memberships to every student learning chess. One of their schools, Rainbow Elementary, is the reigning National K-6 Under 1000 Team Champion.

Rainbow Elementary with IM Danny Rensch ("Poppabear" on in the black shirt on the back row.

3D Printer Turned Chess Robot

We've had stories in this column before on 3D printers that create chess pieces, and on robots that play chess. But here we have a tinkerer who has morphed the two disciplines into one.

Patrick Graham retrofitted an old 3D printer with electromagnets, and scaled down the chessboard into seven inches to allow the limited arm to reach every square. Eventually a chess robot came into being, making this one of the more MacGyver chess sets around.

Patrick Graham's homemade chess robot. The nails are in the pieces to make them all a uniform height.

By the way, according to a search on, "chess" appeared in conversation or on the screen several times during the show's seven-year run, including the pilot episode, where a game was played via telex.

Check back soon on for part two of "In Other News," coming soon.

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