In Other News: Sweet 16 Edition does a deep dive on chess streaming while channeling a classic 1980s music video.

In Other News: Sweet 16 Edition

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

It's well past time to clean out the "In Other News" bin. Just since the turn of the year, the news team has taking trips to Johannesburg, Wijk aan Zee, Reykjavik, Berlin, Gibraltar, Moscow, Oslo, and Bunratty, although the memories of that last one are a little hazy.

The world's Uber drivers and laundromats have profited off of our itinerant lifestyles. But while the passport stamps pile up, so does our backlog of smaller news stories.

Today's "In Other News" will be a rapid-fire collection of 16 chess-related news stories from the past few months. Click on the ones you are interested in and skip the articles that don't muster your interest.

1) Historical chess pieces found in Norway

Archaeologists are "baffled" after the recent finding of 800-year-old chess pieces in a house in Tønsberg, Norway. The piece is not anthropomorphic; instead it has elements of Islamic design.

Lewis Chessmen

These slightly more famous chess pieces likely date from about 100 years before the new finds. The Lewis Chessmen are thought to have originated in Norway before being found in Scotland in the 19th century. This collection is housed in the British Museum in London. | Photo: Mike Klein/

2) Finally -- handball chess!

The village of Dieppe in Normandy, France, has found a way to make lanky brainiacs happy. That's right -- they've combined handball and chess. It's so obvious in hindsight, isn't it? Let's hope there's some open space left on the Bayeux Tapestry to commemorate the sport's best players.


If "le hand-échecs" is not your idea of a good combo, this beach in Normandy also allow you to mix land windsurfing and dog walking. | Photo: Mike Klein/

3) Inspiring story of female chess players in Pakistan

In a recent school-vs-school match, a group of talented girls recently beat the boys from an elite school 24-4. What's remarkable is the location -- Pakistan, a country that has only sent a team to the Women's Olympiad since 2008. The country has a mere eight rated female players (remarkably three are titled as WCMs!). Is the next Phiona Mutesi of Pakistan among the group? Or should we label her the Malala Yousafzai of chess?

4) Kasparov's thoughts on AI

If there's two things we know our readers enjoy, it's discussions by GM Garry Kasparov, or anything involving artificial intelligence. What would have made this a triple-play would be if there was accusations of cheating in a tournament. Alas, you'll have to settle for two out of three.


GM Garry Kasparov, who is seemingly in print every day. | Photo: Mike Klein/

5) Agon/World Chess opens chess bar in Moscow

While much has been discussed regarding Agon's organization of the 2018 Candidates' Tournament, for those in attendence at the VIP room at the 2016 World Championship, one element went over very well: the bar. "World Chess Club Moscow" claims to be the only chess club in the world with a bar (more pictures here). Well, the Saint Louis Chess Club did buy the bar/restaurant next door to it, but since the pass-through door is locked most of the time, I think that could disqualify them!

And for the chess-playing mixologists out there, it does seem that the Muscovite bartenders have a better bitters selection than The Kingside Diner, anyway.


Slinging drinks at the chess bar. Photo courtesy World Chess Club's Facebook page.

6) Long read of the month -- Great retrospective on the 1986 Olympiad

A lot more newspapers carried chess columns in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. While chess fans are getting their news faster than ever, many of the longer-form pieces have gone the way of adjournments. 

We're not sure why this Dubai, 1986 retrospective popped up recently on this reporter's radar, but I hope you enjoy it was much as I did. GM Lubomir Kavalek, who still writes about chess (now for the "Huffington Post"), details with fascinating quotes and off-the-board intrigue the Soviet-American battle that year.


GM Yasser Seirawan beat GM Garry Kasparov at the 1986 Olympiad. He's still fighting for the Americans, most recently as the coach of the USA women's team here at the 2016 Olympiad in Baku. | Photo: Mike Klein/

7) Chess player to go for top economics job?

If you google "Dana Reizniece-Ozola," the first few results will be her Wikipedia page and details about her current term as minister of finance in Latvia. Scroll a little further and you'll see that WGM Dana Reizniece-Ozola is also the number two female player in her country.

Dana Reizniece-Ozola

WGM Dana Reizniece-Ozola in her "day job." Photo: Wikipedia.

Late last year, she was one of the four country finance ministers vying for the presidency of the Eurogroup, an "informal body where ministers of euro area member states discuss matters of common concern in relation to sharing the euro as the single currency."

Alas, the finance minister of Portugal won, but he can't put "beating GM Hou Yifan" on his resume!

8) The behind-the-scenes life of Caruana

Is being Fabiano "fabulous" as WGM Jen Shahade often alliterates? Some of this interview will be his well-known career history, but GM Fabiano Caruana also talks tournament regimen, hustlers, trash-talking, his love of Led Zeppelin, and a rather comical would-be pseudonym.

What is his favorite game ever? He equivocated a little, but no surprise that he thought back to the magical 2014 Sinquefield Cup. He called this "one of my best games ever":

9) Ballet honors Paul Keres

Estonia already printed their favored son on a banknote, then he was coined when Estonia changed from the krooni to the euro. So, honoring national hero GM Paul Keres with a ballet shouldn't be too surprising.

The dancing will mimic the "mythical match that never took place" (Keres famously never got to play for the world championship). Choreographers also noted that the symbolism can also allude to the "lost opportunity of the Estonian nation."


Yes, Paul Keres was on a stamp too! This was from when Estonia was part of the Soviet Union. Photo: Wikipedia.

Want to see the ballet? It will be performed in Tallinn and Tartu in September, and then in Keres' birth town Narva next year.

10) The rise of chess streamers

This fantastic article chronicles the birth of the Chessbrahs and their devil-may-care attitude to building the world's most popular chess streaming channel. Other top streamers and's own IM Danny Rensch are also interviewed as the author analyzes the rise of online chess personalities and the piggybacking of chess on esports culture.

Extra kudos to the producer of the piece, who not only nailed the Dire Straits reference in the title, but continued that theme throughout by mimicking their "Money for Nothing" video:

11) Surreal chess day at Dali Museum

No, this is not GM Baadur Jobava playing chess in Spain, although to some his moves are surreal. Instead, on March 29 you can catch numerous lectures and activities at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL.

The "Surreal Simuls" will be given by WGM Jen Shahade and NM Corey Acor

12) Anna Muzychuk and Reynaldo

Not much commentary needed. One of the world's best female players and one of the world's best football stars, proudly showing off each other's jersey.

Muzychuk Reynaldo

GM Anna Muzychuk and "RM" Cristiano Reynaldo. RM for Real Madrid :-) Photo: Anna Muzychuk's Facebook page.

13) English FM jumps from bridge

FM Peter Poobalasingam, 27, former winner of the UK Chess Challenge, died last September after reportedly jumping from a 15-foot wall onto a road. A recent inquest analyzed how he was able to walk free from a medical center where he was being detained.

He was also a chess coach, and the article mentions that one of his students went on to become a British champion after Poobalasingam passed. The incident continues the sad and odd history of young chess players jumping to their death, most famously GM Lembit Oll in 1999.

Here's an exciting draw that Poobalasingam played with GM Mark Hebden:

14) IM's Kriegspiel research

What happens when an international master becomes an academic but gets back to his chess roots? You get a research paper on imperfect information and game theorist Lloyd Shapley in the journal "Games and Economic Behavior."

Let's hope you have access! If not, the information will remain imperfect :-)

15) Duchamp-Cage chess match

A half-century ago, a cubist and an avant-garde musician played a chess match. No, it's not the leadup to a joke.

Marcel Duchamp, former competitor in the French Championship, beat John Cage, a musician perhaps best known for a composition called 4'33." In it, a musician just sits there for that length of time. Or as well call might call it in the chess world, a good way to get in time trouble. 

No record of the moves exist (Duchamp won 2-0) but the real story was the chessboard, where the sounds of the movements of the pieces were amplified through tubes and wires:


Look at those wires! DGT eat your heart out. Marcel Duchamp awaits the hand and the move of John Cage. Photo: Shigeko Kubota and courtesy the John Cage Trust).

16) GM Anatoly Lein, 1931-2018

GM Anatoly Lein, a former top-40 world player, died March 1 in Ohio, less than two weeks after the passing of his wife. Lein was born in St. Petersburg, USSR (then Leningrad) and beat world champions GM Mikhail Tal in (in 92 moves) and GM Vasily Smyslov (in 108 moves!) in his career. He became Russian champion in 1963 and helped the Soviets win the European Team Championship two years later.

Sightly after his prime he was given permission to move to the U.S. in 1976. He would win the U.S. Open and World Open the same year. Lein played in one Olympiad for his adopted country (Beunos Aires 1978) and helped the Americans win team bronze on board three.

In 2004, Lein was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.


GM Anatoly Lein, 1931-2018.

FM Mike Klein

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Mike Klein began playing chess at the age of four in Charlotte, NC. In 1986, he lost to Josh Waitzkin at the National Championship featured in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." A year later, Mike became the youngest member of the very first All-America Chess Team, and was on the team a total of eight times. In 1988, he won the K-3 National Championship, and eventually became North Carolina's youngest-ever master. In 1996, he won clear first for under-2250 players in the top section of the World Open. Mike has taught chess full-time for a dozen years in New York City and Charlotte, with his students and teams winning many national championships. He now works at as a Senior Journalist and at as the Chief Chess Officer. In 2012, 2015, and 2018, he was awarded Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. He has also previously won other awards from the CJA such as Best Tournament Report, and also several writing awards for mainstream newspapers. His chess writing and personal travels have now brought him to more than 85 countries.

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