Meet Kasparov, Re-Meet A Legend, Run U.S. Chess

Meet Kasparov, Re-Meet A Legend, Run U.S. Chess

| 20 | Misc

With Zurich, Grenke, Reykjavik, and Poikovsky tournaments all taking place nearly simultaneously, you might think there's no room for "other news." But this is the digital age; there's room for anything!

In this edition of's grab-bag of news, the reader can take a more active role. You can choose to meet a former world champion, learn about an American chess legend, help save a local chess shop, or even lead the 90,000 players of the U.S. Chess Federation.

Or, you can just enjoy "in other news."

Garry Kasparov To Disrupt NY

No, this doesn't mean the former world champion will be staging protests in the streets like he did while running for political office in Russia. Instead, Kasparov will be appearing at Techcrunch's "Disrupt NY" event on May 17.

The forum gives speakers a platform to discuss modern startups and new technologies that will alter the way people go about their daily lives. You can buy tickets here to see him speak.

Kasparov's talk will simultaneously serve as promotion for his book coming out next month. In "Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins," Kasparov finally gets to write at length about his 1997 rematch with Deep Blue, IBM's chess-playing computer program.


GM Garry Kasparov having some fun among his fellow grandmasters after the 2015 Sinquefield Cup.

While he's long argued that IBM had many advantages in the match, the book will also discuss how computers have advanced human understanding of chess, rather than threaten the game itself.

Previously, Kasparov has written many other books on topics including the world champions, how chess and business intersect, and also the reasons he sees modern Russia should be feared.

'Dinosaur' Chess Shop Survives

While you're in New York City, why not check out the local chess institution known as the "Chess Forum"? The 21-year-old local chess retailer in the Greenwich Village neighborhood survives despite many other New York chess haunts fading away, including the Manhattan Chess Club, the Chess and Checkers Club of New York, and even the rival The Chess Shop across the street, to name a few.

In the brief profile by MSNBC, owner Imad Khachan tells the saga of how he split from his former partner but why his business survives even in the online retailer age.

"This belongs in the Museum of Natural History," Khachan said about his own store, which he thought would close as far back as 2000. "This is a dinosaur, but the appeal of it is that it's a dinosaur."

One local college student in New York has even made it a goal to raise money to keep the shop on Thompson St. open.

The Biographical Title We All Want

"Triple Exclam!!!" is the posthumous biography of legendary attacker IM Emory Tate, written by the chess journalist Daaim Shabazz with a foreword from GM Maurice Ashley. Published less than two years after his death at a chess tournament, the book chronicles Tate's early years, his peripatetic movements across the U.S. weekend Swiss circuit, and his final years where he fruitlessly chased the GM title.


IM Emory Tate and rapper RZA. Image courtesy "Triple Exclam!!!" and the author's website.

We also learn about his proclivity for language. Shabazz depicts how Tate held court during his famous post-mortems in skittles rooms. These were Tate's "concerts" and whether you witnessed one or never had the chance, they were not short on modesty or electricity.

The remainder of the book, and in fact its bulk, is 32 analyzed games (where a great percentage involved early h-pawn advances!), a handful from Tate himself, and a photo gallery and interview with Tate that Shabazz conducted in 2006.


IM Emory Tate at the 2014 National Open in Las Vegas.

You can buy your copy here directly from Shabazz's "The Chess Drum" site, which Shabazz told is far better for him than buying from other online resellers.

Chess Mistakes In Movies

Admit it. A chess scene comes up in a movie and your attention immediately dives to the board, making sure it is set up correctly, and then determining who is better, and if it's from a historical game.

Full disclosure: I'm describing myself here too, as you can see from the article on Magnus Carlsen on "The Simpsons."

null editor Pete Cilento covered this similar phenomenon in his 2014 column "The 11 Worst Chessboard Photos."

Atlas Obscura, the website devoted to the world's randomness, natural wonders, obscure places, and hidden treasures, recently ran an article on the subject. This author was quoted, but another source claimed that "20 percent" of chessboards have a mistake in them. What's your percentage?

The author also discusses the "dramatic checkmate" -- the idea that, among two seasoned players, one is completely taken aback at a surprise checkmate. This was once described online as akin to a professional racecar driver getting into an accident while parking his car in the garage.

Try not to cringe when you see the majority of these 101 people getting surprise at being checkmated .'s other director of content, Peter Doggers, also weighed in on his movie pet peeve: tipping over the king to signal checkmate. Luckily, this is not an option on

There's also the complete fabrication from actual history. In the climactic scene of "Searching for Bobby Fischer," Josh Waitzkin's draw offer was refused, only to have him find a long sequence ending in a winning skewer. In real life, Waitzkin drew the final round against Jeff Sarwer ("Jonathan Poe" in the film), and claimed that he was lucky to escape with a draw and the shared title.

Here's the actual game:


The real "Jonathan Poe": Jeff Sarwer returned to chess much later in life and plays here at Millionaire Chess 2 in 2015. His board is correctly set up.

Want To Lead The U.S. Chess Federation?

Want to lead 90,000 chess players? Here's your chance.

There's a vacancy coming up at U.S. Chess for executive director, the top position in the organization. Jean Hoffman will be stepping down later this year as U.S. Chess Online reported in late March. Applications are due May 31, with a starting date around October.


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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