The greatest asset of chess in the United States during the past 50 or so years is diversity. It was almost as if the Internet was designed to highlight this, from local chess clubs, regional tournaments and live international sports extravaganzas involving both young and old, men and women.
Take the world’s strongest tournament last week in Zurich. World Champion Magnus Carlsen appeared to win easily, but he didn’t just bowl over all his five opponents (final score 4-1), as his game with Hikaru Nakamura took a wild turn. Nakamura had a won position as white, and then, in one move, allowed Carlsen to get winning counterplay. (A Huffington Post story on the game can be seen at www.chessbase.com, annotated by GM Lubomir Kavalek.)
Regionally, the Winter Team Challenge in Marlboro on Feb. 1 attracted 69 kids, averaging younger than age 10, with many “put together teams” in three age sections. The individual results can be found at www.uschess.org, as the event was nationally rated. The team results can be found at www.masschess.org.There were many smiling faces as dozens of participants displayed their trophies as this writer visited in late afternoon the day before the Super Bowl.
Locally, the Greater Worcester Chess Club had one of its largest attendances in January, dodging the mid-week storms. John Curdo of Auburn swept the field in the Fresh Start Open, 4-0, and Zlatomir Yung Chi Fung dominated the New You Under-1700 Game/85. Fung, a West Suburban student, performs on the cello at the New England Conservatory of Music, but finds time to make a different kind of music on the chessboard. The 28 total players in these events were rated by USCF; info on the club’s meetings on Thursdays can be accessed at www.chesspals.com.
This writer is chief umpire of the 2014-15 MACA election, the state chapter of the U.S. Chess Federation. MACA was formed 80 years ago, largely by George S. Sturgis, who also “federated” the USCF and was its first president from 1939 until his passing in 1944. The USCF is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and MACA is celebrating its 60th as a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation, which gained 501-c-3 educational federal status in 1980.
MACA is run by a volunteer board of 12 officers and directors, and the deadline for nomination submissions for 2014-15 is Feb. 15. Anyone who is a member of MACA by the end of February will be eligible to vote via paper ballots. The USCF restricts voting to those at least 16 years old when it has summer elections for its board. The venue for the annual U.S. Open and annual meetings has been changed (July 26 to Aug. 3) from St. Louis to Orlando, Fla.
Do you know…Cape Cod’s www.chesscafe.com has an 80 percent off chess software clearance sale through Feb. 28. GM Larry Christiansen of Cambridge will again play up to 22 boards (free) on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at South Station, 700 Atlantic Ave., Boston, to promote the Boylston Chess Club (www.boylstonchessclub.org) of Somerville. Jadranka Grek of Auburn continues her free 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday chess lessons at the Auburn Public Library.
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– GM Susan Polgar