13 Chess Stories You May Have Missed

The last six weeks were full of top-level events like the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz, the Sinquefield Cup, the World Junior Championship, and many Speed Chess Championship matches.

The “In Other News” tidbits have been piling up, but today, the dam is released with 13 stories from the chess breadbasket that you may have missed:

  1. Google honors a pioneering female chess player
  2. David Llada, new editor-in-chief of “American Chess Magazine”
  3. Football players try out chess
  4. Death at U.S. Openiz
  5. Death of a young IM
  6. Girls in scholastic chess
  7. Gambling on the world championship
  8. Lewis vs. Klitschko “rematch”
  9. Upcoming documentary on the 2018 Candidates’
  10. Chess, underwater
  11. Robert Mueller, chess player?
  12. Biggest Sinquefield “prize” in history
  13. Calling all creative chess and poker buffs

1. Google honors pioneering female chess player/humanitarian

IM/WGM Lyudmila Rudenko became the second women’s world champion, although that’s not how many children know her. At the onset of the Siege of Leningrad (in which, among many others, Viktor Korchnoi’s father died), Rudenko helped children evacuate via train. She considered this her greatest accomplishment in life.

Google dedicated their daily “Doodle” to her earlier this summer on her birthday (see the lead image for that). Chess.com’s own Russian translator Yury Solomatin ( @Marignon) then profiled her here.

2. David Llada new editor-in-chief of “American Chess Magazine”

Renowned chess photographer David Llada recently took over as chief of the glossy quarterly. Llada formerly wrote for “El Mundo” in Spain but has been behind the lens at nearly every major international chess event the last few years. “American Chess Magazine” is coming off six awards this summer from the Chess Journalists of America.

David Llada

David Llada earlier this year in Belgrade, where “American Chess Magazine” was founded. | Photo courtesy David Llada.

3. Football players try out chess

How does Girona FC prepare for their football matches? Apparently training now includes chess practice. Watch the team get some lessons here from their country’s best players, including GM David Anton.

David Anton

Spanish #2 GM David Anton in 2017. | Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com.

4. Death at U.S. Open

Yet another chess player has passed away at the board. Bradley Scott Cornelius died suddenly at the 2018 U.S. Open in Wisconsin, the state which he was from. The death occurred during the final round and the room was cleared for several hours.

The tragedy follows two deaths at the 2014 Olympiad, as well as the passing of IM Emory Tate in 2015 while he played a tournament in California.

5. Death of a young IM

Sadly the chess world lost another soul recently, when 33-year-old German IM Lorenz Maximilian Drabke died in a car accident. The German chess federation reported that Drabke was a 13-time participant in the NATO chess championships, where he helped win 11 team titles and four individual titles.

He played in the 2018 NATO event in June in Texas, but his most famous game ever is surely this miniature against future world champion Magnus Carlsen.

Here’s one of Drabke’s wins from his teenage years.

6. Girls in scholastic chess

“The New Yorker” seems to love chess stories, but they’ve usually stuck to Kasparov, Carlsen, and the intersection of politics. Last month, they turned to the 2018 All-Girls Nationals in Chicago to feature the unique challenges girls face.

“I think girls are very intimidated by the number of boys. I know I am sometimes,” one girl says. You can watch the short video here.

Scholastic chess

Screengrab from “The New Yorker” video.

7. Gambling on the world championship

Have a hunch who will win in November? World Chess has announced a partnership with Unibet, so now you can put your money where your mouth is. 

At the time of the press release last month, the site had Carlsen as the favorite at 3:10 while Caruana’s odds were 12:5.

8. Lewis vs. Klitschko “rematch”

Why the quotes around the word “rematch”? Well, 15 years after Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko had their heavyweight bout stopped due to a cut above the Ukrainian’s eye, the two retired boxers will finally settle their score. However, it will be over the chess board.

The moment the referee stopped the Lewis-Klitschko fight.

Both are noted chess players and the chess match will take place at the WBC Congress, to be held between September 30 and October 5.

9. Upcoming documentary on the 2018 Candidates’

California chess teacher and filmmaker Dylan Quercia traveled to Berlin with a film crew earlier this year to chronicle the fight to become the world championship challenger. The full documentary has yet to be released, but this up-tempo trailer suggests that the finished product will be more energetic than the usual films of its ilk.

10. Chess, underwater

London has already hosted one chess world championship this year. In late August, the Diving Chess World Championship took place there, where participants can only think for as long as they can hold their breath. Rajko Vujatovic won with 3.5/4 (he’s from England with a FIDE rating of 2222 but apparently the lungs of a 2800).

“I’m proud to be world champion at anything,” he said. “What a great thing diving chess world championship is. It is completely bonkers but first and foremost it’s fun. We’re here to have lots of fun. We’re in Britain, we’re in United Kingdom, we’re free to do whatever we can.”

Talk about time trouble! Here’s the sport in action from last year’s event:

11. Robert Mueller, chess player?

The satirical news site “The Onion” had some fun recently with a high-level chess pun. Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating possible foreign meddling in the 2016 U.S. President Election, was lampooned as knocking off witnesses via the “en passant” rule.

Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller using one of the special rules of chess? | Photo: “The Onion.”

Mueller has already indicted at least five senior officials in President Trump’s campaign, although whichever writer at “The Onion” knew about the en passant rule perhaps didn’t know that you don’t have to announce its use like you do “j’adoube.”

12. Biggest Sinquefield “prize” in history

One of the early editions of the Sinquefield Cup offered a $100,000 first-place prize, but now philanthropist Rex Sinquefield has really outdone himself. Almost as an afterthought, at the closing ceremony of this year’s event, it was announced that he and his wife had given $50 million to his alma mater, Saint Louis University.

Rex Sinquefield

Rex Sinquefield is a passionate supporter of all things St. Louis. | Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com.

The largest gift in the two centuries of the university, part of the money will go to fund scholarships and travel for the school’s chess team.

13. Calling all creative chess and poker buffs

So you can’t win $50 million, but here is your chance to grab a $30,000 prize. Just create a game that combines the elements of chess and poker, then have a panel of judges select it as the best (Daniel Negreanu will be one of the judges).

Jennifer Shahade

PokerStars Ambassador WGM Jennifer Shahade announced the challenge. | Photo: PokerStars.

You can read here for the full rules of the “Platinum Pass Adventure,” but games will be measured by creativity, ingenuity, playability, presentation, and passion for poker and chess. The winner will get a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship, which is valued at $25,000, plus $5,000 in expenses. Entries are due by September 30, 2018.

Full disclosure: two judges have links to Chess.com — Chief Chess Officer IM Danny Rensch and Pro Chess League Commissioner IM Greg Shahade.

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