The chess news is most certainly not taking the summer off. This next edition of “In Other News” didn’t take long to fill. Today there are seven more news stories about our royal game that you may have missed, from a chessic tribute to a fallen solider, to a groundbreaking woman, to a look behind the scenes at a would-be world champion.
How much does GM Fabiano Caruana’s computer cost anyway?
As usual, the usual disclaimer. Fill your coffee, click on what interests you, and skip the rest!
As reported back in November, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black was one of four American soldiers killed in action in Niger. He was a former national scholastic champion who once beat future IM Danny Rensch in the 1999 National High School Scholastic Championship, then drew future GM Irina Krush in the same event the next year.
The late Staff Sgt. Bryan Black and his wife, Michelle. Photo courtesy Karen Black.
He died just short of the 2000 rating, but now his hometown of Puyallup, Washington has ensured his memory lives on. They dedicated a chess park in his name earlier this month.
What’s more impressive than being the first woman to win the Oklahoma State Championship? How about doing it as a teenager!
Presenting Oklahoma’s first female state chess champion, Veronika Zilajeva. The 18YO @westmoore grad beat a field of seasoned players, most of whom were twice her age and all of whom were men. @cityofmoore @MikeBrooksOKC pic.twitter.com/AeyrgR9TT8
— Rebecca Rutledge ( @RLynneRutledge) July 4, 2018
Veronika Zilajeva did just that after recently graduating high school. She finished second overall with an undefeated three wins and two draws, but by virtue of being the top Oklahoman, she was declared the state champion.
Continuing the theme of “girl power,” here is women’s world #3 GM Anna Muzychuk explaining her decision in a TEDx talk of why she did not compete in the women’s world rapid and blitz championships in Saudi Arabia.
And continuing on that same theme, sometimes the decision to compete is not even in the player’s (tiny) hands. Seven-year-old Liel Levitan of Israel is apparently not able to play in a “world championship” to which she qualified.
Mainstream press is using the catch-all name for a tournament, but it appears to be the 2019 World School Individual Championship, set to take place in Tunisia in April, 2019. This is certainly not the first time Israelis have been unable or at least highly unwelcome to travel to certain countries to compete. It’s merely the latest, with past examples including the entire Israeli delegation from the 2004 World Championship in Libya, and other more recent events.
Update: It seems pressure from FIDE may be forcing Tunisia to relent.
GM Eugenio Torre, the man who put the country of Philippines on the chess map and who became Asia’s first grandmaster, will not compete in the Olympiad for only the second time since his first appearance in 1970 (he also skipped 2008). He will, however, travel to Batumi, Georgia as a coach.
A nice moment at the 2016 Olympiad when third-board gold medalist and native Filipino GM Wesley So awaits the embrace of his former country’s legendary player, and now four-time bronze medalist, GM Eugenio Torre. | Photo: Mike Klein/Chess.com.
The blip means Torre won’t be able to add to his all-time Olympiad records. He is first in appearances (23) and appears to be number one in games played (265 by this author’s count, which is five more than GM Lajos Portisch). He is also second in all-time points to Portisch. Amazingly, his best-ever performance (by percentage) came just last time — in 2016 he played all 11 rounds, winning nine and drawing two for his fourth individual bronze medal, and first since 1986!
It’s not terribly investigative, but it is one of the major newspapers in the U.S. running a profile on GM Fabiano Caruana. In the piece, we learn that:
- His PR agency gives him fashion advice
- His computer costs nearly $13,000
- He is looking forward to the pressure of the world championship being over
- In addition to what he told Chess.com recently, where three favorite directors were mentioned, he seems have developed a clear leader among the trio: David Lynch