Chess Exhibition Raises Funds for Haitian Earthquake Victims
By FM Mike Klein   
January 17, 2010
FM Mike Klein, Photo Christine VanCott

Just four days after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, more than 30 chess-playing children and adults dropped a donation in a box and plopped down at an open board, squaring off against FM Mike Klein in a simultaneous exhibition in Charlotte, NC at Myers Park High School. The event, held on Saturday, January 16 was “drop in” so players entered, and sometimes re-entered throughout the morning benefit. The immediate focus was on the games at hand, but everyone understood the larger purpose. Though only organized two days prior, the exhibition raised $379 in three hours, all of which will be channeled to the Haitian people through S.O.S. Haiti Development Foundation, Inc. Members of the Myers Park Chess Team, especially Joe Biernacki, greatly assisted in promoting and organizing the exhibition.

Lorenzo Carter, in the foreground was the only player to get a draw against FM Mike Klein, Photo Christine VanCott
In the end, one youngster nicked Klein for a draw. Fifth-grader Lorenzo Carter of Monroe, NC, navigated a pawn to the seventh rank in a queen-and-pawn endgame, forcing Klein to repeat the position with a series of checks (Carter showed great tenacity by running his king around the board for about 40 moves to try to escape.)

The event was one of many taking place around the country in an effort to support our Caribbean neighbors. This benefit was inspired by one of Klein’s longtime students, who is of Haitian descent and who had family members in Haiti during the earthquake. Klein's student has a prior relationship supporting S.O.S. Haiti Development Inc* and recommended it as the day's charity.

*If you would like to give a tax-deductible contribution directly to S.O.S. Haiti Development Foundation, Inc. (SOSHADEF), which is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you may mail your donations Dr. Saidel Laine, Foundation President, P.O. Box 451237, Miami, FL 33114. Their physical address is 18 Samana Dr., Coconut Grove, FL 33133. For bank deposit, the routing number is 066004600 and account number is 0190535906.

FM Mike Klein is the founder of Young Master Chess. His most recent contribution to CLO was "Castling Long Around the World."