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"They're Darn Good Players" Print E-mail
By Hal Bogner, Match Director   
May 30, 2009
thumb_Greg Bonnie.jpgAstronaut Greg Chamitoff and the Stevenson Chess Stars met on May 21st at Seattle's Museum of Flight for a public celebration of the Earth vs. Space match, which continues with voting this weekend to select Earth's 26th move.

The Museum of Flight's president, Dr. Bonnie Dunbar - herself a former NASA astronaut with over 1200 hours in space - graciously hosted a relaxing afternoon in which Greg and the players from Stevenson Elementary School were finally able to spend time together, almost eight months after the game began last fall.  (Some of the Stevenson team members were able to meet Greg briefly at SuperNationals in April, where Greg spoke at the opening ceremony, and then dropped by their team room for 45 minutes before the students headed back to the tournament hall to focus on winning another national championship.)

Greg, who served for six months as flight engineer and science officer on the International Space Station, thoroughly enjoyed meeting the kids, who he described as "darn good players" during a joint session with local media.  (Check out this story in the Bellevue Reporter.) 

thumb_MOF_ISS (SH).JPGIn addition to touring the museum's amazing collection of aircraft from the early days of flight - including one of only three replicas of the plane first flown by the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk in 1903 - and spending some time looking back over the early part of the game, Greg and the kids were able to climb inside a full size replica of the International Space Station’s Destiny Research Laboratory.

Greg took over as tour guide, bringing the entire Space Station to life around him for the kids, who described being in the ISS lab with him as simply "awesome!"  And before returning to Earth, they stopped for a group photo, with the entire cast participating:  (back row, left to right) Coach David Hendricks, Greg Chamitoff, Coach Elliott Neff, Grace Sun; (middle row) Daniel Hua, Amith Vanmane, Eric Chen, Patrick Wang, Kevin Qiu, Kevin Ma; (front row, kneeling) Nathan Chou, Jiayi Hu, Stephen Embry, Nikolai Warner.

Meanwhile, back at the chessboard, the Earth vs. Space game continues.  Greg has played 26. Nd2, a multi-purpose move that clears the 3rd rank for his rook, and keeps Black rooks out of c4, and incidentally covers the e4-pawn, as well. 

Now, the young stars of Stevenson are offering up four choices for Earth's voters in reply, and it's once again UP TO YOU - please vote by 10 PM EDT (7PM PDT) on Sunday, May 31.

Greg Chamitoff vs. Earth (after 26.Nd2)

You can check out the current position in our Java viewer and try out the alternatives and see where they may lead.

Reminder: Don't miss a moment of this historic match - add our RSS feed to keep up with the latest developments, as articles and moves are posted here, and as voting periods occur.
Earth vs. Space Chess Match, 2008-09

Astronaut Dr. Greg Chamitoff has sent 46.Kxa2 and his resignation and congratulations to the Stevenson stars and Earth's voters.
Use the Java chess viewer (below) to review and analyze this historic game and read game commentary.

Explore the game in our Chess Viewer

(Click here for help with Java or the chess viewer, or click here for a move list.)

The Final Position:
(after Greg's 46.Kxa2)


Read NASA's announcement about this game.

If you don't know all the rules of chess, and would like to learn, click here.
Media Contacts:
NASA - Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston

USCF - Glenn Petersen
[email protected]

Stevenson Team -
Coach David Hendricks
WA State Scholastic Coordinator

Match Director -
Hal Bogner
[email protected]