Chess in the News
By Jennifer Shahade   
October 5, 2007
GM Pascal Charbonneau and Irina Krush at Paul Hoffman's book party. Photo Jennifer Shahade
I'm sorry that many loyal CLO readers, who often posted comments to our articles had their logins unexpectedly invalidated. It was impossible to avoid an inconvenience for some of our users- the forum and comment logins both used different login databases and had to eventually integrate. I encourage everyone to go through the process and start posting again. I believe that the heart of online journalism is reader input and CLO is certainly not the same without your lively back and forth.

Americans Abroad

The U.S. sent a delegation of three to the World Juniors in Armenia. Our two representatives in the overall section, Mackenzie Molner and Robert Hungaski (look out for his post tourney blog!) both began with one out of two. Our representative in the Girls section is Tatev Abrahamyan. Tatev must feel some sort of homecourt advantage, as she was born in Armenia. She began with 2/2. Here is her hard fought second round victory. 



 We also sent a group of 11 to the North American Youth Chess Championship (Aguascalientes, Mexico, October 5-7). The games began today and you can follow them on

Meanwhile, Gata Kamsky is playing in the European Club Cup (October 2-10) on board one for Linex Magic, ahead of Mickey Adams. If you think Adams on board two signifies a strong team, check out the impressive full list of players.   Alexander Grischuk and Magnus Carlsen are third board on the top two teams! 

Kamsky did not start so well. He drew his first game with White against Leif Johannessen and lost to Pavel Elijanov in round two.


Chess in the News
It has been a great couple of weeks for chess in the mainstream, although at this point I'm not entirely clear on whether you can consider Kasparov news  chess news. Since Garry Kasparov was recently announced as the opposition candidate to Putin (it is unclear yet whether or not Putin will attempt to run for a third term.)

Kasparov links

Watch the 60 minutes episode on Kasparov.

 New Yorker article

If you only time to check out one, I recommend David Remnick's in-depth New Yorker article.  I loved Remnick's apt expression of Kasparov as "impossibly energetic." However, I laughed out loud when I read Kasparov's claim that he did not want to lead the Other Russia party. Considering Kasparov's ego and bravery, I find it very hard to believe that he didn't want to be the candidate.

King's Gambit 

Frank Brady and Paul Hoffman. Photo Jennifer Shahade

Following up on reviews in People magazine and Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times had a mostly favorable review  of Paul Hoffman's King's Gambit by Michael Weinreb. Weinreb  wrote the enjoyable account of the Edward R.Murrow chess team in Kings of New York . I went to Paul's book reading in New York, and the Q+A, hosted by Frank Brady, president of the Marshall Chess Club and author of Profile of a Prodigy. The event was well done and well attended.crowdshot.jpg


After some tough questions from Frank Brady about writing and chess, Paul opened up the discussion to the audience. One person asked: "Are you doing anything differently with your own son because of what you experienced  with your dad?" (a troubled, complicated relationship which you can read about in my blog on Chabon and Hoffman's books. )  Paul responded to the question:
I'm trying not to be competitive with Alex (Paul's eight-year-old son) and to enjoy his success at things like soccer and drawing that I'm not good at.  I remember when Alex returned from a medical appointment at the age of three or four, and I asked him how it went.  "She used the otoscope," he said. "The what-a-scope?" I said.  "The otoscope,"  he repeated.  Later his mom explained to me that the doctor had looked in his ears through an instrument and Alex had asked what it was called.  I was delighted that he had used a word I didn't know.  I proudly told everyone. Later it sadly occurred to me that if I had employed a word at the age of four—or fourteen or twenty-four—with which my father was unfamiliar, he would have felt upstaged and told no one.

Because much has been written already about Paul Hoffman's book, I asked the biggest star of the book, Pascal Charbonneau, how he felt about his newfound fame (and dash of notoriety.)

Being written about in depth in a mainstream book is both flattering and a little bit scary.  The best thing about it is twofold: 1) it just feels good to know Paul thought my story worthy of an important place in his book and 2) it's probably quite good on a resume although there is a But, and that would be the worst thing about it: given that it goes in depth about my life, it goes into some personal details, and there is something strange about that. As an example, if I had a date next week, I'd be strangely concerned that she may have read Paul's book or Mr. Weinreb's review in the NY Times (both mention that Pascal used to throw up when speaking to girls he liked.)  Actually, the weird thing about being written about is that it is to some extent random. A lot of absolutely fantastic and interesting people receive no attention, while others (unnamed stars with custody issues, for example) just can't get away from it even if they'd like to. Overall, I feel lucky to have been at the right place, at the right time.

In the movie version of the book, Pascal said that he'd liked to be played by Josh Hartnett or Matt Damon, "but please, please, no McLovin' for this chessplaya. (See SuperBad if you didn't get that one.)

Coming up

Next week will feature an interview with RZA, Ask GM Joel entries, updates on the U.S. Chess League and Americans abroad. There will also be tournament reports from and stories on the Armed Forces Championships. So have a great weekend and be sure to check CLO often.