Earth vs. Space Game at a Critical Stage
By Hal Bogner, Match Director   
April 12, 2009
thumb_Opry_Crowd.jpgLast weekend, NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff visited the Supernationals in Nashville, addressing thousands of young chessplayers and their families (including Stevenson coaches John Graves and Elliott Neff, sitting at the left of this crowd photo), and meeting some of the young stars from Stevenson Elementary School who have been choosing the possible moves for Earth's side in the game.  (Click here to see the New York Times coverage of Greg's visit with the Stevenson team.)

You can hear the highlights of his talk at the opening ceremony, on stage at the Grand Ole Opry before a packed house, as he and Garry Kasparov (who spoke following Greg) spoke of the limitless possibilities chess creates for each of us:

During his visit, he responded to the tension of the game by choosing 22. b5 for his latest move - which he characterized as "maybe a surprise, an unexpected move." 

The Stevenson team - which included nine of the 11 players involved in the game, and a total of 19 players from the school's club - was focussed on the tournament, and came through like champs: winning the K-5 Championship for the second consecutive SuperNationals, and the K-5 Under 900 section for the second year in a row.  These young stars were selected for their role in the Earth vs. Space game as the defending K-3 National Champions from last spring, and Greg's visit must certainly have inspired them:  in the K-5 Championship section, they leapfrogged over leader NY City powerhouse Horace Mann, 1.5 points ahead, and Richmond, Virginia's Three Chopt Elementary School, one point ahead in second, with one round to go, sweeping to four wins in the last round, led by Amith Vanmane and club captain Jaiyi Hu (both 5-2); and they positively ran away with the K-5 Under 900 title, with two 7-0 performances from Nikolai Warner and Nathan Chou to share first individually, and an incredible 26 out of a possible 28 points as a team.  Stevenson also took sixth place in the K-6 Under 1000 section, led by Eric Chen, who tied for 2nd place individually at 6-1, as well as eighth place in K-3 Under 800 section.

Reassembling back home in Bellevue, Washington, the club members have now provided Earthlings with three choices for voting, and now it's YOUR TURN TO VOTE.  Please check out the current choices, and cast your ballot by midnight EDT on Tuesday (9 PM PDT).

Greg Chamitoff vs. Earth (after 22. b5)

You can check out the current position in our Java viewer and try out the alternatives and see where they may lead - or you can see what you are voting on or the the entire game score by clicking on the links in the right column.

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