US Chess Discussion

Welcome! This blog has no connection with the USCF. It's a blog where I provide chess fans with general information about US Chess as well as the USCF. It's also a site where everyone can productively discuss or ask questions about various USCF issues! Your contributions and comments are welcome! PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL & RESPECT OTHERS! Enjoy! All posts that do not meet this guideline will be deleted -- WIN WITH GRACE, LOSE WITH DIGNITY!(TM) --- 2006 Susan Polgar©

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dr. Korenman's big chess success

That is Dr. Korenman , founder of Chess for Peace project. In the picture is former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Chess for Peace was one of the most spectacular events in chess history and Dr. Mikhail Korenman made it happen. This was just one of the countless incredible projects he has done for the American chess scene which got national and international media attention. He will make an incredible board member for the USCF.

Gorbachev Presides Over Chess for Peace
By Irwin W. Fisk

October 29, 2005 will long be remembered as the day one of the world’s greatest leaders of the 21st Century came to Lindsborg to participate in the Chess for Peace initiative, chaired by former Senator Nancy Kassebaum.

It was not only the day that Gorbachev came, it was the day that former World Chess Champions Susan Polgar and Anatoly Karpov came. Lt. Governor John Moore, former governor John Carlin and former lieutenant governor Sheila Frahm and other elected officials came.

Two vice presidents of the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF), Don Schultz and Joel Channing, came along with a host of other USCF executives. And, Grandmaster Yury Shulman, a teacher at the Karpov School of Chess and someone who considers Lindsborg as his second home.

The Chess for Peace weekend occurred not only in Lindsborg; it occurred around the world as millions of chess players turned their attention to the match between five-time Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar and seven-time World Champion Anatoly Karpov.

Players watched it live as a computer technician from the U.S. Chess Federation fed Karpov and Polgar’s moves onto three major worldwide chess Internet sites.

Chess players and those interested in world events crowded into Bethany College’s Presser Hall Saturday afternoon to see former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev make the opening move in the match between World Chess Champions Polgar and Karpov. Karpov and Polgar opened the match by taking questions from the audience.

Most were serious questions about chess, but one young girl asked Susan, “How old are you?” The audience laughed when Susan replied, “Older than you.” Susan later told the girl, “No, I’m 35.”

Gorbachev, a chess player himself, apparently decided to play with Karpov’s mind by deliberately making the astonishingly bad opening move of g4. With a big smile, he reminded Karpov that one doesn’t take back moves in chess. Although Gorbachev was scheduled to make the opening move and leave, he stood over them and watched Polgar exploit the poor opening move, but Susan Polgar’s advantage wasn’t to last long.

Gorbachev, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, world figure and former President of the Soviet Union, acted the gracious host by opening a bottle of water and serving it to Polgar and Karpov. Afterward, Polgar laughed. “When the president got the water and poured it for us, I completely lost my concentration,” said Polgar.

Gorbachev stood and watched the entire first game between the two champions. The six-game match ended in a 3-3 tie.

Earlier in the day, 75 reporters and photographers crowded into Burnett Center to attend the news conference for Gorbachev, Karpov, Polgar, and Mikhail Korenman. Korenman is director of the Karpov School of Chess and the Chess for Peace initiative.

The first question of the conference was: “Mr. President, is it realistic to think that chess can make a difference in the pursuit of world peace?”"It's quite realistic to speak of this possibility," Gorbachev said, "but this does not involve just chess." Gorbachev then said that the pursuit of peace may involve "100 or 1,000 other initiatives ... when you want to change policy dramatically, you may see elections, demonstrations, and many different kinds of people's initiatives."

The demonstrations at the World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle, he said, were one example. "Other people began to join this movement," he said, "and this was a result of people protesting.”"And now we have an example of bringing in the Internet, and this idea of Anatoly Karpov, that through chess we can seek peace, and that a great deal more can be achieved. This is a peaceful pursuit of peace in the world, in my view, and it's why I am here (in Lindsborg)."

The Karpov-Polgar match was preceded that morning with the Chess for Peace parade down the main street to City Hall where Gorbachev, Karpov, Polgar, and organizer Mikhail Korenman addressed other dignitaries and the assembled crowd, including 165 student players who came to participate in the scholastic tournament, march in the parade, and see the Karpov-Polgar match. Each student in the scholastic tournament received a special Chess for Peace medal. The winners received free scholarships, valued at $695, to the Chess for Peace Festival which will be held in Lindsborg in June 2006.

Afterward, Karpov escorted Gorbachev to the Karpov School of Chess, where they toured the facility with Mikhail Korenman and Susan Polgar. The school was established two years earlier with the help of a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Later in the evening, a packed audience watched as Gorbachev and Alan Murray, assistant managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, played chess and discussed world affairs on the stage of Presser Hall at Bethany College. Both Murray and Gorbachev drew analogies to chess and politics throughout their hour-long exchange.

Among other things, Gorbachev told of the plot by hardliners to overthrow the government in August of 1991. The plot failed when Boris Yeltsin led a revolt against the leaders of the coup, which led to the release of Gorbachev and his family.

The Chess for Peace events of October 29 were preceded two weeks earlier when Alexander Bah, executive director of the Russian Chess Federation, and nine students from Karpov’s chess school in Poikovsky, Siberia visited Lindsborg. Bill Hall, executive director of the USCF spent a couple of days with Bah discussing matters of mutual interest to the two federations.

The Siberian students, who stayed with host families in Lindsborg, sampled the American lifestyle, played chess and interacted with students throughout Kansas.

“This is what Chess for Peace is all about,” said Mikhail Korenman, director of the initiative. “It’s all about students from different cultures developing friendships through chess.”
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