Magnus Carlsen for Amateurs

How has grandmaster chess changed in the computer era?

What does it mean to have a "style" in chess?

What can beginning and intermediate players learn from the games of the champions?

We'll discuss selected games of three great world champions from the decade after Garry Kasparov's retirement -- Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, and Magnus Carlsen -- along with stellar up-and-comer Fabiano Caruana, with a special emphasis on Carlsen's career. Audience participation encouraged. Open to players of all skill levels ages 7 and up. Advance registration is not required. All programs are free and run from 2 to 3:30 PM.

Carlsen and Kramnik

Nov. 15: Lozano Branch Library, 1805 S. Loomis St.
Dec. 6: West Chicago Avenue Branch Library, 4856 W. Chicago Ave.

Carlsen and Anand

Dec. 13: West Englewood Branch Library, 1745 W. 63rd St.
Dec. 20: Austin-Irving Branch Library, 6100 W. Irving Park Road

Carlsen and Caruana

Jan. 10: Uptown Branch Library, 929 W. Buena Ave.
Jan. 17: Avalon Branch Library, 8148 S. Stony Island Ave.

Special Program TBA

Jan. 24: Rogers Park Branch Library, 6907 N. Clark St.

Black, White and Red

The Chicago Chess Center and Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. present An Evening of Napa Valley Cabernet, a walk-around tasting to benefit the CCC at Firecat Projects, 2124 N. Damen Ave., Thursday, Nov. 13, beginning at 6:30 PM. Join us as we enjoy and compare Cabernet Sauvignon from six classic Napa Valley producers and explore the unique styles, terroir and vintages from the 1990s.

1993 Dalla Valle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
1994 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection
1994 Dominus (magnum)
1996 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain
1998 Heitz Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha's Vineyard
1998 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Red Wine, Insignia
2002 Bond Winery Red Wine, Matriarch
2003 Dominus

Tickets to this benefit event are $150 (portion is tax-deductible). To purchase tickets or to make a donation if you cannot attend, click here.

Women's Chess Workshops, Nov. 8 and 22

Our Women's Chess Workshops return to the Logan Square and Avalon branch libraries! Inspired by the success of 9 Queens in Tucson, Ariz., at increasing participation in chess among underrepresented populations, we've put together these free, two-hour workshops open to women of all ages (along with future women ages 7 and up). Learn the rules of chess from square one, or improve your game if you play already. USCF Candidate Master Darrian Robinson will return as our guest instructor.

Advance registration is not required. All participants are invited to stay and play until closing.

Nov. 8: Avalon Branch Library, 8148 S. Stony Island Ave., 2–4 PM
Nov. 22: Logan Square Branch Library, 3030 W. Fullerton Ave., 2–4 PM

Learn to Play Better Chess at Learnapalooza

"I know the rules of chess -- now what do I do?"

Too many of us learn how the pieces move and then find ourselves floundering, unaware that there are "basics beyond the basics." How do we make the move from just pushing pieces to pushing pieces with purpose? That's the subject of our one-hour Play Better Chess class at Learnapalooza, a summertime celebration of lifelong learning now in its fifth year.

Play Better Chess is aimed at novice players who know the rules of chess and not much else. We'll go over how to begin a game, how to find good moves and choose the best one, and how to finish your opponent off. After class, stick around and play, or take advantage of the many other learning opportunities available: pizza making, bookbinding, beekeeping and more.

We'll be at all three Learnapalooza sites this year: Wicker Park this Saturday, June 28; Lakeview, July 19; and Logan Square, Aug. 16. All Learnapalooza events are free -- just show up! Visit for a list of classes and locations. (Our Wicker Park class will be held at North Avenue Day Nursery, 2001 W. Pierce Ave., at 11:30 AM; subsequent locations TBD.)

For more information on Learnapalooza, visit or

Play Chess, Help the CCC

Chess Without Borders, a Barrington-based service learning and philanthropic charity organization, will hold a tournament benefiting the Chicago Chess Center at Countryside Elementary School in Barrington on Saturday, May 17.

The tournament is open to both U.S. Chess Federation members and nonmembers of all ages. Individual trophies will be awarded in all sections, and team trophies are available for schools that send teams to compete.

And in a zestful departure from the typical hot dogs–and–pizza fare served at such events, homestyle Middle Eastern food will be prepared and served by Zein Bertacchi, an award-winning chef known to Chess Without Borders players and volunteers as "the Falafel Lady."

All proceeds of the five-round, game/30 tournament will benefit the CCC.

The tournament's five-round format and quick time control make it a superb opportunity for beginners of all ages looking for an introduction to USCF-rated chess. (Please note, though, that if you're not a USCF member yet and would like to compete in any of the three rated sections -- Primary, Elementary or Open -- you'll need to become a member and obtain a player ID number before registering. Follow this link to reach the USCF membership webstore. If you don't care about getting a rating and just want to spend a day playing chess, the Nonrated section is open to everyone!)

The CCC extends its heartfelt thanks to Kiran Frey and Grandmaster Yury Shulman of Chess Without Borders for their support of the CCC and their generosity and initiative in putting this event together. We hope you'll come and give your thanks as well!

Chess Without Borders Countryside Tournament

Saturday, May 17

Countryside Elementary School, 205 W. County Line Road, Barrington. 5/SS, G/30. In four sections: Primary (grades K–3), Elementary (grades 4–5), Open (grades 6–12 and adult) and Nonrated (all ages). USCF membership required for Primary, Elementary or Open section. Rounds: Round 1 at 10 AM, later rounds ASAP (finish around 3 PM). Entry fee: $25 if postmarked by May 7; $30 if postmarked after May 7; $35 on-site before 9:15 AM. Free for players in any section rated over 1600. Mail entries to Chess Without Borders, 428 Waverly Road, Barrington, IL 60010, or click here to enter online. Prizes: Trophies for top 5 in each section, top 3 in each grade K–5, and top 3 in grades 6–12. Team trophies for top 3 school teams in each rated section. All kindergarteners get participation medals.

Women's Chess Workshops, April 19 and May 3

Inspired by the success of 9 Queens in Tucson, Ariz., at increasing participation in chess among underrepresented populations, the Chicago Chess Center is holding free Women's Chess Workshops at two Chicago Public Library branches: Logan Square (Saturday, April 19, 2–4 PM) and Avalon (Saturday, May 3, 2–4 PM). These two-hour workshops are open to women of all ages (along with future women ages 7 and up). Learn the rules of chess from square one, or improve your game if you play already. We're especially pleased and excited that Darrian Robinson, a USCF candidate master and currently the highest-rated African-American female player in the nation, will be our guest instructor.

Advance registration is not required. All participants are invited to stay and play until closing!

Thank You for Believing in Us

A message from director Keith Ammann:

I want to thank you for reading this message.

If you're like me, you've been swamped by fundraising appeals these past weeks: some that moved you to give, some that made you wish you could give, some that you sent straight to the trash.

So I want to thank you for reading this message, because it means you care about the Chicago Chess Center and our mission to bring chess closer to all the people of this city—young and old, newbie and expert alike.

And it's people like you who are going to make the Chicago Chess Center a reality. My fellow board members and I can't do it alone. To make this bird fly, we need a community of supporters to help us lift it off the ground and launch it.

That's why it's so important to show your support by donating today, before the flag falls on 2013.


The question we're asked most often is, "Have you found a site?" But it does us little good to search for a site if we don't have the funds to secure one. We've set a startup fundraising goal of $30,000 so that we can sign a lease, start building out and furnishing our space, and begin offering classes and events in as quick a time frame as possible.

We're already working on a couple of events for early 2014, but what we need most is simply to get our doors open. We've been promising you and other Chicagoland enthusiasts a new metropolitan chess organization for a long time. Now we need to deliver on that promise. Please give today and help move us closer to our goal.

You'll be in good company: not just the 27 early adopters who've become Founders' Court members by donating $250 or more, but also all four Chicago-area Grandmaster players, who've shown their support by joining the Chicago Chess Center advisory board.

And as you may already be aware, we're an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation is tax-deductible in 2013 if you send it before midnight tonight.

You're still reading this message—why? Maybe you believe in giving children access to high-quality chess instruction in a safe and friendly environment. Maybe you believe in creating an open and welcoming gathering place where curious beginners can discover the joys and benefits of chess. Maybe you believe in restoring Chicago's standing among great chess cities. Maybe you believe in all these things—or maybe you're just looking for some good competition.

Whatever your reason for supporting the Chicago Chess Center, please show your commitment with a year-end donation today. We thank you for being a part of our community.

Keith Ammann
President, Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc.


P.S. Have a safe, happy, healthy and trouble-free new year!

New York Times: Chicago 'Not Known as a Chess Stronghold'

A message from director Bill Brock:

I've read a string of wonderful stories about in the last week about young Chicago-area players making their mark on their chessboard:

  • The Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship is winding up today in Lubbock, Texas. Most of the young masters on the University of Illinois team are from the Chicago area. Today, the "walk-ons" play a much stronger team from Texas Tech (international players on chess scholarships!) to try to return to the Final Four of chess for a second consecutive year. Please join me in wishing Eric Rosen, Michael Auger, Xin Luo, and Akshay Indusekar the best of luck on Monday morning! By the time you read this, you may be able to read the results.
  • On Friday, David Peng of Wilmette (whose coach is Grandmaster Dmitry Gurevich of Chicago) just won a silver medal in the World Under-10 Championship in Al-‘Ain, United Arab Emirates. Who won the gold medal in the same section? Awonder Liang of Wisconsin, who often studies with Chicago grandmasters.
  • And just a couple of weeks ago, Sam Schmakel of Chicago's Whitney Young High School won his fifth national scholastic title. For this accomplishment, Sam was featured in yesterday's New York Times.

So chess in Chicago must be doing wonderfully, no? Not according to Dylan Loeb McClain, the author of the Schmakel feature:

Schmakel's school, Whitney Young High, is a magnet school that is part of the Chicago public school system and is where Michelle Obama graduated. It was the only representative at the K–12 Championships from the city, which is not known as a chess stronghold. More students are enrolled in scholastic chess programs and are sent to tournaments across the country from schools in New York, which sends more teams to competitions than any other city; Miami; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and even Brownsville, Tex.

It is unusual for a city as large as Chicago, with 2.7 million people, to have only one school enter a tournament as prestigious as the K–12 Championships. By comparison, Los Alamos, N.M., population 18,000, also sent one school.

It helps to go to a great magnet school. It helps to have parents who are willing to make financial sacrifices in order to give their children the opportunity to succeed. But most of the talented young people in our city won't be admitted to Whitney Young. And many of their parents would love to give their children greater opportunities but are barely making ends meet.

In my last fundraising pitch, I also asked for financial assistance to send teams from two Chicago West Side schools to the Florida event at which Sam Schmakel won the title. In the end, the schools could not accept the money that several kind people (including a CPS administrator) pledged: the airfares jumped in price as the deadline approached, and the trip was called off.

Could these kids have succeeded at Nationals? Of course they could have: the team from Faraday Elementary, which draws its students from some of the most dangerous neighborhoods on the West Side, just finished third in a Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago event.

The Chicago Chess Center does not want to turn children away because their parents can't afford to pay us. Please help us open our doors: please help us help them.


Speaking only for myself, I don't have very much interest in turning young players into grandmasters. It matters more to me that one of my former students is a freshman at an Ivy League school than that he has earned an International Master norm. Chess is a fun way to teach critical thinking skills, the skills that turn kids into high achievers.

Children don't get to choose how much money their parents have, and they don't get to choose the neighborhood they are raised in. We want to be there for these children, but we can't do it without your support.

We are fortunate to have GMs Dmitry Gurevich, Yury Shulman, Nikola Mitkov and Mesgen Amanov on our advisory board, which also includes leaders from Chicago's nonprofit and business community.

My friend and fellow board member Dave Ducat made a compelling pitch on Facebook the other day. I can't improve on it, so I’ll steal Dave's words:

Of course you're thinking that this is Chicago and that there has to be such a place already . . . an actual "Chicago Chess Center" somewhere . . . right?


There is no physical "Chicago Chess Center" location in the city, and there hasn't been one within the city limits for over 20 years. Cities like St. Louis and Dallas have developed premier chess clubs, have set the new standard and have seen their international exposure and tourism increased over the last three to five years. I want that for Chicago. I want Chicago to become the center for chess in the United States, and I want it to set the example for other cities to follow.

I need your help to make the Chicago Chess Center a reality. I need your financial contributions to create a physical location, centralized and within easy access of public transportation, so that chess-playing people of all ages, all walks of life, and all neighborhoods in and around the city can have a place to call their own. I need your help to shape the future of chess in Chicago and shape it with our youth in mind.

When the CCC was founded, the board put together a campaign to raise $30,000 within a year to fund the acquisition, furnishing and rent of a suitable space to call the Chicago Chess Center. To date, through tireless solicitation by the board of directors as well as through key personal and corporate investments, we've been able to raise over half that amount [we're now at $18,000—BB]. It's my hope that you can find a few dollars to contribute to this worthy cause and help the CCC reach its goal of opening the doors of a new location in early 2014. We need your support to make this happen.

Please take a moment to review our website and click the "Donate Now" button. Please consider a donation of $50; however, any amount will be gratefully accepted. For the price of one latte a day for one week, you can make a lasting contribution to a worthwhile cause and help us achieve our mission.

Without your financial support, we may not be able to fulfill our mission. And we are so close to opening our doors . . . .

Please make your tax-deductible year-end donation now. Thank you for caring as much as we do.

Bill Brock
Treasurer, Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc.

A Place to Think, Create, Excel and Grow

A message from Chicago Chess Center director Dave Ducat:

Eight years old is a difficult time for most of us to remember, but it's the age when many things happened to me that would have profound effects on my life as an adult. I learned fundamental educational and social skills, went to Cub Scout meetings and played Little League baseball, and had the opportunity to do something that many other 8-year-olds didn't: I learned to play chess.

Chess: the game of kings. A centuries-old celebration of logic and strategy . . . in the hands of an 8-year-old, by myself, and with nothing but a paper-based trainer and chess books at the local library to guide me. Parents (fortunately, two of them together) who had passing knowledge of the game provided me with these aids but didn't have the tools or means to help me cultivate a level of skill beyond casual play in this game that I came to love.

Compared to some, I was fortunate in my scenario. But imagine for a moment that there had been a place where I could have gone for direct, cost-effective instruction, a place where I could have been challenged by people of different socioeconomic backgrounds and helped to grow in my knowledge and skill in chess. What if there had been someplace that felt like home .  . . my home . . . for me to cultivate and develop mastery of a game that could take me around the world, literally and figuratively, and give me the opportunity to think, create, excel and grow? What if there had been a place where I could have seen the fruits of my own development, that helped me gain self-confidence and the ability to master skills that I could leverage later in life?

Imagine what I might have accomplished with those kind of resources and that kind of support. Now imagine a child next door or down the street from you—or a child in an economically challenged neighborhood, full of potential but without the resources I had, who could get out from underneath circumstances outside of his or her control, just by having a place to go that could cultivate the ability to think, and to think for oneself. That would be worth investing a few dollars in, wouldn't it?

That's why I'm asking you to make a year-end gift to help us create a center for chess instruction in Chicago. We need your direct financial support to make this happen, and with only a few days left in 2013, we need it now.


Your tax-deductible financial contribution will go directly to procuring and furnishing this educational and civic institution and help us open the location in 2014. Your support is crucial to establishing the first metropolitan chess organization within the city limits of Chicago in over 20 years.

Please take a moment now to make your tax-deductible contribution to the Chicago Chess Center.

If you have any questions regarding your donation or would like more information on the Chicago Chess Center and options to contribute, please contact me by e-mail at or by phone at (773) 744-7667.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Dave Ducat
Secretary, Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc.


P.S. Our goal, to open the Chicago Chess Center in a clean, safe and easily accessible central location, depends on your support. To date, we're over halfway to our goal, and with your contribution, we can make our goal of $30,000 and open the facility in early to mid-2014. Please send your donation today.

Help Us Open Our Doors so We Can Open Doors to Others

A message from director Keith Ammann:

Recently, I was at the Julius Meinl coffeehouse in Lakeview with another Chicago Chess Center board member. He was playing a game with one of our Founders' Court members. I was giving opening pointers to another customer, the organizer of a German conversation group, who had come over to see what we were up to. A couple of college-age women at the table beside us wondered aloud where the chess sets had come from; I offered them one of our extras, and they played game after game between themselves. It was an inspiring example in miniature of how chess can bring people together into a community.

But there were also a few spectators who declined our invitations to join us, despite their curiosity, because they felt they didn't know enough even to play casually. The very idea seemed to make them anxious.

Those of us who enjoy chess may sometimes forget how intimidating it can be. To many people, the world of chess appears closed-off, unfriendly, impossibly arcane. Even those of us who learn the game as youngsters and grow to love it may hit a wall of some kind—a stinging defeat, a losing streak, an unpleasant encounter with an obnoxious player, or simply a shortage of opportunities to play—and leave the game behind, never to return.

Why does that matter? Because thanks to its depth, chess brings not only enjoyment but benefits as well, from mental exercise to self-discovery and self-expression to the chance to meet other players with different life experiences.

I was one of those players who hit the wall. I learned the rules of chess at age 8—but learning the rules isn't the same as learning how to play, and by age 16, I'd become frustrated enough that I no longer played. It wasn't until five years ago that I returned to the game with the resolve to become a better player. And I owe what success I've had so far to Boston's Boylston Chess Club and its tournament director, Bernardo Iglesias, who not only made me feel welcome (and lured me in with a $10 tournament entry fee) but answered my questions about tournament directing between rounds.

I took that knowledge, and my renewed enthusiasm for the game, to Freeport, Ill., where I helped organize the Route 20 Chess Club, whose tournaments drew players from as far as 90 minutes away, and coached a middle school chess team to a fourth-place finish at its first-ever state tournament.

Jane Lethlean, Journal-Standard

As a TD, organizer and coach, my goal has been to throw the door wide open to anyone with even the most casual interest in the game, to eliminate barriers to entry, to give players every opportunity to achieve their potential, and to make the experience as enjoyable and fulfilling as it can be.

Now, as president of Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc., I want to do the same for Chicagoland, where I grew up and have lived for more than half my life, by establishing an educational and civic institution where anyone and everyone is welcome to play and learn—two of the activities that make us our most complete selves.

Please join me in this goal today by making a year-end gift so that we can open our doors in 2014.


When we meet our $30,000 goal, we'll be able to secure a site, furnish it, and begin offering classes, tournaments and other activities. A donation of $50 may buy five chess sets or a game clock; $250 will buy a table and chairs or a whiteboard; $1,000 will buy a computer and digital projector—or a year's membership for a dozen low-income students.

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation now.

Thank you for helping us to bring the pleasures and benefits of chess to Chicagoans of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. If you have questions or would like to contribute in additional ways, such as by helping spread the word about the Chicago Chess Center or offering professional assistance, please feel free to send us an e-mail.

Keith Ammann
President, Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc.


P.S. We're determined to make this vision a reality in 2014. If we meet our fundraising goal by Dec. 31—and we're already halfway there—we can be up and running in a matter of months. Please donate now—and spread the word.

'I ♥ Chess so so Much'

A message from director Bill Brock:

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to two dedicated Chicago Public Schools volunteers: Joseph Ocol, a math teacher at Marshall High School on the West Side and the coach of Marshall's chess team, and Cederrall Petties, the principal of Marshall's sister school, Faraday Elementary. Both schools sent teams to the U.S. Chess Federation's Supernationals scholastic championship last year. Kiana Hobbs of Faraday even won her 329-player section. (I wasn't that surprised. A couple of weeks earlier, Kiana—now attending Whitney Young High school—had been the one solving all the tactics exercises in Chess! Lessons from a Grandmaster.)

I've been volunteering occasional lessons at both schools. We were short-staffed for our last lesson because of a volunteer's illness, and I was trying to give simultaneous lessons to the high school and elementary kids. Mr. Ocol, himself multitasking as a math tutor, rescued the elementary kids from me and brought them to another classroom. A couple of hours later, after they re-joined us, I slipped an abandoned, water-stained doodle into my briefcase: "I ♡ Chess so so Much".

It's great to have students who are so passionate and motivated. It's also tragic that I wasn't able to give that student—who was in my class for only a few minutes—any time at all on that Saturday morning.

And that's one kid out of the 400,000 students in CPS.

Good people are working to expand chess programs in Chicago Public Schools, but learning happens outside the classroom, too. Please make a year-end gift to the Chicago Chess Center so that we can provide the critical assistance that these young chess players need.


We recently sponsored a free public lecture at Faraday by Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky, a two-time U.S. champion. For the first time, the students were exposed to a grandmaster's thought processes. These young people are hungry for knowledge, hungry to learn critical thinking skills, skills that will readily transfer to academic and career success. For many of them, chess may turn out to be a way out of poverty. (It's worked for others.)

Your generosity will help the Chicago Chess Center secure a location and begin offering instruction by our target opening date of summer 2014. A gift of $40 may buy four tournament-quality chess sets or a game clock; $250 will buy four chairs or a whiteboard for teaching and analysis; $1,000 will buy six sturdy tables—or a year's membership for a dozen low-income students.

We've raised about half the money we need to open the Chicago Chess Center. Let's raise the other half this month. Click here to make your tax-deductible contribution now.

Thank you for your generosity and your civic pride. Your support means a lot to all of us.

Bill Brock
Treasurer, Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc.


P.S. What we need right now is unrestricted money, but if you'd like to also pledge an additional gift restricted to benefiting disadvantaged youth, the Chicago Chess Center will deposit these funds in a separate account, every penny of which will be dedicated to helping young people in need. Before we can spend a dime of such money, though, we have to open our doors. Please donate today and help us meet our $30,000 startup goal.

P.P.S. At the risk of diluting our fundraising pitch (and for such a cause, it's a risk worth taking): Marshall and Faraday are sending teams to the National K–12 Grade Championships in Florida on Dec. 13. If you'd like to help sponsor their trip, please drop me a line.

'Gambit' Tells Women's Story Through Chess

The Chicago Chess Center and Artemisia theater company invite you to the world premiere of Gambit, a new play by Ross Tedford Kendall, on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 3 PM.

In Gambit, a rebellious law student, Clementine, is being held in the dean's office for punching one of her professors. When her Aunt Jill—a trustee and alumna of the law school and a U.S. attorney—arrives, Clementine challenges her to a game of chess, stipulating that if Clementine wins, Jill will get her off the hook. The game is played onstage and is central to the action. (We could tell you which historic game the playwright used as inspiration, but we don't want to give anything away! Suffice it to say, it's an Evans Gambit, so the title fits.)

The show, which stars Suzanne Petri and Miriam Reuter and is directed by Julie Proudfoot, will be performed at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago. Directions and parking information are available at

Nov. 17 is Chicago Chess Center Day: attend the matinee show and receive $10 off the $25 ticket price. Tickets may be ordered on the Artemisia website; use coupon code art4gam2013 to receive your CCC discount. Stay after the show for a reception with the play's cast, director and artistic team!

Artemisia's mission is to produce plays that tell "female-centered" stories through the experience of leading characters who are women, daring audiences to think beyond what's considered "typical" and "appropriate" feminine behavior.

Chess is a universal language, a compelling tradition that's given us an abundance of social and political metaphors and themes, and we're pleased to have the opportunity to share this contemporary theatrical work that uses them to tell the story of two generations of unconventional women.

Celebrate National Chess Week, Oct. 6–12

It's National Chess Week! Have you decided how you'll celebrate? We have a couple of suggestions . . .

  • Grab a friend and join us at Julius Meinl, 4363 N. Lincoln Ave., for chess and coffee from 7 to 9 PM. We're co-sponsoring Meinl's chess nights on Mondays (except Columbus Day) from now through the holidays. Another Austrian–American import, the world champion Wilhelm Steinitz, once said, "Chess is so inspiring that I do not believe a good player is capable of having an evil thought during the game." We're sure that's doubly true with a mouthful of Opera Torte.

  • If you missed it in the theaters -- or if it made you feel so buoyant, you want to see it again -- the documentary Brooklyn Castle airs tonight on WTTW Channel 11.1 at 10 PM. The story of Brooklyn's I.S. 318 champion chess team and threatened afterschool program airs again on WTTW Create, Channel 11.3, Wednesday at 11:30 PM and on WTTW Prime, Channel 11.2, Friday at 2 PM.

  • Have you been waiting for a good opportunity to teach a friend or a young person to play? What better occasion?

  • Spread the word about the Chicago Chess Center! Do you know someone who's interested in educational, cultural or youth causes? Let us know -- or have them sign up for our mailing list or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Whatever your plans, have a happy and successful National Chess Week!

‘Computer Chess’ coming to the Music Box

A couple of our supporters have asked us whether we knew anything about the movie Computer Chess and whether it would be playing in Chicago. The answer is: Yes, and yes!

Computer Chess, an official selection of the 2013 South by Southwest and Sundance film festivals, is "an artificially intelligent comedy" about computer chess programmers set in an Austin, Texas, hotel over one weekend in the 1980s during a tournament for chess software programmers. The film transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. Computer Chess has been rated 86 percent fresh by Rotten Tomatoes and received an A− from AV Club (which is notoriously stingy with its grades).

The movie opens at the Music Box Theater, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, next Friday, Sept. 27. And on Friday and Saturday of opening weekend, writer-director Andrew Bujalski, local stars Gordon Kindlmann and Anne Dodge, Chicago-born producer Alex Lipschultz and special guests will introduce and conduct post-show discussions. Ray Pride, film editor of Newcity, will facilitate the post-screening Q&As. Showtime is 7:15 PM.

Tickets are $9.25 . . . unless you visit our Facebook page and win one of two pairs of free passes, good for any showing of Computer Chess, courtesy of the Music Box and the Chicago Chess Center! Follow the link to find out how.

Cookout for the Chicago Chess Center

We all know that summer in Chicago is over in a flash. Before it's over, mark your calendar for one last cookout -- to benefit the Chicago Chess Center!

On Sunday, Sept. 8, starting at 3 PM, join us at the Lakeview Men's Club at 2732 N. Pine Grove Ave. (map), rain or shine, for burgers and brats (and vegetarian options). There will also be a cash bar. (Attendees ages 21 and over only, please.) Admission is $20, payable in advance by credit card or in cash at the door. Come and eat, drink and socialize with other friends of the CCC. And yes, despite the name, women are welcome to attend!

Can't make it to the cookout? Then consider coming to one of our Founders' Café Monday evening chess meetups. Our next two meetups are at La Catrina, 1011 W. 18th St. in Pilsen (map), on Aug. 12, and Julius Meinl, 4363 N. Lincoln Ave. in North Center (map), on Aug. 19.

Tell your friends about these events, and bring them along. We need the recommendations of people like you to help us meet our fundraising goal, open our doors, and begin offering classes and tournaments to players of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. Thanks for your continued support, and we hope to see you soon!

Meet Us for Coffee

We're excited to announce our upcoming Founders' Café series of community meetups. Beginning this coming Monday, July 22, we're setting up boards at Julius Meinl, 4363 N. Lincoln Ave. in North Center, and at La Catrina, 1011 W. 18th St. in Pilsen, from 7 to 9 PM (see schedule below). Come visit us, hang out and enjoy a game -- and consider joining the Chicago Chess Center as a Founders' Court member. We need your support to move out of the coffeehouses and into our own space!

July 22: Julius Meinl
July 29: La Catrina
Aug. 5: Julius Meinl
Aug. 12: La Catrina
Aug. 19: Julius Meinl
Aug. 26: La Catrina
Sept. 9: Julius Meinl
Sept. 16: La Catrina

(Subsequent dates TBD)

Also, if you live outside these neighborhoods and know of a place near you that's interested in hosting the CCC Founders' Café, drop us a line or leave a comment below.

Goodbye, Hello, Hello

We regret to announce the departure of our vice president, Alyse Hammonds. Alyse's knowledge of fundraising and the nonprofit world has been a great help in setting us on the path toward opening our doors. We'll miss her active involvement as a member of our board of directors.

But there's happy news as well, as we welcome two new members onto our board: Dave Ducat and Nina Sethi. Dave is a national practice director for Slalom Consulting, a business and information technology consulting firm. Aside from being a longtime chess player, Dave is an active volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, a counselor for the chess merit badge and an Eagle Scout; he's also served as a Little League umpire for 30 years. Nina is an elementary school and English as a second language teacher who has taught students of all ages both locally and internationally and worked with many chess clubs and organizations. She holds a master of arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the last 15 years, she supported her family in starting a chess and philanthropy program in the Chicago suburbs that grew into the nonprofit Chess Without Borders. She also started Chess Without Borders' largest and longest-standing fundraising effort, which provides medical care and education for a burn victim in India. Welcome, Dave and Nina!

Preview Open Winners Aren't the Usual Suspects

David ShinerJune 29 was a day for newcomers, up-and-comers and comebacks. David Shiner, a Shimer College associate dean coming off a 10-year hiatus from rated chess, won first place in our preview open at the Illinois Institute of Technology, with a score of 3.5/4. With only three prior rated games to his name, Armando Rodríguez took second with 3.0/4 (in a tie with the house player, Bill Brock). Young player Mark Jungo, a member of the Knight Moves Chess Club at the Rudy Lozano Branch Library in Pilsen, placed third with 2.5/4, scoring an upset win over his mentor, Héctor Hernández, in the first round.

Shiner's most dramatic win came in the third round, against Hernández. Enjoying more space and an outposted rook and knight by move 26, Shiner had difficulty converting his advantages into a winning position and found himself in deep time trouble by move 30. He was able to detonate the position on move 33, helped out by Hernández's recapture on c6 with a rook rather than a pawn (an oversight that may have been aggravated by the ringing of a mobile phone in the tournament room), and played the position down to a KQ vs. K endgame with less than a minute of time remaining on his clock:

Click here for official tournament crosstable.

Come One, Come All . . . Come Early

If you plan on driving to the Chicago Chess Center Preview Open tomorrow (Saturday, June 29) at the Illinois Institute of Technology and haven't already reserved parking, arrive early: visitors' lot B5 is expected to fill up quickly because of another event. Follow this link for alternative parking locations (lots A4, A6, C5 and D5).

Rather not pay $12 for all-day parking? We don't blame you. You can also take the 'L' to 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (Green/Red Line), the Rock Island Line Metra to 35th, the 24 (Wentworth) or 29 (State) bus to 33rd, or the 35 (35th) bus to Federal.

Come Out and Play!

The Chicago Chess Center is pleased to announce its second preview event -- and this one is open to all U.S. Chess Federation members!

On Saturday, June 29, we're holding a four-round Swiss system tournament at Hermann Hall on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus, 3241 S. Federal St., Chicago (map). The time control is G/45 plus 5-second delay. Rounds will start at 10 AM and 12:15, 2 and 3:45 PM. Entry is $15 for Chicago Chess Center members, $25 for nonmembers. Up to $300 in prizes will be awarded (prize fund based on 30 entries).

Hermann Hall is a seven-minute walk from the 35th-Bronzeville-IIT Green Line 'L' station and a five-minute walk from the 35th Street station on Metra's Rock Island Line -- a great option if you're coming from Auburn-Gresham, Beverly or Morgan Park. Parking will be available in visitor lot B5, on Federal between 31st and 33rd streets, for $4 with advance registration by Wednesday, June 26. (To get this rate, please mention parking when you register.)

To register, send us an e-mail message and pay on the day of the event, or mail your entry to Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc., c/o William Brock, 230 W. Monroe St., Suite 330, Chicago, IL 60606. On-site registration will be from 9 to 9:45 AM downstairs in the Faculty Club Lounge.

USCF membership is required; three-month memberships will be available on-site. Sets and duplicate scoresheets will be provided. Please bring a clock if you have one. The site is nonsmoking and wheelchair-accessible.

We're excited to be able to present this event to you, and we hope you'll be among the first to enjoy what we have to offer. See you on June 29!