Archive for the ‘Susan Polgar’ Category

Will the Chess Madness Ever End?

January 23, 2008

In his day, Bobby Fischer was involved in some messy disputes in the chess world, but none as strange and sordid as the current spamming scandal that is soiling the United States Chess Federation. From Monday’s New York Post, under the headline VULGAR CHESS MESS:

“In a classic example of brainy people behaving badly, a bizarre, epithet-filled dispute is rocking the staid world of chess.

“On one side of the fight is Samuel Sloan, 63, of The Bronx, a former securities trader, ex-con, former cabdriver and would-be Republican congressional candidate from Brooklyn.

“He served a year as a member of the executive board of the United States Chess Federation, the nation’s leading such group.

“In a $20 million suit filed in Manhattan federal court in October, Sloan claims he wasn’t re-elected because Paul Truong and wife Susan Polgar, who were elected to the board in July, posted more than 2,000 scurrilous remarks under his name on chess bulletin boards.

“One of the potty-mouthed postings was, ‘I will convert that bull dyke [name withheld] with my 41/4-inch power tool.’ Another accused Sloan of performing oral sex on a 12-year-old girl and being a purveyor of kiddie porn. A woman who answered the phone at the Truong-Polgar home had no comment.”

The New York Times has also covered aspects of the controversy in both the paper and in Gambit, its chess blog.

Susan Polgar and Paul Truong have denied the allegations in Sloan’s suit; see, for example, Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Forums.


Girls in Chess

November 6, 2007

I devoted a chapter of King’s Gambit called “Female Counterplay” to women in chess, and I quoted the statistic that 10 percent of U.S. tournament chess players are female.

Now Susan Polgar, former women’s world champion and current chairman of the United States Chess Federation, reports female participation by age in her blog. The statistics confirm the oft-made observation that girls starts off strong in scholastic chess but quit the game as they get older:

Ages 12 and below: 5,491 of 29,791, or 18.4%
Ages 13-15, 1121 of 9,031, or 12.4%
Ages 16-19, 629 of 6,771, or 9.3%
Ages 20-24, 129 of 2,208, or 5.8%
Ages 25-64, 1,085 of 28,932, or 3.8%
Ages 65 and up, 23 of 2,172, or 1.1%

Overall: 8,592 of 84,572, or 10.2%

Let Me Dream: King’s Gambit the Movie

July 26, 2007

My over-active imagination has been fueled by a caller from Hollywood who inquired about film rights to my book.  And so I’ve come up with a fantasy cast for King’s Gambit the movie:

The Cast (in order of appearance)

Johnny Depp as Paul Morphy

Rosie O’Donnell as Morphy’s mother

James Gandolfini as my father (because Rodney Dangerfield, Jackie Gleason, John Belushi, and John Candy are unfortunately unavailable)

George Clooney as me

Angela Landsbury as Mrs. Perrutz (my kindly therapist when I was three)

Jake Gyllenhaal as Pascal Charbonneau

Natalie Portman as Irina Krush

David Blaine as David Blaine

Scarlett Johanssen as Jennifer Shahade

Reese Witherspoon as Susan Polgar

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Garry Kasparov

Jim Carey as Nigel Short

Ben Kingsley as Bruce Pandolfini

Anthony Hopkins as Claude Bloodggod

Mel Gibson (behaving like he did when he encountered the trooper) as Bobby Fischer

Kudos to Krush!

June 12, 2007

Irina Krush in a blitz tournament (five minutes a game) at the Polgar Chess Center in Queens.

Irina Krush, a member of my fantasy chess team and a friend whose chess career I’ve followed closely for a few years, can rejoice at her strong performance (four wins, including one over U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov, one draw, and one loss) at the just-concluded National Open in Las Vegas. 

Susan Polgar, hardly a chess slouch herself (a former women’s world champion, she is the only women in the United States to hold the title of grandmaster—and the first woman in the world to earn the GM title the same way men do), reports on her blog that Irina gained fifteen rating points at the National Open to become just the third female player in the country whose rating has broken the 2500 barrier.  Irina deserves a warm welcome back home in Brighton Beach.

Now rated 2512, Irina sees no intrinsic reason why women can’t play as well as men but doubts whether there will ever be many women in chess.  “You have to be obsessive to play the game well, and women aren’t as obsessive as men,” she told me when I interviewed her for King’s Gambit: A Father, a Son, and the World’s Most Dangerous Game.  “I’m not fanatically crazy about chess.  I like the game but I’m not going to study it ten hours a day like many male grandmasters did when they were teenagers.”


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