Back to Chess! News about Jesse Kraai, Jude Acers

by admin on October 7, 2013

After a brief sojourn into the world of mathematics, “dana blogs chess” now returns to the subject it’s supposed to be about! Today I have two news items that came in the e-mail within the past week.

1) Jesse Kraai has finished his Great American Chess Novel! This is great news for a couple reasons. First, we will soon have a Great American Chess Novel to read. And second, Jesse is going to get back into tournament chess. (Presumably he will also resume giving ChessLectures, although I do not yet have confirmation of that fact.) His first tournament back will be the Western States Open in Reno, two weeks from now. He will also give a reading from his book while he is there.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to make it to Reno this year. The Western States is my favorite chess tournament of the year, but with two trips abroad in less than two months (Germany in September, England in November) I just couldn’t make the in-between trip to Reno work out. Without going into details, let me just say that I’m putting family over chess this time.

Anyway, Jesse has said that he will send me a PDF of the novel. After I have a chance to read it, I’ll post a review.

2) I’ve gotten a few e-mails lately from a group of filmmakers who are making a documentary, called The Man in the Red Beret, about Jude Acers. For a guy who rarely competes in traditional tournaments, Acers is legendary. For more than 30 years he has played chess almost every day in the French Quarter of New Orleans, at the same table, for $5 a game. I’ve seen him myself. I didn’t play against him because I’m too much of a cheapskate to pay $5 … or was it just because I was afraid of losing? Hmmm…

The movie will be finished in 2014 no matter what, but the filmmakers (Class Action Films) are trying to raise money so that they can accompany Acers to the World Senior Championship next month. (He has a private benefactor who is paying his way, but I guess that the largesse does not extend to the film crew.) They’re trying to raise $6500 on Kickstarter, and they are getting close to their goal. They have gotten $4948 in pledges, and there are ten more days left in the campaign. I will pledge $5, so that the money I saved by not playing against Jude Acers will go toward the documentary. Perhaps some other readers of this blog might also donate the price of a chess game?

Of course I wouldn’t ask you to support the project sight unseen. So here is a 9-minute short video that they have posted on Kickstarter:

They have also posted a new video that uses Google Glass to capture a simultaneous exhibition from the point of view of the master playing the exhibition — something that has surely never been done before. I have to be honest that I don’t think the Google Glass adds as much to the video as I had hoped, but you be the judge. It’s early days for Google Glass, and I don’t think anyone quite knows what to do with it!

#ProjectGlass Meets The Man In The Red Beret from CLASSACTIONFILMS on Vimeo.

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