This, That and the Other

by admin on June 23, 2015

So many things going on at once, and I’d like to write a separate post on each of them but then it would take too long. So here are three separate, unrelated pieces of news at once.


GraphMy rating graph since 1991, downloaded from the USCF website. It’s official, my highest rating in almost twenty years. 2203.


While I was having fun in Las Vegas this weekend, one of my students from the Aptos Chess Club was having fun in Cupertino, where he played in his very first rated tournament! I’m very excited about this because it has been several years since any of my students wanted to take the jump into competitive, rated chess. His name is James Ashby, and his mother told me that one of his New Year’s resolutions was to play in a chess tournament!

Well, he can now check that one off the list. He played in the under-500 section of the Bay Area Chess Father’s Day Kids’ tournament this Sunday. He won 2 and lost 3 (missing out on a trophy by 1 point), and got a provisional rating of 204. Need I remind you that this is higher than Ray Robson’s first rating? And Robson is now the third-highest player in the country. Not that I’m predicting anything like that for James, but I’m just sayin’. He is planning to play in his second rated tournament next month.

The Other

Last week, completely out of the blue, I got an e-mail from a producer for National Public Radio (NPR), who wanted to interview me for a program called “Only a Game.” It airs on about 220 public radio stations nationwide, and its general theme (as you might guess from the title) is sports and games.

Why did she want to interview me? Well, back in 2012 I wrote an article for a now-defunct (or, more charitably, “on hiatus”) online magazine called Story Collider. It was a memoir about chess, beauty, computers, and my game in 2006 with International Master David Pruess. The article was called The Departed Queen, and if you haven’t read it before I hope you’ll follow the link and read it now.

Well, believe it or not, one of their listeners read my story and told the producers of “Only a Game” that they should do a feature on it. They read my story and agreed. So we set up an interview time, which happened to be today at 10 am, and for an hour I talked about, well, chess, beauty, computers, and my game in 2006 with David Pruess. The actual show won’t be an hour long, of course. She will somehow edit my rather rambling stream of consciousness into a tight, focused five or six minute segment. Don’t ask me how!

I don’t know yet when the interview will air, but I’ll tell you as soon as I find out.

P.S. That’s all for today, but I appreciate all the interest that you’ve shown in seeing my last-round game from Las Vegas. I will get around to that sometime later this week.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Schmidt June 24, 2015 at 5:03 am

It’s possible that the NPR interview is partially due to me. A few weeks ago, I posted a link to The Departed Queen on the popular “community weblog” MetaFilter, where it received an enthusiastic response ( I wouldn’t be surprised if your NPR listener saw it there (or perhaps a step or two removed). Congratulations on the interview!


admin June 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Dan, I’m sure that you’re right. I’m so grateful to you for unexpectedly creating this opportunity, and also just for posting on Metafilter, a site I had never heard of.

I especially appreciated the comments from non-players or casual chessplayers. That was my whole purpose in writing the article: How can I convey to somebody who knows little about chess why it is that I love this game? To be honest, I had no idea if my story worked, because the original post on Story Collider drew very little feedback. So it’s very moving for me to see one comment after another saying that they loved the story.


Michael Goeller June 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Great article! I had not read it before, though I think I’ve read almost everything else you and others have written about that immortal game of yours. Let us know when the NPR piece goes up and where we can find it.


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