Saturday, March 28, 2009

Congrats to IM Shankland!

Sam Shankland moved onto the semi-finals in the 2009 US State Champions of Champions by completely dominating his field with a score of 9.5/10!!

The semi-finals will take place on April 4th. More info can be found here.

Congrats, Sam!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Future of Chess? has over 500,000 members and is adding over a thousand new ones each day. This is an absolutely amazing feat when you consider that the site was only launched about a year and half ago. I remember checking it out briefly when it first came out, but it didn't seem like anything special. And it really wasn't, but much like a 15 year old IM, they have been improving on a daily basis.

I feel a little embarrassed that I didn't realize how powerful this community has become. I have always been a US Chess Federation kind of guy. And it might be a completely inbred, dysfunctional family, but it was my family. And even though mom and dad always argue and have taught me to have extremely low expectations which they continously fail to meet, I have stuck with them. I mean, they are the sanctioning body for chess in the United can't get any better than that, right?

But damn...look at They have everything! It is a completely integrated online home for chess players. Playing chess can be a very cold and lonely endeavor at times and I think that is why the game loses so many of its casual players. But has made a very comfortable place to hang out and find mentors and friends.

The visionary behind all of this is a guy named Erik. He has put his heart and soul into this chess community and it shows. But he isn't just some guy who runs the site and holds his constituents in contempt...he is an active part of the community. The amazing thing is that if there are any problems with the site, he is the first one to accept blame and ask the members for help and suggestions for improvement. His openness and transparency of action is not only endearing, but makes the members feel like they are all part of the journey. The USCF could learn a thing or two (or two million) from Erik and

Is this face the future of chess?

Oh, and Erik also wrote some very cool things about Endgame Clothing. You can check out the whole

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rise Against and Chess

You don't think chess is in the mainstream? Well, think again!

For those of you out of the loop, this bombshell came out a while ago, but I have been waiting for the rest of the International Chess News Corp to pick up on it. I figured this would have been a huge story! I guess I'll just have to report it myself...

The popular rock band, Rise Against, released their fifth studio album in October of last year. The name of the album is "Appeal to Reason" and it premiered at #3 on the Billboard 200. The album was immediately embraced as a critical and commercial success.

While this is all well and good, people seem to have overlooked the real importance of this album. It employs major chess imagery. Watch out Wu Tang! There's a new band on the block for chess players to desperately look to for validation on the musical landscape.

So without any further ado, I present what I am calling "See? It told you chess is cool #47 "...

What's that? You don't see anything? Well, look a little closer...

My high school years have been officially vindicated! I knew I was cool...I fucking knew it! I just didn't know I was ahead of my time. Here we have a successful band (but not too successful...we don't want to lose street cred) showing some heavy chess love.

So why does Rise Against have a bishop on their album cover?

No. I'm asking you, "Why does Rise Against have a bishop on their album cover?" Because I don't know. I have messaged them on Myspace, but haven't heard anything back. I'll let you know if there are any late breaking developments, but right now I need to go set the record straight with a few girls from high school that didn't understand what a visionary I was...

By the way, both the band and this album are great. And although it lacks the chess imagery, their previous album "The Sufferer and The Witness" is a favorite of mine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Endgame's Next Top Chess Model

I thought it would be super easy to find a model for Endgame Clothing. I mean, isn't modeling for a chess clothing company a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Doesn't every model dream of just getting the chance? Apparently not.

But let's not focus on the negatives here or how I was turned down so much it felt like high school all over again...let's talk about the positives...

After many failed attempts, dead ends and flakes, I found Jazmin. And she is wonderful. She was always prompt to reply to emails, was on time for the photo shoot...and did I mention she stands 6 feet tall in heels?

Now you might be cynically asking yourself if she plays chess? Haha, does she play chess? Hell ya...she knows how the pieces move!! Her 5th grade teacher taught the whole class...but she hasn't played since ;-(

I will continue to rotate more pictures of Jazmin at our main website so stop by and check them out, blogger doesn't quite do them justice...