chessathon

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jay hack

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Jul 22, 1992, 3:56:51 PM7/22/92
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------------------CHESSATHON REPORT-----------------------

What do you do with hundreds, maybe thousands) of kids who play
chess, a collection of FIDE titled players, three hundred yards of
chess boards and a few thousand chess sets? You hold the largest
simultaneous simul ever in New York's Central Park. The USCF-
sponsored first annual chessathon was held today, July 18, 1992 in
Central Park's Literary Walk from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. An untold
number of kids, and assorted adults who couldn't resist the
temptation to play a grandmaster, played five hours of chess on 280
boards stretching as far as they eye could see against both local
and out of town GM's, IM's and FM's who graciously donated their
time to support chess in education and the USCF's "Push pawns, not
drugs" program. The "Champions" included the three Polgar sisters,
John Fedorowitz, Maxim Dlugy, Ron Henley, Alex Yermolinsky, Roman
Dzindz-I-can't-spell-it, our own network-IM Elliot Winslow, Robert
Byrne, Pal Benko, Alex Sherzer and many others who I either didn't
see or didn't recognize. Each kid was given a free chess set, a T-
Shirt and a one year USCF youth membership. All kids who obtained
pledges to the anti-drug campaign of $100 or more won chess
computers. By 1:30 when I left, there had been a few draws, but no
losses by the Champs.

Interesting sidelights. Judith Polgar plays chess with everyone
and seems to love it. At one point, after she had finished her
simul, she was standing in the park and a boy of about 10 asked her
to play a game. She agreed. Danny Edelman, who organized the
Chessathon, came up to her as she was walking towards a board and
said that a television crew wanted to film her. She pointed to the
boy and said "I can't do that now, I have to play a game of chess
with him." She played the game and the TV crew, along with a
collection of photographers, got better pictures anyway.

Also in attendance were three members of Congress, including Nita
Lowey who suggested that as a member of the House Education
Committee she would propose chess in schools as a national program
to foster analytic skills, and state legislator Richard Brodsky,
who has already proposed a bill in the New York State legislature
to add chess to the curriculum.

The entire USCF staff assisted, under the direction of Al Lawrence.
They came down from headquarters by bus, leaving at around 6 am to have
enough time to set up the tables, boards, pieces and other information
materials.
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John Tomas

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Jul 28, 1992, 7:53:59 PM7/28/92
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There was another such exhibition many years ago (20) in Chicago's
Daly center plaza. I played from 10 AM till 5 PM and I figured that
I went 128-2 or so. Dick Verber estimated that we played in the
range of 10,000 games, but I think that overstated the numbers a
bit.

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