West Louisville Chess Club not dwelling on controversial Bevin remarks – Courier Journal


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This is the third year of the all girls chess camp run by the West Louisville Chess Club at Louisville Urban League
Salgu Wissmath, Courier Journal

While Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial remarks this week about the West Louisville Chess Club sparked a backlash in the community, on Thursday fifth-grader Keyaira Thompson wasn’t giving it too much thought.

She just wanted to win against her older sister, Kaleisha. 

When asked who would win in a game of chess, Kaleisha begrudgingly nodded toward the younger Keyaira and said, “Probably her.”

The siblings were two of about 40 girls who took part in a chess camp this week at the Louisville Urban League hosted by the West Louisville Chess Club. 

Bevin sparked controversy this week when he said in a promotional video that a chess club was “not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.”

Background: Bevin’s ‘disturbing’ West End chess club comments spark outrage

But the girls at the camp weren’t thinking about Bevin’s comments. 

Instead, they were busy devising new strategies and listening to Corbin Seavers, the club’s coach. 

The girls patiently leaned over pink-and-white chess pieces as “Coach Corbin” explained that chess is a game of sportsmanship. Hands eagerly soared into the air when the coach asked for answers to various chess questions. 

For participants, the camp offered exposure to a new game. Others joined out of a deep-rooted desire to win against more experienced family members. One camp-goer said she joined solely to beat her grandfather. 

The day camp is part of the chess club’s initiative to get more girls interested in the game. Seavers, who has been coaching chess since 2010, said he noticed a lack of girl chess players and women grand masters. He’s on a mission to dispel the notion that chess is a boys’ game.

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Seavers preferred not to dwell on the governor’s comments. Neither did the leaders at the Louisville Urban League, which helps fund the chess club.

“I really don’t have much to say,” said Samuel Johnson, director of youth and development education for the urban league. “We’re focused on just providing our youth with the best opportunities to play this game and to be the best that they can be.” 

Carla Robinson, program coordinator at the urban league, said chess is not a new phenomenon in western Louisville. 

“It’s been happening, in homes all across the West End,” she said. “People have chess boards and people play chess.” 

This year the West Louisville Chess Club took first place in Cincinnati’s Queen City regional chess tournament in a bracket for fourth- to sixth-graders.

The club is currently raising money to compete in a national tournament in 2019 and is using summer projects like the all-girls camp and other urban league initiatives to recruit more members.

“What I love about this as a sport is that the only way you get better — you have to get more disciplined, you have to study more and develop that mind,” Seavers said. “You can be as fast as a gazelle, but that’s not going to help you.”

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This kids share what they learned at chess camp this summer
Salgu Wissmath, Courier Journal

Club members are primarily in grades K-12 and mainly come from Jefferson County Public Schools in the West End. They meet at the Louisville Urban League two Saturdays a month to compete and prepare for tournaments.

“We want to provide quality out-of-school-time programs, and chess is just one of the programs that we offer here at the League — it’s really taken off,” said Johnson.

Hailey Mize, 15, one of the few girls in the club, helped with the camp. She’s competed in many local tournaments across the region.

“I think you can put chess into life,” Mize said.

As an example, she mentioned a “one-touch” rule, which means that once a player touches a piece, it must be played.

“In life, once you do something, it’s already done,” Mize said. “You can’t really take that back.”

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Kentucky Governor: Black Kids Playing Chess 'Not Something You Would've Thought Of' in Black Part of Town – The Root


Screenshot: WHAS

Apparently, astounded that all black children don’t spend their time shooting hoops or exploring new avenues of committing black-on-black crime, the governor of Kentucky regurgitated a small amount of previously digested racism when he declared how surprised he was that black kids could play chess.

On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin visited Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, a Louisville, Ky., middle school that is 86 percent black and only 1 percent white. Before entering, Gov. Bevin recorded a brief introduction for his Twitter followers.

“I’m about to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club,” he explained. “Not necessarily something you would’ve thought of when you think of this section of town.”

The video montage, appropriately set to Appalachian banjo riffs, shows Bevin actually standing next to the blacks and imploring teachers to “give them the chance to succeed, to pursue the American dream.”

While I could point out how Bevin doesn’t give a damn about black kids or their dreams being that he supports Donald Trump, the Tea Party, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, lowering the minimum wage, gun-toting teachers and the Blue Lives Matter law, I’d rather focus on a more important question:

What does Matt Bevin, and other white people expect from that “part of town?”

Well, The Root has obtained an exclusive copy of an internal memo circulated by the Bevin administration listing the top 10 things Gov. Bevin expects to see when he visits black schools:

10. Dance-offs: We’ve all seen the movies. When white people go to black schools, the first person they want to meet is the liberal, white woman who took a job at an inner-city school and saved the miniature negroes from a life of gangbanging by teaching them how to channel their anger and pain into the annual statewide dance competition usually dominated by nonblack students from the Becky Y. P. Pull Ballet Academy.

9. Jordans: Everyone knows black parents spend their welfare money on sneakers and designer outfits.

8. Crips and/or Bloods: Prior to his visit, Gov. Bevin trained in mixed martial arts for weeks so he could stop little J’Quavius from being jumped into the 57th Street Piru Thug Killers on the playground during recess

7. Liberal education: The liberal media doesn’t talk about how black kids are taught to hate the police, chant “Black Lives Matter” or believe in the myth of evolution. Black schools don’t teach kids how to respect the flag or that God named the first couple Adam and Eve (not “Adam and Steve,” as progressive textbooks would have them believe).

6. Rappers: How else do you think the kids learn how to be thugs? Rap music. In Advanced Placement hip-hop, honors-level thugs learn the correct way to conjugate the word “nigga” and how to sag their pants while walking down the street, smoking Indo, sipping on gin and juice, laid back with their mind on their money and …

you catch my drift.

5. Black-on-black crime: According to white people, at least once a month, schools hold “Continue-the-Violence” pep rallies celebrating the top gangbangers and thugs. That’s why we disregard crime in the black community.

4. Violent attacks on nerds: To be fair, this myth comes from middle-class black people who want to tout their hood bonafide by explaining how they were bullied for speaking correctly or getting good grades.

White people love shit like this because it correctly explains the education gap.

3. Sex: According to a survey conducted in the minds of conservatives, 85 percent of all teen pregnancies were conceived under the bleachers in a black high school or in the bathrooms where everyone hangs out smoking Newports after pre-Algebra.

2. Fake history: Black kids don’t learn the truth about how the war of Southern aggression actually had nothing to do with slaves. It was actually about Southerners’ rights to fly Confederate flags on their pickup trucks … And the constitutional right to own, kidnap, torture, rape and lynch black people. But mostly about the flag thing.

1. Hating white people: According to the memo, black kids spend 49 percent of their classroom time learning how to hate white people. The history of slavery perpetuates hate. Math classes teach kids to believe in data on police shootings instead of Fox News. Geography teaches them to respect other cultures. U.S. history teaches them how America has oppressed every nonwhite population in this country. Science teaches them that white supremacy has no basis in fact.

All of this leads to reverse racism, or what some educators refer to as “the truth.”

When challenged to a game of chess, Matt Bevin did not refer to the complicated game as “checkers for liberals.” Instead, Bevin left Louisville and went to visit Kentucky’s hacky-sack state championship team in one of Louisville’s white suburbs.

To be fair, I don’t know if that’s true.

It’s just something I “would have thought of” in that part of town.



Massive chess pieces, rocks thrown from roof of DC apartment building – WJLA


(Courtesy of Nathan Kron/Twitter)

DC Police are investigating a bizarre incident in which they believe four suspects hurled giant chess pieces from an apartment building roof to the street 11 stories below.

It happened early Monday evening at the Senate Square apartment building near 2nd & I Streets in Northeast Washington.

The roof of the building featured a giant chess board with 32 pieces. One resident estimates they weighed about 15 pounds each.

The suspects threw the pieces off the roof, smashing several car windshields and causing a chaotic scene.

Bottom floor resident Peter Likus says it all started when he believes the suspects threw a rock down at his dog, which was in an enclosed area just outside his apartment.

“[It sounded like] a loud explosion,” he said. “The dog ran into the apartment. We thought it was a car accident. We came out and looked and [the rock] is what we found. And that’s when the chess pieces started flying off the roof.”

No one was hit by the chess pieces, but that was fortunate because residents say someone could have either been seriously injured or killed.

Likus says he was told the suspects likely followed a resident with a key fob into the building and then went to the roof.

As of Monday night DC Police said no arrests had been made.



Square Off: Back to the chess board – Forbes India


g_107353_squareoffnow_280x210.jpgAatur Mehta (left) and Bhavya Gohil capitalised on the commercial potential of their smart chess board
Image: Aditi Tailang

The idea came from a project to build a chessboard for the visually impaired. In 2013, Bhavya Gohil and Aatur Mehta, then second-year students of electronics engineering at KJ Somaiya College of Engineering in Mumbai, took up the challenge at their college’s incubator lab RiiDL.

The result of that project—a Braille chessboard with voice feedback and where the opponent’s pieces move on their own—took them to the innovations fair Maker Faire Rome in 2014 where the positive response made the duo realise the commercial potential of their board. The two decided to turn it into a smart chess board that lets the user challenge anyone in the world on a traditional board.

“We never had a conversation [on whether] we have to make this a commercial project, it was a given,” says Gohil, 24, sitting in a conference room at thinQbate in suburban Mumbai, where their company InfiVention Technologies is now incubated.

Four years and seven prototypes on, the chessboard now lets users battle the system’s artificial intelligence (AI) chess engine, which has 20 difficulty levels. The related app Square Off lets users challenge players located anywhere, whether they have the board or not. When your opponent makes a move on the app it plays out on your Square Off board with the selected piece moving on the board.

Square Off has also tied up with chess.com so that brings another 21 million players into the fray, says Gohil. “So any Square Off player will be able to play with any chess.com player and vice versa. This is expected probably by July-end, we have it in beta right now,” adds Mehta, also 24.

The startup, founded by Gohil (CEO) and Mehta (CTO) in September 2015 as Chess Automated soon after they passed out of college, was initially funded by Pranav Marwah, co-founder of thinQbate, and Samir Somaiya, chairman of the KJ Somaiya Trust, after which they took to crowdfunding through Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

“I’m an avid scrounger of interesting consumer products from across the globe via Kickstarter and Indiegogo, so the opportunity to see and invest in a product (and two extremely sharp innovators) with potential up-close was convincing,” says Marwah.

On Kickstarter, their goal was $50,000 and they reached that in six hours. “In 24 days, we raised $220,000,” say the founders who then started the process of manufacturing the board in China. The board has a rosewood finish and traditional wooden pieces and comes in two versions—the Kingdom set and the Grand Kingdom set, priced at $329 and $399 respectively. The latter has an auto reset feature where the pieces move back to their designated spaces at the end of a game.

A seed round of investment of $500,000 from investment firm India Quotient followed in July 2017. While the initial pre-orders were for around 1,800, they did a first run of 2,600 and started delivering the product in January this year. They started selling the surplus on their website (squareoffnow.com) launched in April. “The only downside of building a product like this is the [small] size of the market that it initially attracts or caters to. They’ve constantly shown, however, that even this is something that can be changed,” says Marwah.

The founders seem to have identified their markets. They have tied up with Amazon to sell in the holiday season in the US and a manufacturing run of double their first round is on the cards. “We don’t sell in India yet because it becomes expensive with custom duty and shipping, but maybe next year we can think of a proper launch in India when we have a bigger team in place,” they say.

Though the concept and technologies can be used to play other board games too, for now they are focusing on chess, constantly adding updates. But other tech products are on the cards. “Because now we know the entire cycle, how much time, money and effort it takes, we are starting the R&D,” says Gohil.

While they don’t want to discuss details, what’s certain is that they will be products where the virtual and real worlds meet. 

(This story appears in the 20 July, 2018 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)



Manistee man wins second place in chess tournament – Manistee News Advocate (press release)


FLINT — Ruben Ramon, of Manistee, took second place in the Michigan Senior Championships held on June 23 and 24 in Flint.

In 2015, Ruben Ramon holds his second place trophy that he won competing in the Michigan Senior Open Championships. Ramon again won second place during the tournament in June. (Courtesy Photo)

In 2015, Ruben Ramon holds his second place trophy that he won competing in the Michigan Senior Open Championships. Ramon again won second place during the tournament in June. (Courtesy Photo)

The Michigan Chess Association is the recognized state affiliate of the national organization, the U.S. Chess Federation. A nonprofit founded in 1931, the MCA sponsors and conducts all state championships tournaments for both children and adults. All its tournaments, except the senior and women’s tournaments, are open to everyone.

“Chess is not a toy, it’s a learning thing,” said Ramon. “I’m glad I was able to learn how to play and to teach others to play.”

He used to teach Chess at Kennedy Elementary.

Ramon placed first in the same tournament in 2008 and again in 2013, then took second place in 2015.