Chess masters plan to leave no pawn standing
Eva Dameron
Issue date: 9/18/08

Two chess masters are coming to UNM today to play as many people at once as possible. Anyone can participate in today’s game at 6:30 p.m. in the SUB Acoma rooms A and B.

UNM Chess Club adviser Dean Brunton said masters David Pruess and Irina Krush are among the top U.S. players and in their 20s, which is unusual. “They’re going to give a little talk about chess, which hopefully will be interesting,” Brunton said.

“They’ll play all of us who show up. They walk around, and we get a lot of time to think about our moves, and they make them quickly. Once in a while, they’ll make a mistake, and if there are some strong players, a couple of us will win a game, but it’s amazing how good they are.”

UNM Chess Club president Anthony Chen said the masters are expected to play between 30 and 40 people simultaneously. It’s an interesting event people don’t normally get to participate in, let alone watch, he said.

“They just walk around the room, and they get about 20 seconds a move,” Chen said. “The person sitting on the other side gets how long (the masters have) to go around the room to take another turn. It could be six minutes. Even though they have 20 seconds to think about a move, they’re going to beat you anyway.”

The club will have a couple extra chess boards, but people should bring their own.Local chess teacher Robert Haines said he met Pruess while teaching a chess class in Berkeley, Calif., when Pruess was 12 years old. “He just showed up and stood out right away,” Haines said.

“He had a good understanding of combinations and using pieces together to accomplish some sort of end. I still work with David, but mostly as an adviser now. His chess is far beyond my own. I acted as his second at the U.S. Junior Championship in Tulsa, Okla., in 2001.”

Chen said people have yet to figure out if there’s a pattern to winning chess, even with the aid of a super computer. “Chess hasn’t been solved yet,” he said. “Checkers has. They figured out that if you make the best move every single move, the game will end up in a draw.

Chess is just so much more complicated, obviously.”The UNM Chess Club meets Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the SUB’s Isleta room. “It’s whoever wants to come over and play a friendly game of chess,” Chen said.

“There’s a lot of heated discussions every once in a while, just over certain games people play. Some of us will watch other games people are playing, and half the times afterward we’ll look at other possible moves that could have been made during the game. Sometimes you can learn a lot from other people.”

He said he organizes tournaments with other schools in New Mexico, and the teams meet for battle.


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