Chess grandmaster Sadvakassov mows down competition at Duquesne
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Without even looking at the boards, international chess grandmaster Darmen Sadvakassov simultaneously annihilated two opponents in less than 15 minutes.

The Kazakhstan native sat with his back to the boards. He never turned around. Nor did he touch a chess piece.

Instead, his opponents moved their pieces and a game official announced each move. Sadvakassov, 29, of Squirrel Hill answered by calling out his countermoves. The judges moved his pieces for him.

“It’s pretty amazing he can do this without looking,” said Michael Michna, 20, of Wednesday evening’s chess demonstration at Duquesne University. Michna said he plays the game two or three times a week, but doesn’t belong to the school’s chess club, which hosted the event.

“It’d be an honor just to have him destroy me,” said the sophomore finance major of Sadvakassov’s prowess. But Michna declined to be one of 12 people who played the grandmaster all at the same time. Non-chess club members paid $10 for the privilege of being pummeled.

In the next hour and a half, Sadvakassov beat 11 of them. Kevin Mo, 14, an eighth-grader from Franklin Park, earned a draw.

“No, I’m not frustrated. I’m very happy someone got a draw,” said Sadvakassov, who will receive a master’s degree next month from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. He won a Kazakh-government scholarship to attend the School of Public Policy & Management.

“I didn’t want to crush everybody,” Sadvakassov said. “That’s not polite.”

Here is the full article.

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