Opening Day: Chicago Blaze launch chess season in Skokie


September 1, 2011 3:46PM

If this had been opening day at Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field, the home team would have been credited with a shellacking, an explosive launch to the season ahead.

Wednesday’s opening night for the Chicago Blaze at the one-year-old North Shore Chess Center in Skokie pitted four of the team’s 10 chess players against four members of the Seattle Sluggers.

For hours, the players looked over laptop computer screens and exchanged moves with their opponents who presumably were gathered in a similar room in Seattle. In the end, three Blaze members won their games and one drew to a tie leaving the final score 3.5-.5 in favor of — as partisan White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson might say — “the good guys.”

The analogies to baseball’s opening day are easy to make when one team is called the Sluggers and when dignitaries such as Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen and Trustee Randy Roberts attend to kick off the new season.

The mayor even “threw out” the opening move on one of the chess boards, making a symbolic start to the season as players and others applauded.

Play Ball!

The Chicago Blaze have been around for three years now, an expansion team of the United Chess League and one of 16 chess teams competing for 10 weeks during the regular season.

Half of the 16 teams make the playoffs. Compiling a 6-4 record last year, the Blaze enjoyed post-season play for the first time in 2010, but bowed out quickly in the first round.

This year, the team is determined to make the playoffs again and have a longer post-season run.

“We’re eager and ready,” said Sevan Muradian, owner of The North Shore Chess Center and one of several who put the team together and manages it. “This year, we’re going for blood.”

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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