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Exhibition Review: Into the Human Light: Uganda

Exhibition Review:  Into the Human Light: Uganda

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New York, New York
by Frank Brady
An intriguing and important photo exhibition, "Into the Human Light: Uganda," is currently on display in the Tournament Room and in the entrance hall of the Marshall Chess Club until December 5th. There is a story attached to the exhibition that is worth reading below. If you miss this brilliant show, however, you can see most of the photos on the following link:
A young woman named Phiona Mutesi was raised in one of the worst slums on the planet, the area of Katwe, in the city of Kampala, in the poor country of Uganda. She dropped out of school at age nine because of her father's death, and her mother could no longer afford the tuition. Being virtually illiterate, Phiona sold corn and other products on the streets of her town to help her mother and siblings eek out a living. Because of the severe rains that plagued Katwe, she and her other family members slept in hammocks - raised as high as possible so they wouldn't drown - as the raging waters flowed through the dirt floor of their shack. It was a bare existence, more than just economically impoverished, it was a sad life.
Then she found chess.
A young missionary, Robert Katende, began to teach chess to the children of Katwe, and Phiona stumbled upon the class. She was about ten years old and within a short while became intrigued and showed both talent and promise of becoming a strong player. The rest is chess history as they say: she learned to read chess books (and other things) because of her fascination with the game and a few years later became the chess champion of Uganda, and represented her country at the Chess Olympiad held in Russia. She had never flown before, never before seen snow, and met and played people from all over the world.
All of Phiona's story is chronicled in a well-documented book, The Queen of Katwe and in a major motion picture of the same name, recently released. Phiona has become an international celebrity, certainly of chess. "A young star," proclaimed Gary Kasparov.
Phiona's story intrigued Marshall Board member Beatriz Marinello, who is Chairperson of FIDE's Social Action Commission, and as a result she started the "Smart Girl" program in Uganda in order to give young girls the opportunity to learn the game, and eventually improve themselves academically as well. She raised funds, encouraged the children, and shipped chess sets and boards abroad. She visited the country several times to help organize the program with Katende, who was named the General Secretary of the Social Action Committee. Eventually the program was expanded to include the chess education of boys as well as girls. Marshall Club member Virginia Hoffmann also began to sponsor a young chess player from Katwe, Mirriam Apiyo, paying her annual tuition to attend school, and supplying her with chess equipment.
In 2013, Beatriz Marinello asked visual artist and photographer Dora Leticia Martinez if she would consider going to Uganda to document the progress of the program.
Dora traveled to the country three times and became creatively and emotionally involved in what she found there:
"In the far reaches of this planet, there is a village that really does raise a child. I hope to shed light on this human struggle."  
She found chess students everywhere, most of whom were inspired by the success of Phiona who had become known as one of Uganda's most famous citizens.
The photos that are on display at the Marshall are not merely documentary proof of the chess activity in Uganda, but are distinctive works of art in themselves: beautifully crafted, clearly composed, colorful, meaningful, enduring. They speak of how children can pull themselves out of the dredges of poverty and work though chess, a discipline that was heretofore totally foreign to them.
The chess world and the Marshall Chess Club are indebted to Dora Leticia Martinez and Beatriz Marinello for the work they are doing in helping to bring the children of Uganda into the wonderful world of chess, and to improve their possibilities of having a fuller life.


Copyright 2016 © Marshall Chess Club
1915 - 2016
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MCC's New President, Endgame Course, and the World Chess Championship!
MCC's New President, Fall Classes, and the WCC in NYC!
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President Paul Rachlin

We are pleased to announce that Paul Rachlin was recently elected President of the Marshall Chess Club.  Paul has been a member of the Marshall for many years, serves as a member of the Board of Governors, and participates at the club as an active tournament player.  

For thirty years Paul practiced corporate and finance law at a major law firm in New York City.  Currently, he is the CEO and founder of a medical technology start-up company. 

We also extend our deepest gratitude to Stuart Chagrin, who stepped down as President in June. Stuart's leadership was instrumental to the Marshall's growth over the past four years. His efforts put the club on its currently sound financial footing, led to the expansion of our chess educational programs, and, together with Vice President Larry Price, led to substantial improvements in the Club premises.

Thank you, Stuart!

Chess Education at MCC

Endgame Course - NEW!

Instructor: IM Raven Sturt (above, left photo)

This new 12 week, college-style course is aimed at ambitious players (~1800+) who have a basic understanding of endgames. The lessons will take heavily from Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual (Chapters 1-7) and will primarily cover pawn endings, knight endings and bishop endings. Take home materials and problems will be provided.

The course will be conducted in 2 hour classes on Tuesday nights (8:00-10:00pm) starting September 13 and running through December 13. (There will be two breaks in the middle of the term.)

Enrollment is limited and costs $500 ($400 for MCC members).

To request a spot please email: [Your spot is not reserved until: 1. You have paid a non-refundable deposit of $200 and 2. Your rating (~1800+) is confirmed.]



Adult Chess Classes
Instructor: NM Eric Balck (above, right photo)

This class is perfect for unrated players who have a basic understanding of chess.

Class are taught in 2 sessions: Tuesday nights from 6-7pm and 7-8pm. Players of every level are welcome to join either or both sections. Classes run each Tuesday and students are welcome to drop in week-to-week as the lessons stand alone. 

Registration is available online by following the link below. The fees for attending one or both sections are $30 and $40 respectively. Club members receive a $10 discount each session. 10 class packages are also available at a discount!

Registration is available online:
FIDE World Chess Championship Comes to NYC!
The three week long Championship Match, to be held from November 11th to 30th, will be contested by 25-year-old reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger, 26-year-old Sergey Karjakin of Russia.
The Match arena will be built within the Fulton Market Building, a five minute walk from Wall Street. It will feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more.
The World Chess Championship will also include the wide scale Public Program, with chess competitions, events in the parks for all New York chess fans, master classes, and entertainment at the main venue for kids and adults.

The Marshall Chess Club will be holding special tournaments and lectures as well!
For more information please visit:

Copyright © Marshall Chess Club, 2016
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News for the New Year
Club Champions, Puzzle Night, and Workshops!
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Co-Champs Gata Kamsky and Zviad Izoria

Congratulations to our 2015 Marshall Chess Club co-champions: GM Gata Kamsky and GM Zviad Izoria. The two elite players finished with scores of 7.5/9, a full point ahead of the field. Neither player suffered a defeat over the two weekend event.

GM Kamsky has won back-to-back club championships. He is yet to win the title outright though, having shared the crown in 2014 with GM Mark Paragua. This was also the 2nd co-championship for GM Izoria, after he shared the title with GM Giorgi Kacheishvili in 2008. Given the high rate of shared titles in recent years, the club might consider introducing a tie break starting next year. 

A wealth of young talent paced the rest of the field. FM Nicolas de Checa finished in 3rd place with an impressive score of 6.5/9. Half a point behind this rising star, former club champion GM Sergey Kudrin finished alongside Raven Sturt, Hans Neimann, and FM Joshua Colas. It seems a safe bet that at least one of these junior players will someday achieve our clubs highest honor, and have their name ingrained beneath GMs Kamsky and Izoria! 

In other news:
The Amateur Championship was won by George Berg and Robert D. Olsen.
The Junior Championship was won by Ethan Li, who scored a perfect 5/5! 

Puzzle Night @ MCC

Join us for our newest event: PUZZLE NIGHT!

Puzzle Night will be held the first Tuesday of each month, starting February 2nd. Every month the puzzles will feature a different theme. From mating attacks to promotion tricks, we promise not to disappoint!

Come join us and sharpen your game while having fun. Prizes will be awarded to top performers and refreshments will be provided.

Admission to play: $15, MCC Members: $10.
Prizes TBD!

Hosted by NM Alex King.
In addition to teaching the Marshall's long running Saturday Junior Class, Alex is the committee-of-one who chooses and annotates the club's "Game of the Month." For an archive of this work, or to submit a game played at MCC for this Internet prestige, visit:

GM School Winter/Spring Workshops!
@ the Marshall Chess Club!

with GMs Tamaz, Irina, and Georgi

February 8
February 15-19
March 21-25
April 25-29

Formerly known as "camps," our workshops offer 3 levels of instruction for junior players from beginner to 2000!

  • 8:30-9:45am: Drop off / supervised chess play.
  • 10-12pm: First lecture / supervised play.
  • 12-1pm: Lunch (daily pizza lunch included, as well as juices and snacks).
  • 1-2:30pm: Free time / blitz / bughouse tournament.
  • 2:30-4:30pm: Second lecture / supervised play.
  • 4:30-5:30pm: Snacks / free play / pick up.
$120 per day.
Sibling Discount (2nd child): 50% off original price
10% discount for GM School attendees
10% discount for whole week registration
Pizza lunch, juices, and snacks are provided!

Registration and Inquiries
To register and for any inquiries, please email program director Irina Krush at Advance registration required. Space is limited and not guaranteed without advance registration. Minimum age 6 to attend. Payment (cash or check) on site; checks should be made payable to "GM Chess, Inc."

See our website for complete details
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Fall News from the Marshall Chess Club
Lectures, club champions, and one last BBQ!
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Bobby Fischer Re-visited.

Last week we had the privilege of being joined by Master Dr. Leroy Dubeck and Dr. Frank Brady for a special lecture as part of our centennial programming, made possible through the generosity of the US Chess Trust. These scholars captivated the club with stories surrounding the 1972 World Chess Championship match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer. They also helped set the record straight with respect to the facts and inaccuracies in the new movie "Pawn Sacrifice."

Dr. Dubeck, who was serving as president of the USCF leading up to the 1972 match, surprised us by describing the political wrangling involved in determining playing locations, negotiating with the Soviets, and assuring that Fischer had a level playing field. He also had some surprising secrets about the personal life of Spassky! Dr. Brady, who is Fischer's biographer, picked up at the start of the match in Iceland. He contextualized the stakes of the event, the enormous odds against Fischer, and painted a vivid picture of what it was like to hide in an air vent as he spied on game 3!

This was just one in a string of events at the club in the past month. We want to thank all of our guests and supporters who have made our centennial truly special!


Club Championships!

The club is gearing up for our 99th annual Edward Lasker Memorial/ Marshall Chess Club Championship in December. This year we have added $3,000 to the prize fund and anticipate the event being a "Super Swiss" with GM and IM norms possible! Last year's Champions GM Gata Kamsky and GM Mark Paragua are slated to return and defend their titles.

Not a master but want to compete!? Join us the first weekend of December for the Jerry Simon Memorial/ Amateur Club Championship. Top finishers will be invited to the big event beginning the following week.

In November the club is bringing back the previously defunct Junior Championship. We are very excited for this event, which will feature trophies and awards for 7 age groups. You must be a Marshall Junior Member to play!

See our Calendar for details

Fall BBQ

Join us Tuesday, October 20th at 7pm for our final BBQ of the year. We will be saying goodbye to the warm weather but not without one last hurrah! There will be food, drinks, raffles, and chess! Youngsters and their parents are encouraged to attend!

This event is made possible through the generosity of club member, chess mom, and birthday woman Lisa Hershfield - Happy Birthday, Lisa!

Suggested donation: $10

See You Soon,

Your favorite Marshall Chess Club


Copyright © Marshall Chess Club, 2015
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Centennial Events at the Marshall Chess Club!
Upcoming centennial events and more!
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100 Years Young!

This fall we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Marshall Chess Club, and we hope you will join us! 

A series of centennial events will take place over the next few months.  These will be kicked off with an article about the club in the September issue of Chess Life.  The article was written by Dr. Frank Brady, past President and President Emeritus, and details some of our rich history.

Events this fall will include:
  • September 8 a lecture by Roberto Mayor (President of the Capablanca Chess Club) and Miguel A. Sanchez (author of a book on Jose Raul Capablanca) will precede a match between players from London and Cuba against Marshall Members. 
  • September 22 is the Night of Champions, which will be a gala evening.  All former Marshall Chess Club champions have been invited.  Grandmaster (and former Champion!) Maurice Ashley will host the festivities!
  • September 25 the Marshall will hold the 2nd Robert Byrne Memorial Blitz Tournament.
  • Special guest lectures will be held on October 27th and December 1st.
  • In November we are reviving the Junior Club Championship. This will proceed our annual Club Championship, featuring an increased prize fund, in December.



Adult Chess Classes

We are excited to offer a new class for adult 'beginner' chess players. This class is perfect for unrated players who have a basic understanding of the game.

Class will be taught in 2 sessions: Tuesday nights from 6-7pm for 'less advanced' students, and Tuesday nights from 7-8pm for more advanced students. Players of every level are welcome to join either or both sections. Classes begin September 1st and run each Tuesday.

Registration is available online by following the link below. The fees for attending one or both sections are $30.00 and $40.00 respectively. Club members receive a $10.00 discount each session. 10 class packages are also available at a discount!

Register Online!


This year's 8th New York International was a great success.  The Championship section was won by GM Gata Kamsky.   The U2200 section ended in a tie for first between WFM Anna-Maja Kazarian and Dore Sheppard.   Three Brilliancy prizes were also awarded in the Championship section.  They were won by FM Leif Pressman, IM David Eggleston and Qibiao Wang for their draw, and GM Alder Escobar.  John Michael Burke was awarded an IM Norm for his outstanding performance in the Championship section. Congratulations to everyone!

Coming Up:
The club tournament schedule is getting more exciting by the month. Be on the look out for: "Wacky 3rd Friday," "Sunday morning action!" and special holiday events. The "Holloweekend" and "No-Draws Thanksgiving Weekend" are the first time the club will be experimenting with a new time control. We also will not be allowing draws at one of these events...

Copyright © Marshall Chess Club, 2015
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Welcome to the New MCC
Introducing our new website.
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Welcome to the new!


We are thrilled to bring you our new website. In addition to providing an improved design, this site is interactive and easy to use. You can renew your membership or register for Chess Camp with the click of a button. If you are looking for a chess teacher, our Private Instruction page will give you details and contact information for the best instructors in New York City. Want to see who won last night's game? Visit our Live Standings page for daily results.

Take a look around and enjoy!


Marshall Chess Camp Returns Next Week!
June 29 - July 3
August 3 - August 7
August 24 - 28!

We are honored to have Grandmaster Amon Simutowe, the first Grandmaster from Sub-Saharan Africa, and Grandmaster Hedinn Steingrimsson, the recently crowned Icelandic Champion, teaching our advanced classes!

Other great instructors who will return include NM Juan Sena, NM Alex King, and Eric Balck.

Children are divided into groups based on rating. All children will receive rounded instruction covering Strategy, Tactics, Openings, Middlegames, and Endgames. They will solve puzzle worksheets, analyze famous games, play tournament games, compete in a Grandmaster simultaneous exhibition, and of course relax with some Bughouse after a hard study session!

Appropriate for ages 5 to 16.

Pizza Lunch, fruit and healthy snacks are included in the price.

Contact us to see if you qualify for any discounts!


  • 8:30- 9:30 - Drop-off/ casual play.
  • 9:30- 11:00 - First Lecture.
  • 11:00- 11:30 - Work sheets, wind-down time.
  • 11:30- 12:00 - Pizza!
  • 12:00 - 2:00 - Recess at the Washington Sq. Park Playground.
  • 2:15 - 3:30 - 2nd Lecture.
  • 3:30 - 4:30 - Tournament.
  • 4:30 - 5:30 - Pick-up /casual play.

$400/week for Club Members;
$450/week for Nonmembers
$100/Full Day, $60/Half Day.

Register Online!

Walk-ins welcome

New Tournaments!

Starting in July, the club will begin offering new tournaments in addition to our already great weekly line up. Check our Calender for the U2400 Action, Fischer Random, and the Marshall Mega Tournament. The tournament prize structure is changing too, so look for bigger top and classes prizes!

But first, don't forget to register for:

The 8th New York International


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BBQ/Book Sale, Camps, and the New York International!

Summer Camps, a BBQ/Book Sale, and the New York International!


Hello Chess Friends,

The Marshall Chess Club is pleased to announce several exciting events in the coming months.

We hope to see you there! 

Chess Camp!
The Marshall will continue its tradition of excellence in chess education with three camps this summer. The weeks are:
Camps run from 8:30am to 5pm. Lunch and snacks are provided. Children will enjoy Grandmaster lectures, play time at Washington Square Park, tournaments, puzzle worksheets, and of course, bughouse!

Register Online:


Spring Book Sale (and BBQ)!
Join us for a chess book sale Friday, May 29 to Sunday May 31. To kick it off, we are having a BBQ on our patio Friday, May 29th at 6:30pm. What better way to enjoy the warm weather than with a burger and a chess book! The BBQ and book sale are open to all. BBQ: $10 for members; $15 for guests; $5 for youth.

The 8th New York International 
This year's NYI will be held entirely on site at the club from July 15- 26. There will be 2 sections: Championship (2000+) and U2200. Sections are limited to 70 participants each, so please register early!
To register online, or for more information, please visit

Copyright © Marshall Chess Club, 2015
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