Grateful for Chess in Tanzania!

An Interview with Christopher, Make a Difference Now Student at Royal School of HIMO

by Jack Mo, 1st Annual Make a Difference in Africa Trip Volunteer (June 11-18, 2018) 

I am a Penn States student, who enjoyed being one of the volunteers on the 1st Annual Make a Difference in Africa trip in June, 2018. Here is my interview with Christopher, one of one of Make a Difference NOW (MAD)’s sponsored students, who was one the 65 kids we taught: 

Jack giving a lesson on basic 
Christopher at Demo Board.
In background, is Eric, who won our in-class tournament. 



Jack: 

Please share a little bit about your upbringing and how 
Make a Difference Now (MAD) has affected your life.

Christopher:                 

 Without MAD, I would face many challenges. I’m now literate because MAD helped me. Being illiterate would make me end up being in the streets doing child labor in order to have something to eat. MAD is providing all my basic needs such food, clothing, shelter and access to medical services. MAD gave me access to sports such as basketball and recently this year I had exposure to professional chess players and I can now play chess.  MAD has affected my life in general and I can see my future dream in near future. 

Jack: 

What do you want to do in the future after you graduate from Royal School of HIMO? 

 I’ve got short and long term dreams. Right after graduating, I would like to  meet with my family and to get exposure to village life and help with  household chores and farming. I want to meet students in government schools who did not have access to best schools to help them with their classes. I will also be working for my high school applications and college applications to start in the Spring of 2019.

Jack

Tell me a little bit about the experience you had learning chess from the Premier Chess team back in June.  

Christopher: 
I got many experiences such as confidence in playing chess (could play previously but without the basic skills and with no confidence). I learned how to establish a collaborative environment.  I enjoyed how you and the team made students participate by providing the pencils and the trophy. You taught the techniques to win chess competition and ways to refresh my mind through chess.

Jack: 

What was your favorite part about the experience? 

My favorite part is the knowledge on the techniques of winning chess competition because I can apply them in many aspects while playing chess. 

Jack: 

What lessons did you learn from chess that may help you in other areas of life
Christopher: 

Collaboration, corporation and the aspects of winning chess

Jack: 

How much chess is being played in the school currently? 

Christopher: 

Chess have been played in our school every Wednesday but during the last few weeks of schooling, when we’re preparing for exams, we don’t play. 

Jack: 

What types of lessons would you like to learn when we return to school in July?  

 In July next year, most of us will be in other schools since we have already graduated. However, I would like to learn more on the chess techniques. Additionally, if possible when you come back in July, teaching using two languages will be very helpful. Most of MAD students have access to international volunteers and they’ve got used to English speakers but now only one MAD student, Peter, will be around.  It is better to have a translator who will translate to the students with simple English and if possible use two languages, English and Swahili. 

Jack:  

If there is one thing we can improve on for our next teaching trip to Royal School, what would it be?

Christopher

Minimize the speed of teaching and have a Swahili translator. 

Jack: 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with Premier Chess volunteer team? 

Christopher: 

The experience with chess has helped me think mathematically. 

Christopher: 

If I may, would love to ask you two follow up questions: 

Jack: 

Please do! 
Christopher:  

Can chess program be part of employment to people? If so, how?

Jack: 

Chess can absolutely be a platform of employment. I teach students in the classroom and individually either in-person or online. If you are interested in learning more about how you can make money through chess, the other volunteers and I would love to provide some guidance. 

Christopher:  

Are there several teams/ chess clubs in your home area? 

Jack: I am the president of the Penn State chess club, where we meet for club every week. We are in the process of starting rated tournaments on campus. Meanwhile, I do frequently travel to my hometown Pittsburgh and other cities for tournaments. I should note, I also look forward to playing with you again down in the Kilimanjaro region next July! Thank you for your time and see you soon.     

For more insights about our 2018 trip, see CEO National Master Evan Rabin’s article in the December issue of Chess Life.  Apply for 2019 trip, which will take place July 11-18, here!

First American World Champion Since 1972?!

First American World Champion Since 1972?!

Image result for fabiano caruana magnus carlsen

This Friday, November 9, World Champion Magnus Carlsen will take on Fabiano Caruana, the first American challenger since Bobby Fischer in 1972 in the first game of the 2018 World Championship Match in London!

In 2016, I had the opportunity to attend one of the games of the match Magnus played against Challenger Sergey Karjakin in our home turf of New York City. I even had the honor of getting on Norweigian television as I stood by Magnus’ manager Espen Agdestein during the press conference!:

http://www.vgtv.no/#!/video/134450/mann-forvirrer-direktesendingen

One day in 2000, my former teach Alan Kantor took me to the tournament, warning me that as a 1000-rated player, I would likely lose all of my games. After losing eight or nine straight games, I saw an eight-year old kid and thought to my self “Wow- I could finally win a game in this tournament”. I started playing against him and he blundered a queen. Sure enough I ended up blundering one back and went on to lose the game. I asked him what his name and rating was; he shockingly told me he was “Fabiano Caruana” and had a rating of 1833. At the time, I heard of his name but didn’t know what he looked like.

Since that day, I had the pleasure of watching Fabiano grow up a chess player in New York. Gary Ryan, the co-organizer of our 1st Annual Grace Church School and Brooklyn Friends School Grand Prix, was one his first teachers.

One day many up and coming juniors, including GM Robert Hess, GM Marc Arnold, Fabiano and I were running around, letting off some steam between rounds at a Marshall Chess Club tournament. Fabiano’s father Lou told him he couldn’t hang out with us and had to prepare for the next game.

A year or two later, Fabiano was already a strong master and moved to Europe to take chess on as a full-time career. I do have the honor of being able to say I drew him in one action game at one of his last few tournaments at the Marshall before he moving to Europe when he was already a master: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?200410164710-12743305.

In 2006, I saw Fabiano at the Eastern Open when his dad Lou expressed how that was one of the few tournaments he would play at the U.S at the time as it was mostly 1 game per day.

In 2015, Fabiano returned to the United States, living in St. Louis and has been the top player in the country.

To date, Fabiano has played Magnus in 33 classical games. These were the results:

-10 Magnus wins
-5 Fabiano wins
-18 draws

The match, which will last from 11/9 to 11/28, will be directed by Stephane Escate from France.

Time Magazine, NY Times and The Guardian have already covered articles about match; let’s see how much the major publications cover the match as it begins.

While you can follow the mainstream media, you can also keep up with the match via these four platforms:

1) www.worldchess.com

2)Revealing the Power of Chess to the World of Business & Finance/ World Championship Update, 11/15

3)https://www.twitch.tv/chessbrah

4) www.facebook.com/premierchess

Let’s go Team Fabi!!!