Chess on the gift list of the Trib

12/2/2004 – It is not everyday that you see chess on the front page of an International newspaper. "This month, for the first time on the Amazon.com best-seller list for software for children, the No. 1 product was a chess program," the Herald Tribune noted this weekend. And hastened to make chess part of their gifts guide for Christmas.

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"Few sports or games offer as many gift ideas as the game of chess," writes Brad Spurgeon, staff member of the Trib in the weekend issue. "And what’s more, the less adept the player, the more gifts available."

Brad should know all about that. Chess is not his beat. Mostly he writes about technology and Formula One motor racing. His interest in the game comes from his son Paul, 13, who is successful junior, weighing in at around Elo 2000. Paul will be participating in the French national individual championships in Corsica in April.

"I am very limited in my writing about chess because I am a very, very lousy player," Brad tells us. "I only ever play on playchess.com with Fritz, as a terrible addiction I cannot shake." We checked: 2500 blitz games – yep, Brad, welcome to the club. You are hooked.

The story in the Tribune deals with chess software, clocks, shops, books (a substantial portion is devoted to Garry Kasparov's "Great Predecessors"), hand-held chess computers, chess sets and – aspirin. Pascal Chomet, a French international master and trainer, recommends this as the ideal gift for a chess player after such vigorous mental work.

And for the Grandmaster who has it all? "A shirt or a tie can be a good idea as well," says Gábor Kállai, himself a grandmaster, author and a head of the Hungarian Chess Federation.


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