NASA: Earthlings, it’s time to keep your pieces from floating away

5/27/2011 – In the past we have reported a number of times on NASA Space Station astronauts playing chess against earth-bound citizens. One of the biggest chess enthusiasts, Greg Chamitoff, and his colleague Gret Johnson are currently playing an Earth vs. Space match, on Facebook and Twitter. NASA has started it with an textbook plug for chess. Watch the video!

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Earthlings, It’s Time to Keep Your Chess Pieces From Floating Away

Greg Johnson and Greg Chamitoff play chess

Shuttle Astronauts Play Chess: STS-134 astronauts Greg Johnson and Greg Chamitoff ponder their next move for the Earth vs. Space chess match. The shuttle crew members also discuss their activities aboard the International Space Station and the benefits of playing chess. [Courtesy NASA]

After a brief postponement due to some electrical problems on the space shuttle Endeavour, the latest Earth vs. Space chess match is now under way, and you can post your suggestions on how to beat NASA astronauts Greg Chamitoff and Greg H. Johnson on Facebook and follow the match there or on Twitter.

Chamitoff and Johnson launched on a mission to the International Space Station on Monday, and have only two weeks to complete this match, so the action should be as fast and furious as the busy mission to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer allows. They’re teaming up for this chess match challenge to the people of Earth.

NASA and the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) hosted the first Earth vs. space match in 2008 when Chamitoff lived aboard the International Space Station. The public won that match thanks to help from chess champions at Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash.

"Chess is a great game that challenges the mind and helps young people develop critical thinking skills that will serve them well in math, science, and all aspects of their future careers," Chamitoff said.

He and Johnson will play the game during their 14-day space shuttle flight to the International Space Station. The USCF is facilitating the match on its website.

Chamitoff/Johnson,Greg/Greg - Earthlings [D11]
NASA Space Station, 27.05.2011
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 c6 4.c5 Bf5 5.Bf4 Nbd7 6.Nc3 e6 7.e3 Be7 8.Bd3 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 0-0 10.0-0 Nh5 11.Rfe1 Nxf4 12.exf4 b6 13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.Rxe5 bxc5 15.Rh5

The position in the game on the morning of Friday, 27th May [click for PGN]

Previous ChessBase articles on chess in space


The weightless astronaut Gregory Chamitoff pondering a chess position on the ISS

Chess in Space: Houston, we have a checkmate
29.08.2008 – How's this for an unusual chess match: US astronaut Greg Chamitoff, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, is playing against the Ground Stations. The first game was won convincingly by Chamitoff, who is a decent amateur player. Now he is playing six simultaneous games against different Ground Stations. We have pictures and an indepth interview with the astronaut.

Get Ready for Earth vs. Space
26.09.2008 – On Monday, September 29 Greg Chamitoff, travelling 210 miles above the earth at five miles a second, will challenge team earth to a ground-breaking Space Match. It is a unique event, pitting the International Space Station astronaut against the residents of Earth, guided by a team of schoolchildren. Rate of play is one move per day. Press release.

Swedish Astronaut to play Chess from Space
21.08.2009 – Remember American astronaut Greg Chamitoff, who a year ago played chess against the NASA ground stations. Well, now European Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang, Sweden, is going to do the same, playing a game against the Swedish public. Right now Fuglesang is in quarantine awaiting an August 24th launch. But the game has already started, and you can take part.

Astronaut Fuglesang in trouble – in space chess game
09.09.2009 – On August 28 Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang blasted off into space, on the 128th mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. He conducted a seven-hour space walk at the International Space Station, and also continued his chess game against the readers of a Swedish newspaper. Both the astronaut, who has a tough position, and his opponents have lovely prizes waiting for them.

Astronaut Fuglesang receives his prize
22.10.2009 – After returning safely to Earth from the 128th mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program, during which he played a game of chess against the readers of a Swedish newspaper, the astronaut Christer Fuglesang was given a prize (in spite of losing the game). It was a Rybka program, signed by five World Champions. One of his reader opponents received a similar prize. Illustrated report with videos.

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