The Internet long-distance chess spectacle

6/30/2005 – On Sunday, July 10th, 2005, there will be a long-distance chess match between Russia and the USA – the first since the end of WWII. Two teams of grandmasters will face each other using electronic chessboards connected via the Internet. On July 24th the event will be shown in a worldwide TV spectacular.

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The “Chess MasterMinds” show

On Sunday, July 24th, 2005, the world will see a chess match that has not been done in 60 years. This is the first distance chess match to be held between the old Soviet Union, (Russia) and the USA since the end of WWII and the start of the cold war.

July 10, 2005 will be date of the first of three distant chess matches that are scheduled between Russian and U.S. players. The games will be 20-minute matches between four Russian chess grandmasters vs. four U.S. chess grandmasters. The games will be played over the Internet using Shahcom’s e-boards.

The players for the first match are located in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nashville, Tennessee. The production of this event, provided by Nashville International Studios, (NIS), will be taped on July 10th, 2005, in Nashville, Tennessee, with feeds coming in from Russia. The show will be called Chess MasterMinds and will be aired Sunday, July 24th, 2005.

Mention the word Chess and the first thing that comes to people’s minds is a pair of old men in dark stuffy rooms, huddled over a chessboard. The game has changed. This is a distant chess match series of 10-, 20- or 30-minute games between chess grandmasters from different parts of the world. In addition, these matches will be produced for video and made available to the rest of the world through satellite up-links.

Featured in this event of the century will be some of the world’s greatest chess grand masters, such as, Susan Polgar (left), who has ranked in the top three women in the world for the last twenty years. Polgar is currently ranked #1 in the United States.

Not only is Polgar a dynamic player, she is rated as one of the best players in the world in both the men and women’s divisions. Her passion for teaching chess to children and young girls and women has truly earned Polgar the title of “Chess Ambassador”.

Also in the match for the U.S. team is Grand Master, Alex Onischuk (right) is indeed “The Rock”. Rated #59 in the world, his defense and counter attacks have made for some of the most dramatic play over the board of battle. Using a style similar to boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s “rope a dope”; Alex will wait until an attacker has “punched himself out” and then deliver a lethal combination. Onischuk was the Olympiad Silver Medalist in 1996 and Bronze Medalist in 1998. He competed in the 2004 US Olympiad team and playing board number one, placed fourth in the overall games.

On the Russian Team, we will have Alexander Khalifman, rated #42 in the World, who has become one of the strongest contemporary chess players. An International Grandmaster in 1990, he became The Champion of Russia in 1996. He has been the winner of World Chess Olympiads three times (1992, 2000 and 2002); Khalifman was a two-time Saint-Petersburg Champion, winning in 1996 and 1997.


Former world champion Alexander Khalifman

He was the FIDE World champion in 1999. In addition, Khalifman was the winner of the World Team Championship in 1997 and the Europe Team Championship 2003. In addition to being an excellent player, he is a respected chess journalist and the founder of grandmaster chess school and website.

This young player for the Russian team, Konstantin Sakaev (left), rated #30 in the world, was born on April 13, 1974, and is one of the leading Russian chess players. He became an International Grandmaster in 1992. He was the winner of the Youth Russian Championship in 1990, as well as the three-time winner of the World Youth Championship games in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Sakaev participated in four of last FIDE World Championships (1999, 2000, 2001, and 2004). He was the Champion of Russia in 1999, the Champion of Saint Petersburg in 1990 as well as a two-time winner of World Chess Olympiads in 1998 and 2000. Sakaev is a four-time winner of Russia Club Championship (1992, 1995, 2000 and 2001).

Our commentators hosting the Chess MasterMinds show will be Paul Truong and Phil Innes. Paul Truong is the FIDE Master and Captain and Manager of the 2004 Women’s Olympiad Silver Medalist team and an 11 time Champion. Phil Innes created program for qualitative assessment of on-line arts education, which appeared before Senate Technology Committee, Washington D.C. Synchronously with business activities, worked with the inventor of chess broadcasting technologies in St. Petersburg, Russia, since 1996, to promote greater world-wide interactions and audiences for chess. The match will also include two arbiters. The U.S. Arbiter is Harry Sabine and the Russian Arbiter is Igor Bolotinsky, who is now the #2 Arbiter in Russia.

Russia USA
GM Khalifman 2658 GM Susan Polgar 2577
GM Sakaev 2672 GM Onischuk 2628
GM Alekseev 2625 GM Gulko 2589
Nikita Vitiugov 2519 GM Stripunsky 2565

There could be no other choice for the music in this show, but to have Bering Strait, a band from Nashville that consists of five brilliant young Russians performing as featured guests on Chess MasterMinds. The band earned a 2002 Grammy award nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance and the group’s story is told in a feature-length documentary film, “The Ballad of Bering Strait” directed by Nina Gilden Seavey. Seavey received an Emmy nomination for her work on this film that chronicles the striking story of the band growing up outside of Moscow in Russia’s nuclear city, Obninsk, where the members of Bering Strait attended music schools, fell in love with and mastered the American music form of Bluegrass before journeying to the United States.

In Nashville the group landed five consecutive record deals before finishing their debut album for Universal South Records. Their fascinating story, virtuoso musicianship, musical evolution from Bluegrass to Country/Pop and the release of their debut country album caught the attention of “60 Minutes” who matched Bering Strait with Morley Safer for a band feature that aired three times. The band just released its new album, “Pages” on June 28th, 2005 and will perform their new single, “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” for the first time ever on television on Chess MasterMinds. The entire show, in fact, will be scored with the music of Bering Strait. This new album definitely has the flavor of their Russian descent flowing through the music, giving it a very distinctive sound that is hard to place in any one genre of music.

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