Twenty grandmasters play blitz for charity

by Steve Abrahams
5/21/2018 – More than twenty Grandmasters including the World Championship Challenger Fabiano Caruana (pictured playing tandem blitz) came together in New York on Sunday for the 2nd annual event, a day of quad tournaments, GM blitz, simuls, and other special events. The proceeds from the event will go to Mount Sinai Hospital Ovarian Cancer Translational Research Laboratory. Last year's donation to another cancer charity exceeded $20,000! GM Maxim Dlugy was the blitz winner. | Photo: Vanessa Sun

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Charity Chess Championship

This Sunday, May 20th, the 2nd Annual Charity Chess Championship took place in New York City, featuring many cool events, with the highlight being a Grandmaster blitz tournament featuring over twenty grandmasters! In 2017, 11-Year-old Daniel Mero created the event with his parents Scott and Norma, with the idea of giving back to the community for all chess has done to help him. This year's event included a special guest: World Championship Challenger Fabiano Caruana.

promo logo

Event Creator Daniel Mero and GM Fabiano Caruana come together for charity

Other grandmasters expected at the event included: Marc Arnold, Maurice Ashley, Oliver Barbosa, Joel Benjamin, Anatoly Bykhovsky, Pascal Charbonneau, Max Dlugy, John Fedorowicz, Robert Hess, Irina Krush, Elshan Moradiabadi, Magesh Panchanathan, Mark Paragua, Arun Prasad, Michael Rohde, Alexander Stripunsky, WGM Sabina Foisor and local legend IM Jay Bonin as a special guest.

Maurice Ashley and John Federowicz

GMs Maurice Ashley and John Federowicz | Photo: Vanessa Sun

Support from chess professionals

In addition to Caruana (who hails from Brooklyn) many of New York's local titled players turned out to support the cause for the second year in a row, plus some additional out of town guests.

GM Robert Hess told Chessbase a few days before the event:

I participated in the event last year (tandem simul with GM Marc Arnold and GM Blitz Tournament) and it was a great success. We interacted with many chess fans and players, particular kids. The event was able to raise a huge sum to help in the fight against cancer. This year, with greater preparation and a year's experience, should be even better. It's nice to bring together so many chess lovers interested in supporting a great cause. And this year, Fabiano will be joining for a fun tandem blitz match. I'm looking forward to defeating him with my teammate(s).

Hess was Caruana's grandmaster opponent in a tandem blitz game that was one of the highlights of the day.

tandem blitz crowd

The crowd watching at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School | Photo: Vanessa Sun

Former US Women's Champion Sabina Foisor tweeted her support and told Chessbase:

Although one of the core values of my upbringing has been helping others, whenever I can, as a professional chess player, I mostly take part in activities with hopes of financial benefit, though the main satisfaction for me comes from winning my games. It is intriguing to see so many strong GMs and titled players taking part in a cause that is not about self-interest, but deeply fulfilling and meaningful, both spiritually and ethically. Emanuel Swedenborg once said that, 'True charity is the desire to be useful to others with no thought of recompense'. I believe this is indeed the spirit of this event and I am going to be humbled by being there and to enjoy the fact that I am contributing to such a noble cause.

Sabina Foisor plays Irina Krush

Former U.S. Women's Champions: Sabina Foisor plays Irina Krush | Photo: Vanessa Sun

Among the prizes auctioned for charity was an autographed chess board from the 2009 U.S. Women's Championship, won by IM Anna Zatonskih. That year — the first in which the tournament was held in St. Louis at the newly opened Chess Club and Scholastic Center — Krush finished in third place, and Foisor was sixth.

signed board

Part of the silent auction | Photo: Vanessa Sun

Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School (4 West 93rd Street in New York) hosted the event, which was open to all with a suggested donation of USD $25. Festivities began a registration at 8:30 am EDT and concluded with the blitz tournament which started at 2:30 pm, which was won for the second time by Max Dlugy.

Maxim Dlugy

Max Dlugy presented the trophy by David Hater | Photo: Vanessa Sun

A silent auction featured many more amazing chess items including a chess board from the "unofficial Fischer Random Chess World Championship"; signed by Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura.

For Caruana, the event wraps up a stint in the USA before he jets off again to Europe for a new round of tournaments:


Steve is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, but played and coached chess all across the United States. Steve has attained the titles of National Expert and FIDE Trainer during his career playing and coaching chess.


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