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National Chess Week

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12-year-old David Howell is flying around England in a helicopter to promote chess. The young hope's tour is part of "National Chess Week," which has included several events with Garry Kasparov. Quoth Howell: "Chess is a very exciting game and unlike football it can be played in all weathers. Anybody can play chess and winning a game is a great feeling."

The "cool" thing has always been a major topic of discussion, mostly in the UK and the USA, where chess is often seen as geeky. Particularly in the US there is an anti-intellectual undercurrent that makes some people distrust any game or sport that doesn't involve tackling. You see this as early as elementary school, where kids who get good grades are made fun of by their peers for being nerds and eggheads. This is so common in the US that people here are often surprised to hear it doesn't happen everywhere in the world, at least not at the same level.

Harry Potter, a prototypical "geek," plays chess, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone or anything considered cooler right now. Kudos to David Howell and to the initiative overall in the UK. The USA is bit big for a helicopter tour, but National Chess Week would still be a great idea. Young stars like Nakamura and Caruana make good ambassadors.

How is chess promoted in your country or city? Have you contacted anyone to suggest such things? Written local papers, government representatives? Libraries, schools? Don't wait for it to happen; make it happen! It starts with you. Go to the websites of your local newspapers and write them, too. If you have contact information for good places to propose more chess in your country, send it to me and we'll put a great page together. If you're in the US, contact your state representative here.

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 21, 2003 2:58 AM.

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