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Guest Blogger: Jen Shahade

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Before we get down to serious analysis, I want to give a couple shout-outs, first to "Chess Moms," a label and T-shirt slogan for the hyper moms of would-be prodigies. Now Judit Polgar is leading the way in changing the meaning of "Chess Mom." True, women do sometimes drop out of chess once they start families. But certainly there are no statistics to show that those who do stick with it play any worse.

In fact, the most impressive results from the Mallorca Olympiad were from two-time mothers, Susan Polgar, (who had the highest performance in the event, 2622) and Viktoria Cmilyte, gold medallist on board one. Judit, in her first outing since the birth of her child Oliver started Wijk Ann Zee with a bang by defeating Peter Svidler in a clean defense from the Marshall Attack.

I was happy to see Judit win, but the game moved me for a more somber reason. I had spent six hours analyzing the white side of this line with IM Victor Frias. After too many sacrifices, and too much coffee, we got the strong sense that the white side of the Marshall is more fun than we originally imagined. The pressure is really on black, said Frias, to prove something. If black doesn't mate fast, white will gain counterplay in the center as well as the queenside. This was a typically lucid synopsis from Victor..

He deserves much credit for making me a champion. Before both my U.S. women's victories in 2002, 2004 (and 2003, when i lost in the playoff), I had marathon study sessions with Victor. After each of these, I emerged in love with chess and in energetic form. Frias passed away January 15 at the age of 49 a huge loss to American chess.

[2002 and 2004 US women's champion Jennifer Shahade of Brooklyn contributes monthly to the Black Belt newsletter, from which this is an excerpt.]


These Chess Moms are forced to take off a year from serious competition - but, they often return with the 'chess hunger' and fresh creative zeal.

I read Mr. Frias' obituary the other day. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know what the "rapidly progressing neurological disease" was that he died from?

Victor Frias died of Aids. No shame in that. As far as I know, he was a decent person in every sense.

Xie Jun's performace is also impressive!!

Excuse me, Irvin, whoever you are...I know for a fact that you are mistaken about the cause Victor's untimely passing.
I am an associate of his and a family friend. I watched as over a period of weeks Victor rapidly declined from apparently perfect health. The control of the muscles in part of his face, then his hands and eventually his entire body were quickly lost to a neurological disease. I am 100% sure that this type of tragic passing has nothing to do with AIDS.
I am ashamed and saddened that I have to write about this, but I am more disgusted that you would post your random speculations as fact.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 25, 2005 6:31 AM.

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