Chess Fundraiser Success

May 17th, at the Karpov 2010 fundraiser in NYC. From left to right, Richard Conn, Anatoly Karpov, Alan Trefler, Magnus Carlsen, and Garry Kasparov. Photos courtesy of Karpov2010.org

May 17th, at the Karpov 2010 fundraiser in NYC. From left to right, Richard Conn, Anatoly Karpov, Alan Trefler, Magnus Carlsen, and Garry Kasparov. Photos courtesy of Karpov2010.org

The event was amazing -- getting widespread coverage with 29 original articles/blogs yielding 95 media placements including Associated Press, The New York Times, The Moscow Times CBS News, Forbes, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Newsday, San Francisco Chronicle, MSNBC, The Guardian, etc… (Now we just need to get BPM into the mainstream media, a challenge I am happy to say, Pega is making good progress on.)

A personal highlight resulted from winning the charity auction (together with Boaz Weinstein -- a chess master and prominent Wall Street personality) to play with -- and then against -- both Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen in a pair of 15-minute matches. Enthusiastic play-by-play coverage was provided by chess grand master Maurice Ashley.

Though called "consultation games", the play really has the members of each team independently playing alternate moves – leaving the lesser players (Boaz and myself) with the persistent fear we were missing what our partner's previous move had intended.  Game one (below) started well with Garry and I playing white with a queen's pawn opening and winning a piece – only to have yours truly be overcome by mental cobwebs to miss a passed pawn that sealed our fate.

Myself and Garry Kasparov playing Magnus Carlsen and Boaz Weinstein

Myself and Garry Kasparov playing Magnus Carlsen and Boaz Weinstein

For the next game, Magnus was my partner (see below) and as black we found ourselves defending the Advance Variation of the French Defense. My cobwebs had begun to clear and we were able to launch a devastating counterattack against our opponents disjointed pawn structure and then drive out their king to win. Despite the rough first game, the experience was a blast.

 Alan Trefler and Magnus Carlsen at Karpov 2010 Fundraiser

Alan Trefler and Magnus Carlsen at Karpov 2010 Fundraiser

If you are interested in learning more about the event, and the movement to put chess back into the mainstream, be sure to check out www.karpov2010.org  as well as coverage of the event. I recommend the NY Times Chess Blog and the NYTimes City Room Blog.