Gorbachev Visits Lindsborg, Kansas
US Chess needs a few more organizers like Mikhail Korenman. Wow has he done agreat job of promoting chess in the tiny town of Lindsborg, Kansas (pop. 3,000). First he brings the Anatoly Karpov Chess Academy there, then starts an International Chess for Peace program and most recently brings Mikhail Gorbachev to town – all in the pursuit of promoting chess! I was fortunate to be invited to the Gorbachev visit and Teresa, USCF Finance VP Joel Channing, Joel’s wife Susan, USCF Executive Director Bill Hall and USCF Scholastic Director Jerry Nash attended as well. Without exception we all were impressed!
To have survived and thrived in the Soviet hierarchy of the days of the cold war, Gorbachev obviously had a side we did not see. My one day exposure to this man showed a man with feelings, a man who had pride in having altered the course of history with his initiatives to help end the cold war, a man and his daughter enjoying retirement. At Lindsborg, Mikhail Gorbachev also answered tough questions from Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Alan Murray. He answered those questions pointedly and always with a bit of humor thrown in. And after the final event he, with his entourage and security team, slipped into a bar to chat with the locals.
World Champions Susan Polgar and Anatoly Karpov were, for a change, the supporting cast. Gorbachev praised GM Karpov again and again. As for Susan Polgar, Gorbachev had kisses and a big hug.
Super Photographer, Paul Truong, was always there recording the event with literally thousands of pictures.
Another star was Gorbachev’s translator. I have seen many translators of leading international celebrities but Gorbachev’s translator was easily the best. Gorbachev spoke fast on complicated delicate matters and generally spoke long.
His translator listened intently, took no notes, and apparently missed nothing. I mentioned this to Anatoly and Susan and they agreed with my assessment of the translator.
The security for Gorbachev was very high. They started well before Gorbachev arrived with individual security checks. During the parade they were everywhere – up and down the streets, on rooftops, looking everywhere.
Special thanks to Wes and Mark and all the others who helped so much.
The Alan Murray interview with Gorbachev mainly focused on China and Russia both adapting to a western economy but one with a different political structure and the other with no change in its political governance. While they exchanged Q’s and A’s they played a game of chess. And when Murray asked President Gorbachev how it feels to once be one of two superpowers and then see the other emerge as thee superpower, Gorbachev picked up two castles and asked how would you like playing without these. Another Murray question was: “At the time of the coup when did you first realize you had a problem?” Gorbachev replied: “Well they came to me and wanted this and that; they were unyielding in what they wanted. So, I have these five phones with direct lines on my desk. I began to pick them up and nobody was on the other end of any of those lines. At that moment, I realized I had a problem!.
The costs of the event were somewhat offset with a black tie thousand dollar a plate dinner (USCF chess officials got a free ride on this – thank God!).
The follow on to the Chess for Peace programs will be a 200 player match between US children and Russian children in Russia in March and in june a 2,000 board Internet match between US and Russian children.
Thank you Mikhail Korenman for making this marvelous event happen!
Here is a photo of Teresa and I getting ready for the parade::
Here is a photo of Gorbachev, World Champion Susan Polgar and yours truly on the reviewing stand.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mikhail Korenman
August 30, 2005 (785) 227-2224
Press Release [email protected]
CHESS FOR PEACE
Former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum Heads Chess for Peace Initiative
October 29, 2005 – Lindsborg, KS.
(CROSSVILLE, TN) Chess is often used as a metaphor for politics. On October 29, 2005, the two will come together in the small town of Lindsborg, Kansas, population 3,200. None other than President Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union, along with a host of other political and chess dignitaries, will kick off the yearlong Chess for Peace initiative. The day’s events will feature a chess parade, a scholastic chess tournament, a match between former World Chess Champions Susan Polgar and Anatoly Karpov, a formal dinner, and a keynote address that evening by President Gorbachev at Presser Hall on the Bethany College campus.
Former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum, as chairperson, is overseeing the National Advisory Committee for the Chess for Peace initiative. The committee also includes former government officials Kansas Governor John Carlin , Kansas Senator Sheila Frahm, and Kansas Congressman Dick Nichols. Also on the Advisory Committee, are former World Chess Champions Anatoly Karpov and Susan Polgar and U.S. Chess Federation Vice President Don Schultz.
Gorbachev, a friend of World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov, agreed to come to Lindsborg after receiving a call from Karpov. Gorbachev had only two conditions: (1) Karpov would accompany him to Lindsborg and (2) Karpov would play a game of chess with him.
“I think it’s wonderful that Gorbachev is coming to Lindsborg, because he is a humanitarian and is committed to peace,” said Dr. Mikhail Korenman, Director of the Karpov International School of Chess.
The yearlong Chess for Peace initiative will commence on October 29, and will be followed by a series of Internet matches between students from countries throughout the world. The winners of these matches will be invited to participate in the week long Chess for Peace Festival, which will be held in Lindsborg in June 2006. Students will play chess and share their respective cultures with other participants.
Prime seats for the Gorbachev address are $53.50 and general admission is $27. Tickets for the Karpov Polgar match are $10.50 for adults and $5.50 for students. All ticket prices include tax. Additional information and tickets can be obtained from the Karpov International School of Chess, 106 S. Main, Lindsborg, KS 67456, phone 785-227-2224, Web site http://www.chessforpeace.org or e-mail [email protected]. You can also contact Wes Fisk at (785) 227-4121.