Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Got a Match?

Chess tournaments abound in the Chicago area, but matches, those psychological dramas where two strong players face one another over the board, over and over, in a series of hard-fought games: that’s something we don’t see around here very much.

A chess match between two strong players is an exciting thing to behold. Think Fischer vs. Spassky, Kasparov vs. Karpov, Tal vs. Botvinnik, or Panner vs. Tennant. (Come to think of it: Whatever happened to that match? Has it been scheduled?)

While only two can play in a chess match many can spectate, and through the miracle of MonRoi, millions can follow a game and even kibitz about it online while it’s underway.

This week we have a chance to watch two national champions fighting it out up at the Holiday Inn in Skokie. U.S. Women’s Champion and major chess celebrity Irina Krush (top photo) is facing Armenian Women’s Champ Lilit Mkrtchian. The first two games ended in draws; there are two more games, one Wednesday and the other Thursday evening, each at 5:00. You can go and watch in person or follow it online. Details here, and initial report from Betsy here. This is a rare opportunity; don’t miss it.