Best of US Chess 2017 #6- Chess in the Amazon by Vincent Roazzi Jr.

The #6 article in Best of US Chess 2017 is The Shaman Sees Checkmate: Teaching Chess in the Amazon  by Vincent Roazzi Jr. With evocative photographs and writing, Vincent chronicles his stint teaching children chess in the Peruvian jungle.

I was amazed at how quickly their pawns advanced and swapped. Many mistakes were made and I corrected diligently noticing that after each failure their mistakes lessened. Soon they were correcting each other in Spanish and their tribal tongue. “Vincente! El ganador!” they yelled when their pawns reached the other side. I extended class an extra hour and was swarmed with hugs.

In my following classes I set up the school desks outside during sunset under a coconut tree. We immediately advanced to full games due to a mutual impatience. But my restaurant Spanish reached its limits. Taking a piece became “eating it” and the winner was the one who could “Eat the king!” They would point to their opponents bishop for example and say, “Quiero comer?” (Can I eat this?)” and I would say, “Yes! Eat!” “Eat the king!” I prescribed.

Find more work by Vincent on his official website, http://www.vincentroazzijr.com/

The Judges Sound Off

If Vincent Roazzi Jr. has aspirations to be a travel or photo journalist, I would say he is well on his way!  His photographs alone are art and should be hanging on the wall of a gallery or museum.   In this article, the photographs serve as the perfect complement to the descriptive, engaging and detailed account of Vincent’s trip to the Amazon.  And so what if he taught the children to “eat” the King.  Better to eat the King than ingest the Ayahuasca….just saying…Jennifer Vallens 

This was a fun article that illustrated the universal language and appeal of chess. Roazzi takes you on an adventure where chess may not be the focal point, but it’s a vessel of exploration.- Dan Schultz 

This unique article combines the exotic travel experiences in the Amazon jungle with teaching chess. The plot describes the challenge explaining the rules of chess to the young students, especially the definition of checkmate. At last, one of the brightest kids manages to trap the enemy king instead of eating it. Success!- Michael f-pawn Aigner 

BEST OF US CHESS 2017 COUNTDOWN

5. ????

6. The Shaman Sees Checkmate: Teaching Chess in the Amazon by Vincent Roazzi Jr.

7.  GM Rogers on World Cup: Five US Players Still Alive by GM Ian Rogers. (Judging article)

8.  Spring Ahead in the Endgame by Bryan Castro  (Judging article)

9. In Memory of Dad: Chess, Parenting & Crossing Borders by WIM Dr. Alexey Root (Judging article)

10. Petrosian Wins World Open: ‘Forget About the Draw’  by Jamaal Abdul Alim  Judging article 

Comments

  1. My Amazon River chess experience was at a small village, Boca de Valeria. I arrived and were greeted by the children of the village one of whom took our hand and walked me through the village. When we stopped at the school, I walked up the steps and upon entering saw a table. There I placed the chess set and invited our young guide to learn some of the moves. I left the set since we were short of time and upon returning to the cruise ship several of the cruisers mentioned that they saw the set I had left. They also saw a crowd of kids watching two young kids playing real moves on the set I had left. The chess adventure continues!!

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