GM House, or “Real World: Chess House”

Besides NY, and to some extent, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, there isn’t generally a concentration of chess talent in one city. Even in those big cities, the talent tends to spread out across the city. But now the west coast will put El Cerrito, a town of about 30,000, on the map. El Cerrito was already home to GM Josh Friedel (who moved to California from New Hampshire) and with a few recent additions, the city is one of the strongest west of the Mississippi.

Pulling a page out of the Chinese playbook, a bunch of US chess players will live under the same roof! Full-time chessplayers tend to be a little eccentric (I’m certainly no exception), so the cast of characters makes this an easy target for a reality TV show.

GM Jesse Kraai, formerly of New Mexico, moved here in November. I finally moved in this week. The two of us, along with two others (David Petty, who teaches chess at the Berkeley Chess School, and Andrew Leong, who is a graduate student in the comparative literature department at UC Berkeley), are living in a 5-bedroom house. There is an attached 1-bedroom apartment to the back of the house (sort of like an in-laws quarter), where IMs David Pruess and Irina Krush will stay. With GM Friedel only two blocks away, we have 5 of the top 50 active US players all living next to each other. The average FIDE rating of our study group will be 2474 FIDE, with 3 GMs and 2 IMs (each having 2 GM norms).

The cast of chess characters:

(1) GM Jesse Kraai: He of the Berkeley Chess “Fight Club” fame in 2006. Former philosophy teacher. Slowly realizing that the words of men cannot contain The Shaba’s meaning.

(2) GM Josh Friedel: The panda. Samford Fellow from 2007. Wonders daily now whether he has to get fumigated to rid himself of The Curse.

(3) IM Irina Krush: Samford Fellow from 2008. She of the “Krushing Attack” video series fame. And maybe for the 2008 US Women’s Championship Armageddon final controversy.

(4) IM David Pruess: Samford Fellow from 2006. The chief designer behind the Berkeley Chess “Fight Club” series of tournaments.

(5) Little ol’ me.

This should be fun.


One response to “GM House, or “Real World: Chess House”

  1. Pingback: dana blogs chess » Berkeley International, round 1

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