Nation’s Eyes to be on National Chess Championships in San Diego Thanks to Multi-Millionaire’s Dedication

National Chess Championships With $250,000 in Prizes to Be Held in San Diego 11/24 – 12/5

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ — Thanks to the vision of one man, the “game of kings” will take front and center on the national stage this month as 64 of the nation’s finest chess players go head to head in a nine-day tournament being held at the tony Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines (10950 North Torrey Pines Road, in La Jolla) near San Diego, Calif. Multi-millionaire entrepreneur Erik Anderson, a Seattle resident and devotee of the game, saved the 159-year-old U.S. national championships from extinction four years ago and has since invested millions of dollars of his own money to ensure that the games go on. This year’s “world series” of chess is expected to draw 2,000 spectators a day and an additional 1.2 million others who will keep up with the proceedings thanks to newly developed and complicated Internet technology. The 2005 U.S. Chess Championship will begin on Wednesday, November 24 and continue each day through Sunday, December 5 at which time $250,000 in prize money will be awarded to the best players at an awards ceremony that will be held in the hotel’s Scripps Ballroom from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is invited to view the competition free of charge.

Anderson secured the rights to the national chess championships in 2000 from the United States Chess Federation and formed the America’s Foundation for Chess (AF4C). In addition to sponsoring the national championships, the nonprofit organization mounts an aggressive program called First Move to introduce chess to American grade school children. Studies suggest that youngsters who play chess develop their critical thinking, math and problem solving skills more effectively than those who do not play the game. In conjunction with the nine-day tournament of master players, which will feature the nation’s current chess champion, Alexander Shabalov, a number of other activities are being planned. Among the highlights are the Kid’s Simul, an exciting interactive event for children ages 5 through 18. Approximately 300 youngsters of all ages and abilities are encouraged to “make their best moves” in simultaneously held games in a massive exhibition of chess-playing abilities. Joining the activity will be 25 U.S. Championship master players who will rove about the arena and offer pointers to the children. The Kid’s Simul will be held on Saturday, November 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in downtown San Diego (off Pacific Coast Highway at Gate 4). Those interested in registering may do so by calling Dawn Spears at (619) 226-1491, ext. 110 or via e-mail to dawn@af4c.org.

“Chess has been viewed as an extension to the arts, sports and sciences since its inception nearly 1,400 years ago. When I discovered that America’s premiere chess championship series was in danger of losing its funding, I knew that something had to be done,” said Anderson. “More than any other activity, chess stimulates one’s creative and analytical skills and can be used with phenomenal success as a fun and educational tool for children. I am delighted to announce that the 2005 U.S. Chess Championships will, once again, take place and look forward to exposing this amazing game to a new generation of enthusiasts.”

Among the sponsors of the 2005 U.S. Chess Championship are Chessmaster 10th Edition, ZMD, NTC Promenade, America’s Foundation for Chess, Swarovski Crystal and the Anderson Family Foundation.

America’s Foundation for Chess was founded in 2000 to advance the game of chess in American schools and society in general. It’s mission is to promote the historically significant game as a fun and educational tool as well as make chess a larger part of the United States’ cultural fabric. Those interested in viewing the tournament via the Internet may do so by visiting www.uschesschampionship.com.

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