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Remarkable ways to bring smart minds and great memories home.

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Find the perfect chess set

Phiona, one of Uganda’s most unlikely champions

This is one of my favorite stories that illustrates that even in hopelessness one may be very close to an amazing future. Phiona had to walk miles in search of food. She found a game that lifted her far beyond the quest for food, and instead made her feel like a queen and reach beyond the hopelessness of her world.

One day in 2005 while searching for food, nine-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende.

Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids in the Katwe slum through chess—a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chess­board in the dirt, Robert began to teach. At first children came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love the game that—like their daily lives—requires persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one girl stood out as an immense talent: Phiona.

By the age of eleven Phiona was her country’s junior champion, and at fifteen, the national champion. Now a Woman Candidate Master—the first female titled player in her country’s history—Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite level in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable coun­tries

book Queen of Katwe

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Chess sets in documentary: Ambassador Chess Set; Classic Wood Chess Set; Basic Club Chess Set

Why chessboards have algebraic coordinates

Those letters and numbers along the margin of many chessboards are the coordinate system for naming the squares, commonly called “algebraic notation”.

Chessboards for learning or competition often have letters and numbers along each side with 1-8 horizontal ranks and A-H vertical files creating a coordinate system for recording a chess game on paper or electronically. The lower left square is A1 and the upper right square is H8, with all the squares having their own coordinate name. read more…

How to select the right size chessboard for pieces

Generally, the King piece base diameter of a Staunton design chess piece should be about 3/4 of the chessboard’s square size. Yes, it’s really that simple!

choose chessboard square size

For non-regulation chess play you can of course deviate from this as you wish, yet the guideline is useful. A smaller square size relative to the pieces will create a denser or crowded feel, while a larger square size will create the opposite effect – a more sparse and open playing field. read more…