Grow Some Hair on Your Chess
Some people have an image of chess players as geeky, meek introverts. There’s little to truth to it, and some recent developments may (or may not) change perceptions: (1) Garry Kasparov, quite possibly the greatest living chess player, has raised his profile among non-chess-players by becoming a candidate in the 2008 Russian presidential race. Kasparov has never been geeky or meek, but he now has a political voice that makes that loud and clear. Here’s a link to Kasparov’s interview with Stephen Colbert. (2) In an apparent bid to help make chess an Olympic sport, the World Chess Federation is requiring some players to be tested for steroids. See here and here. (3) As Eugene Volokh notes, there is now a sport of chessboxing. Competitors alternate between rounds of speed chess and boxing. The idea arose from a plot line in a comic book–a fact that is, admittedly, unlikely to boost the sport’s street cred.