Wednesday, January 25

GM deFirmian Returns to Bay Area

News from Chess Room Director IM John Donaldson:

The Mechanics' Chess Club welcomes Nick deFirmian as its Grandmaster-in-Residence. This will be a return home for the native Californian and UC Berkeley graduate. Grandmaster deFirmian has a long association with the Mechanics' dating back to his days as an undergraduate, and served as a member of the organizing committee for the M.I.'s "Pan-Pacific" International Chess Tournaments in 1987 and 1991.

The past three decades Nick deFirmian has excelled in many areas of the chess world. A world class player for many years, Grandmaster deFirmian is a three-time US Champion and an eight-time member of the US Olympiad team. He served as the Captain of the US team at the 2002 Chess Olympiad held in Bled, Slovenia.

The author of several books on the games, including three editions of the well-received Modern Chess Openings, deFirmian has also written for such leading chess publications as New in Chess, Chess Life and Inside Chess.

He is well known for his role in helping prepare openings for the IBM computer Deep Blue that defeated World Champion Garry Kasparov in a historic battle in 1997. This was the first time a computer had beaten a reigning human World Champion in a match.

The past decade Grandmaster deFirmian has concentrated his energy on teaching chess to children in New York City. This teaching included working with Public School 130 in Chinatown and Horace Mann, a private school which won the 3rd and 5th grade national championships. He has also coached kids in such events as the World Youth Championships and taught at summer chess camps throughout the country.

Grandmaster deFirmian will focus his energy on the Mechanics' Chess Club's Scholastic Outreach program. He will also be the lead instructor at an expanded number of chess camps held at the Mechanics' and will start a Thursday evening group class for enthusiastic amateurs players.

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Additional comment by fpawn This certainly counts as exciting news! The Mechanics' has been without a Grandmaster-in-Residence since 2008, the year when Alex Yermolinsky moved to South Dakota. DeFirmian brings the experience of a veteran Grandmaster who won the US Championship three times and many times represented the country abroad. He also is one of only a few American GMs born in the USA! After the departure of Sam Shankland, Josh Friedel and Jesse Kraai, the Bay Area should embrace the new arrival. Welcome home!

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