27 February 2018

February Yahoos

This post marks five straight months of this blog ending the month with a Yahoo title. That means five months where something in the chess world caught the attention of the mainstream press. While last month's post, January Yahoos, had only a feel-good story, this month's post has both a feel-good and a feel-not-so-good story.

2018-02-09: This Ex-NFL Player Is On A Mission To Become A Chess Master (yahoo.com)

When John Urschel retired from the NFL last year after just 3 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, it made headlines. In recent years, several young players, including Chris Borland of the 49ers, have bowed out of the sport early due to growing concerns over the potential for long-term brain damage, but Urschel’s motivation was different: he just didn’t have time for football anymore. Now, Urschel has quietly set himself a new goal: he wants to become a chess master.

For more about Urschel, see Wikipedia's John Urschel:-

John Cameron Urschel is a Canadian mathematician and retired professional American football guard and center. He played college football at Penn State and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Urschel played his entire NFL career with Baltimore before announcing his retirement on July 27, 2017, at 26 years old.

The second story appeared twice in the Yahoo news feed. This is not unusual, except that the look changed the second time. I wasn't sure which instance to use, so I captured both of them. The first link led to the following article.

2018-02-14: Most powerful man in chess accused of 'secretly funding ISIS' (yahoo.com; nypost.com)

The world governing body of chess has had its financial dealings frozen amid allegations its scandal-hit president facilitated the funding of Islamic State terrorists. FIDE, the Lausanne-based federation which runs the game, disclosed on Tuesday that Swiss bank UBS closed its accounts after finally losing patience with its failure to depose Russian millionaire Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Ilyumzhinov, who was once part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, was placed on a US wanted list in November 2015 for allegedly being involved in oil deals which left a financial trail to the terror group ISIS via the Syrian government. In a letter published on the FIDE website, treasurer Dr. Adrian Siegel revealed UBS had shut its bank accounts and the federation faces a "serious problem" paying bills just weeks before the Candidates, its flagship world championship playoff tournament in Berlin.

I've been following the sanctions saga since the end of 2016.

Posts marked '(*)' are from my World Chess Championship blog. An election for FIDE President will take place later this year.

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