Thursday, January 6, 2011

great article about Ugandan chess player

"When I first saw chess, I thought, What could make all these kids so silent?" Phiona recalls. "Then I watched them play the game and get happy and excited, and I wanted a chance to be that happy."
ESPN article


Brian Lafferty said...

See Dylan McClain's follow up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't think it was possible to piss on that heartwarming story, but McClain managed it.

He should have started and stopped with this:

Some might say that it is unfair to compare Phiona to Hou, who has received support and coaching from the Chinese government since she was little. On the basis of whether they have had the same opportunities, that is clearly true.

Instead of harping on whether she technically qualifies as a prodigy. Good lord. Journalists engage in hyperbole, news at 11.

Brian Lafferty said...

The difference between the NY Times and ESPN is that the latter is entertainment, the former is about journalism and the public record.

The news at 11 isn't usually journalism either. Investigation and critical thinking are not usually taught to communications majors these days.

Anonymous said...

african teenager reaches 1500, world declares miracle has been achieved!!!

Anonymous said...

Impossible!,There are no smart africans maybe you're mistaken,of course?

Anonymous said...

Aw, c'mon people. The fact that she goes 1-3 in the Olympiad games described in the story, plus the fact that she wasn't even Board 1 for her team, had already led me to believe that she wasn't exactly super-GM strength. Calling her a "prodigy" may not be quite right (although the fact that she dominates her club must count for something), but it's hardly the worst sin against chess the non-chess media have ever committed.

Besides, for crying out loud, the story isn't ABOUT how great a player she is. It's about how chess gave her a sense of accomplishment that's hard to come by in one of the world's worst slums and how it's shown her places that other people in her situation will never get to see.

"... I watched them play the game and get happy and excited, and I wanted a chance to be that happy."

"But in chess I am always reminding her that anyone can lift a piece, because it is so light. What separates you is where you choose to put it down." That's brilliant.

Does this really need to be explained?

Rick Massimo