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41% of Chess Players Are Under 12?!

Updated: Apr 15

It’s the 26th issue of the Mindful Masters Newsletter, the best (and only?) monthly chess newsletter you receive. I cover chess culture and relevant wisdom I've collected along the way. Please let’s welcome the newest MMChess.org students: Grant, Colin, Ezra, Patrik, Cora, Shrithan, Flavio, Rafael, Kevin, Yotaro, Jennifer, Dmitri, Gideon, Mason, Dori, Edward, Julia, Nohan, Luke, Mathew, Jia, and Aarav!


Student Success🏆

Every month we’re highlighting some of the successes of our students. Proud of something chess-related? Send me the photo!


Congrats to Ale’s student Reanan on his first tournament—first place at Chess Max Academy in New York!

And to Gabriel’s student Kenneth, who placed 2nd at the very competitive and very large American Open!


My story🖼️

My parents like to brag that my dad taught me to play at 3 years, 10 months, circa ~1997. I was a competitive child, and being smaller than most children, I had somewhat of a Napoleonic complex — chess gave me an opportunity to beat older kids and even adults. (And by the way, age isn’t so important - the world champion only learned at 5.)


Monthly Tournament♟️

📅 This month’s tournament will take place on Wednesday, January 11th, at 7pm EST (6pm CT, 5pm MT, 4pm PT). Most of the players will be rated from 500-1800. In the last tournament there were 45 students, both kids & adults! The Zoom for the tournament is here, and the password is Smile.


To Play: Reply to this email or press the big green button here. If you haven’t already, you also have to join the MM team.


Congrats to Gideon (Gold), Flavio (Silver), and Sri (Bronze)! Flavio got robbed!


Chess News 📰

Another case of Iranian players being forced to walk away from matches. World 3 rank 18-year-old Alireza Firouzja, became a French citizen in 2021 after being penalized from competing against an Israeli in 2019. On December 16th, world 50 rank. Amin Tabatabaei was forced to walk away and lose a game, after fearing the same repercussions as he faced in 2019. Israeli GM Boris Gelfand won 3 times in a week, as he was paired against 3 Iranians. Just let them play chess, man.



🎉 Hikaru defeats Magnus Carlsen winning the 2022 Speed Chess Championship! That’s right - the world champion didn’t win! It was an incredible match.


😱 WGM Qiyu Zhou (popular streamer aka Nemsko) faked a $12.4k giveaway and gave it to her boyfriend. Zhou, a chess grandmaster and a poker player, won a spot in the upcoming Poker World Championship for $12,000. She chose to give it away via a contest, which her poker coach and supposed boyfriend Alex "Thallo" Epstein won. Poker Twitter is currently raging!


🚅 2022 World Blitz Championship Final Standings. These are the final ratings of the 2022 World Blitz (quick chess) Championship… yes, world Champion Carlsen won the Championship.


🥵 Magnus Carlsen defeats Fabiano Caruana in the SCC with ZERO losses. Danya Naroditsky (a recognized YouTube and Twitch streamer) said "It's not an overstatement to call this one of the greatest performances in chess history. I'm speechless."


😎 Chess is getting more popular on YouTube! Levy Rozman, aka GothamChess, becomes the first chess YouTube channel to reach 2 million subscribers. It seems that lately, he had an increase of +200,000 subscribers because of his wired videos, really fun and interesting.


P.S. we were friends in high school… before he got famous online


Fun Facts💡

📲 Follow me on Twitter for incredible chess stories two times a week. The last one was about Danya Naroditsky!



🤴 Life expectancy of the chess pieces. This chart shows interesting data about the chess pieces’ lifetime expectancy based on the number of moves. But, what happens with promotions? “When a pawn promotes to a piece, no new piece is “born” after a pawn is promoted, instead, the pawn remains alive.” In the end, we all want to be the king!


👩 Most girls stop playing chess in middle school and 85% of female players are under 20 years old. The below chart shows us some interesting demographics in chess: most chess players are younger (makes sense, more time!), and most people stop playing consistently after college. These charts show the age distribution for players and also specifically for women by age.

🚀 The golden age of chess performance is from 25 to 37 years old! Those ages are when our brain is most efficient and energetic. On the other hand, most writers achieve peak productivity after turning 50! This says a lot about what exact mental processes are active when playing chess!


😎 Korchnoi’s Mirrored Sunglasses in the 1978 World Chess championship were STYLISH. World championship contender Korchnoi wore mirrored sunglasses during the first game for the 1978 world championship to shield his eyes from his opponent Anatoly Karpov's glare, which had disturbed him in a previous match. Imagine that look! Karpov was upset because the mirrors reflected light into his eyes, and he also asked that Korchnoi's chair be checked for "prohibited devices" (probably mind-controlling devices 🤣) and distracted his opponent by swiveling in his own chair during games.



♟️ We all love puzzles! Below is a 3-move checkmate



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