World Champion Dazzles Them at Skokie’s North Shore Chess CenterRuan Lufei, a member of China’s 2007 world championship women's chess team, brought the chessboard to life Saturday afternoon at Skokie’s North Shore Chess Center. The 23-year old Ruan was the runner up at the recent 2010 Women’s World Chess Championship, where 64 of the world’s top women chess players competed in Hatay, Turkey in December. Ruan defeated Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, the defending champion, before coming up short in her championship match with fellow countrywoman Grand Master Yifan Hou.
In Skokie, Ruan attracted a crowd of about 25 chess fans, including a number of the areas top junior players. She engaged them in a lively discussion, and talked about her background and chess philosophy, and also reviewed a number her games from the recent world championship tournament. When she asked her audience how they would proceed in a given position, the response was usually quite different from the moves Ruan actually made during the tournament. However, this made for a spirited exchange of ideas with the audience.
Here are a few of Ruan’s suggestions for those trying to improve their game:
•Don’t show weakness or play for a draw no matter the strength of your opponent. Chess is about the struggle and the fight. Playing this way will lead to the greatest learning and improvement.
•The best defense is often offense: attack your opponent.
•Play openings that suit your personality, but always have a few different ideas in mind.
Ruan, who is currently pursuing a PH.D. in accounting from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said the biggest influence on her development as a chess player has been GM Anatoly Karpov, the world champion from 1975-85.
According to its owner Sevan A. Muradian, the North Shore Chess Center plans on continuing its lecture series featuring top chess players, as well promoting chess throughout the community.
“Chess is the great unifier,” said Muradian.
“It brings people together regardless of age, race, gender or ethnicity. People don’t even need to speak the same language to play a game of chess with each other. Bringing people together is one of the things that drives my passion to promote chess and bring it to the forefront of our culture and society.”