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Friday, April 29, 2011

Your chance to play chess with astronaut aboard International Space Station

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everybody,

Get ready with your chess suits again. NASA astronauts Greg Chamitoff and Greg H. Johnson, who have launced into space today (April 29), are challenging all of us here on earth to a rematch. NASA and the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) had hosted the first Earth vs. space match in 2008 when Chamitoff lived aboard the International Space Station. Of course, Earth had won the match with help from chess champions at Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Washington. 

Greg Chamitoff at the chessboard aboard the International Space Station in the previous Earth Vs Space chess match

"Chess is a great game that challenges the mind and helps young people develop critical thinking skills that will serve them well in math, science, and all aspects of their future careers," Chamitoff said. He and Johnson will play the game during their 14-day space shuttle flight to the International Space Station. The USCF will facilitate the match on its website at:

At this site, you can suggest or vote on a chess move. The USCF will decide how to respond to the astronauts' moves. NASA and USCF will use Twitter and Facebook to notify participants about the status of the game and when to vote on moves. "We hope the excitement and interest this game generates will inspire students to become interested in chess," said USCF Executive Director Bill Hall. Chamitoff, who will conduct two spacewalks during the shuttle mission, is a chess aficionado. He took a chess set when he launched to the space station in May 2008, and brought it back when he returned home in November 2008. He will be taking a different chess set for this trip. "We hope to do better in this Earth vs. space match," Chamitoff said. "But, I have to admit it will be a challenge because we have an extremely busy flight ahead of us." 

A cool video from the previous match:

Updates on the chess match will be posted on the USCF Twitter and Facebook sites, Chamitoff's Twitter account and the International Space Station's official Facebook page: 

For more about Chamitoff, the space shuttle and the space station, visit:

We are all set with our vitamins and water bottles... are you?

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