USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kid Finds Joy in Life Against Cancer at MIT Chess Club as Honorary Member

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

We have a heartwarming story here by Stephanie Keeler in MIT News. She writes: Chess is a cerebral game, but this spring the members of the MIT Chess Club showed that they play from their hearts, too.

The club opened its arms to welcome — and play chess with — Tommy McGraw, an eight-year-old boy from Washington state who came to Boston for treatment in his fight against cancer.
Tommy with chess
“The MIT Chess Club members, especially club president Daniel Grazian, have welcomed, taught, mentored and befriended my children in a way that very few could have in Boston over the past weeks,” said Joe McGraw, Tommy’s father.

Being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing challenge at any age, but it’s especially trying for a child who has to move 3,000 miles from home for two months of treatment.

Tommy was diagnosed with brain cancer three months ago. After a successful surgery at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, Tommy and his family — parents Joe and Leigh, nine-year-old sister Katie, and six-year-old sister Sydney — came to Boston so Tommy could undergo proton therapy treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Although many miles away from their home outside of Tacoma, Wash., the McGraws wanted to maintain some sense of normalcy for their kids. Tommy loves playing sports, but because of his surgery, that was out of the question. “That’s tough on a little boy who is happiest when he has a ball of any type in his hands or around his feet,” Joe McGraw said.

The one hobby that Tommy could still pursue was chess. Since both Tommy and Katie play at their school chess club in Washington, Joe McGraw reached out to the MIT Chess Club — and within 24 hours, the kids were welcomed as honorary members. For the next four weeks, Tommy and Katie were able to play chess with some of the smartest college students in the world.

“It was really a joy to have Tommy and Katie at the club, and our members had a great time teaching and playing chess with them,” said Grazian ’13, president of the MIT Chess Club. “We really hope to see them again in the future.”

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home