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May 28, 1993 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-05-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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hile other 5 year
olds were climbing
trees and playing
with G.I. Joe, Ben
Finegold was claiming
checkmate against his
father.
It paid off — literally.
Eighteen years later, Mr.
Finegold has been named
the 1993 Frank P. Samford
Jr. Chess Fellow. The fel-
lowship grants an annual
prize for American chess
players of $32,000 for two
years. It is the only chess
fellowship in the country.
"I was lucky to learn
from my father. He has
played in many tourna-
ments, making it easier for
me to know how to get in
the circuit," Mr. Finegold
said.
He competed in his first
tournament at 7, ranked as
a master at 14, a life mas-
ter at 15 and a senior mas-
ter at 16. Mr. Finegold is
ranked at about 20th in
the United States and
between 250th and 300th
in the world.
Mr. Finegold travels
internationally and locally
up to 150 times a year to
compete in tournaments.
Although exhausting, it's
his passion and full-time
job. It's also how he met
his wife, Gina. (They were
married at a tournament
in Great Britain in 1989.)
"The United States is
one of the toughest coun-
tries to try and go pro in,"

Mr. Finegold said. "People
don't understand this as an
art or as a way to make a
living."
Tournaments with prizes
of less than $1,000 are no
longer a consideration for
Mr. Finegold. Between
travel and entry fees,
awards of hundreds of dol-
lars aren't lucrative.
"In other countries, play-
ers are sponsored and can
play professionally. This
fellowship makes it possi-
ble for individuals to just
play chess," said Mr.
Finegold. "You can make a
living in the United States
playing other sports profes-
sionally."

"In other
countries, players
can play
professionally."

Although the American
public has not appeared to
warm up to the idea of call-
ing the buddies together
for beer, chips and chess
watching, U.S. companies
have begun to take chess
seriously — sponsoring
tournaments in Europe.
"Are Americans ready for
chess? I don't know.
Maybe," Mr. Finegold said.
"We'll see if the soccer
World Cup being held in
America will change any
attitudes."



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etroit Tigers TV an-
nouncer George Kell
and American League
President Dr. Bobby
Brown will be honorary co-
chairmen of the third annu-
al Hank Greenberg Mem-
orial Golf and Tennis
Invitational. The event will
be held June 21 a the Tam
O'Shanter Country Club in
West Bloomfield.
ABC News Sports Direc-
tor Dick Schaap will emcee
the evening banquet and
former Greenberg team-
mates Virgil Trucks, Birdie
Tebbetts, Barney McCoskey
and Harry Eisenstat will be
among the guests.

D

Other celebrities expected
to attend include former
Detroit Tigers Denny
McLain, Rick Leach and Joe
Ginsberg; Michigan basket-
ball coach Ben Braun; and
Detroit Lions stars Barry
Sanders and Chris Spiel-
man.
The Hank Greenberg
Memorial Cancer Fund at
Detroit's Sinai Hospital is
the primary beneficiary of
the Invitational. This fund
supplies money for ongoing
oncology research and
equipment.
For ticket information,
call Harvey Frank, 443-
1630. Ill

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