December 15, 2011

Daumarian Davis Plays at AT&T Chess Carnival

Posted in Chess Club and Scholastic Center, Hall of Fame, Moves that Matter, Outreach Programs

Daumarian Davis Plays at AT&T Chess Carnival

You may remember the story about Daumarian Davis, an inspirational young man who lives at Grand Manor Nursing Home in Saint Louis. Davis is paralyzed from the neck down from an accident a few years ago that has left him in a motorized wheelchair.

Damaurian Davis Playing ChessDaumarian Davis Playing Chess

In August 2011, the outreach program of the World Chess Hall of Fame, Moves That Matter (MTM), and the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis partnered in bringing a chess tournament specifically for Davis to Grand Manor Nursing Home. Davis demonstrated that he is a stronger chess player than even he thought, winning the tournament with a perfect score.

On October 25, 2011, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted a Chess Carnival at AT&T’s downtown Saint Louis headquarters. The woman in charge, Cynthia Bakar, was searching the Internet and came across Davis’ story. She invited him, and his social worker, Diedre Plair, to join in on the fun. Many do not understand the undertaking of getting Davis from Grand Manor Nursing Home to another location. Transportation is difficult and timing is never on their side. However, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Ms. Plair, Daumarian is able to participate in activities such as this. Just a few weeks ago, Plair transported him to the Special Olympics where he successfully competed in several events. 

“I will always do everything in my power to make sure this boy has every opportunity he possibly can,” Plair said.

The AT&T Chess Carnival is an event where employees and chess players can register to play in simultaneous exhibitions against some of the strongest grandmasters in the country and the world. The city of Saint Louis is fortunate to have two resident grandmasters, GM Ben Finegold and GM Hikaru Nakamura, who is currently ranked No. 10 in the world! 

A simultaneous exhibition, commonly referred to as a simul, is when a chess player plays multiple games at one time, going from board to board, moving one piece at a time. For this instance at AT&T, GM Nakamura played about 20 participants, Davis being one of them. As I stood there, watching Davis carefully contemplate each move, I started to give Ms. Plair some background information on GM Nakamura. I didn’t get very far when she said, “Oh, we Googled him before we came, and Daumarian knows what he’s up against!” AT&T paid for Davis’ entry fee and made the stop as convenient as possible.

Thanks to the AT&T Chess Carnival, Daumarian Davis was able to test his chess skills once again. Daumarian and Diedre will forever be grateful for what Moves That Matter and the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis have done to make Daumarian’s chess dreams a reality.