ChessFest To Honor Well-Known Master Coach

Students, Public Invited to Challenge Blindfolded UT Dallas Grandmaster

Feb. 21, 2012

Chess master Bruce Pandolfini

Bruce Pandolfini, who has written dozens of chess instruction books, was portrayed by Ben Kingsley in Searching for Bobby Fischer.

For The 11th Annual ChessFest, students are invited to match wits with the UT Dallas chess team and to attend a talk from one of the world’s most recognized chess coaches.

National chess master Bruce Pandolfini has written dozens of instruction books and is a highly sought after chess teacher. To the general public he is most recognizable for the 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer. In the movie, actor Ben Kingsley plays Pandolfini, who was the mentor for chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin.

Pandolfini will deliver “How I Became A Professional Chess Teacher” on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the library’s McDermott Suite.

Leading up to that event, UT Dallas Grandmaster Julio Sadorra will play blindfolded against challengers in Chess Plaza on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The plaza is located between the Student Services Building and The Naveen Jindal School of Management. This free event features a set of giant chess pieces, aptly named “Chess Grande.”

Members of the internationally competitive chess team will also illustrate some famous games in chess history.   

College student playing chess blindfolded

Grandmaster Julio Sadorra of the UT Dallas chess team will play blindfolded against challengers in Chess Plaza.

ChessFest is a collaboration and celebration of chess organized annually by UT Dallas’ Chess Program and the Eugene McDermott Library. After his talk, Pandolfini will receive the UT Dallas Chess Educator of the Year Award. Past chess luminaries who have received the award are Dr. Stephen Lipschultz, 2009, Dr. Jonathan Rowson, 2010, and Elizabeth Shaughnessy, 2011.

Pandolfini is one of the founders of the Chess-In-The-Schools program in New York and the creator of the Fireside Chess Library. His books include The ABCs of Chess: Invaluable, Detailed Lessons for Players at All Levels, and Chess Target Practice: Battle Tactics for Every Square on the Board. He is also a columnist for Chess Life, a popular publication for chess enthusiasts.

His legacy includes his role as an analyst for PBS’s coverage of the 1972 classic match between chess immortals Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.

“We are greatly pleased to welcome an honoree with such a legendary reputation as Bruce Pandolfini to UT Dallas,” said Jim Stallings, UT Dallas’ chess program director.

“His approach is to teach students how to think. In Pandolfini’s own words, he teaches how ‘to read other people and to understand oneself.’”

The public is invited to a free reception Thursday at 6:15 p.m. To  RSVP, send an email to Jim Stallings at james.stallings@utdallas.edu or call 972- 883-4899.


Media Contact: Chaz Lilly, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, cll093020@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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December 26, 2014