NASA take chess in space, ISS and Mission Control battle it out on the board concurrently with the World Championship 2023


The 2023 World Chess Championship saw the game scale new heights. Metaphorically and quite literally. In fact, it went all the way above the planet. A unique match that took place between the International Space Station and US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mission Control.

NASA would share the details of the same on their reddit and Twitter handle, “While the World Chess Championship was going on last month, /u/warrenhoburg (Warren Hoburg) and his Crew-6 crewmates (left to right: Frank Rubio, Woody Hoburg, UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Steve Bowen) were finishing up a chess match of their own — against the flight directors in NASA’s Mission Control Center (back on Earth) at Johnson Space Center.”

It further add, “Each team made about one to two moves a day, as their hectic schedules allowed, sharing updates via space-to-ground communications. Despite starting with the black pieces, the ISS crew emerged victorious, checkmating Mission Control with a cross-board queen move.”

“Their first game wrapped up on Sunday, April 16 — and the second match is already underway! Keep an eye on our ISS blog for more scientific updates from the orbiting laboratory.”

It wasn’t a first instance of a chess game in space. The first Earth vs. Space chess match began during astronaut Greg Chamitoff’s Expedition 17 stay aboard the ISS.

NASA and the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) teamed up to host the match, which started in September 2008. Chamitoff conceded the match in a Dec. 16, 2009, letter to the third grade U.S. Chess Championship Team and its chess club teammates from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash.





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