BELLEVUE, Wash., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A unique chess match began Monday with an astronaut challenging Earthlings.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is joining with the U.S. Chess Federation in hosting the match between International Space Station astronaut Greg Chamitoff and the inhabitants of Earth.
Officials said key players in the game will be the kindergarten through third grade U.S. Chess Championship Team and its chess club teammates from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash.
The K-3 champions will select up to four possible moves on Earth's turn. The public will then vote on which move will be transmitted to the ISS.
"We hope the excitement and interest this game generates will inspire students to become interested in chess," said USCF Executive Director Bill Hall. "Chess is a valuable tool to lead students to become interested in math and to develop critical thinking skills …"
Chamitoff has added Velcro to the chess pieces to keep them from floating away in weightlessness.
The game against the public will move involve one move a day and play may be slow because Chamitoff only makes moves when his workload permits.
The chess federation is coordinating the match on its Web site at http://www.uschess.org/nasa2008.