Sarah Hurst Writes

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  • Sarah Hurst Writes

    Sarah Hurst Writes

    November 27, 2015

    Sarah Hurst, journalist, was born in 1973. She displays a political activism of an intensity I haven’t seen since the 1960s.

    She had a revealing interview in the satirical chess magazine Kingpin in January, 2015:

    Some points from it:

    Sarah Hurst was a regular contributor to CHESS magazine in the 1990s and also edited the British Chess Federation’s newsletter, ChessMoves. Her fine book Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld is now available on Kindle. Since 2002 she has been translating articles and books for New in Chess, ChessCafe and other chess publishers. She has also worked in mining journalism, intercultural training and reality TV. She has lived in the UK, Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, China and Alaska.

    What made you write Curse of Kirsan?

    The book is a collection of my chess articles plus a narrative about how I tried to survive as a freelance chess journalist in London in the 1990s. I had already written the articles, most of which had appeared in chess magazines, and I had moved to Alaska and thought it would be good to turn my articles into a book for posterity.

    What did you hope it would achieve?

    Nothing politically, there was no longer any momentum in the campaign against Kirsan by 2001, but I just hoped more people would be able to read my interviews with and articles about famous chess players.

    She is now publishing a book online called The Gig Economy.


    From the first chapter:

    While working at the American Russian Centre at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I started translating articles for New in Chess. This turned out to be one of my longest-lasting freelance gigs. Most of the articles were historical reminiscences by grandmaster Genna Sosonko at first, but later I also translated tournament reports and other kinds of articles, and helped to edit books for New in Chess. This was very decently-paid freelance work. The editor of New in Chess, Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, would never reveal to me the exact pay per word, but it certainly helped to be paid in euros when living in the US.

    I ended this work in 2014 when I decided that I could no longer assist in the promotion of activities taking place in Russia, due the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine. Sosonko, who lives in the Netherlands, wasn’t writing any more, so by that time I was mainly being asked to translate tournament reports.


    A Native Lad: Benny Benson Tells Alaska's Story (2010)

    Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld (2002)

    Chess on the Web (2000)

    A Shrimp Learnt to Whistle (1997)

    She also worked on these chess books:

    Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources (Dvoretsky, 2015), The Complete Hedgehog (Shipov, 2011), No Passion for Chess Fashion (Raetsky, 2010), The Zukertort System (Bogdanovich, 2010), Find the Right Plan with Anatoly Karpov (Karpov, 2008) and From London to Elista (Bareev, 2007)

  • #2
    Re: Sarah Hurst Writes

    Thanks for the link, Wayne. This, among other things, caught my eye:

    How did writing the book change your view of chess players?

    I didn’t really have a view of chess players before I started meeting them, but after getting to know them I found out that they had a very diverse range of interests – some were obsessive collectors, some were talented musicians, and so on. But I also came to the conclusion that chess brilliance has nothing to do with high intelligence in other areas, but tends to give top players a false idea of their own high intelligence. They equate their FIDE rating with their IQ. In fact they have devoted so much time to chess that they may not be so brilliant at other things. And I don’t agree with the theory that chess skills can be applied to other aspects of life. Chess is a very individual pursuit, it doesn’t require collaboration, and it doesn’t take into account complex human relationships. Most of life is not like chess at all.
    "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
    "If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination." - Thomas De Quincey


    • #3
      Sarah Hurst shows off her diplomatic skills

      Sarah Hurst: "Putin must die."

      Sarah Hurst shows off her diplomatic skills.
      Dogs will bark, but the caravan of chess moves on.