2 other chess players turn to politics

Several chess players have already turned to political careers (short nigel and Julio Granda only last week!), and at least two more are running for senior positions this fall to try to join them.

As previously stated on this site, WGM Dana Reizniece-Ozola (who beat GM Hou Yifan at the Baku Olympiad in 2016) became Minister of Finance of the Republic of Latvia. Bob Fergusona 2200-rated player, is the current Washington State District Attorney who also once drew IM Jeremy Silman.

Attempting to join them in November will be ranked 1500 Dan McCreadystill 35, who won the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s ninth congressional district, and WCM Stephanie Pichetwho also passed the primary and is running for Utah’s House District 40.

(If you’re curious if any American presidents have turned to chess, the World Chess Hall of Fame possesses already researched this extensively.)

Democrat Stephanie Pitcher is running for public office against Republican Peter Kraus and US independent David Else. Photo: Stephanie’s Facebook page for the House.

McCready is a few years younger but grew up with this writer nonetheless. In 1995, he led his Sharon Elementary chess team to a victory from behind on Sunday for the K-6 National Team Championship, still the only national championship ever won by a hometown team. McCready finished in the top 10 individually and several years ago had this to say about the tournament:

“We were just this little public school in Charlotte, against all these big private schools in New York where chess is a classroom and they pay for teachers to come and teach the kids. And we did it.”

McCready then joined to become an Eagle Scout and serve in the Marine Corps (he will probably never be the highest rated Eagle Scout, thanks to GM Kayden Troff). He served in Iraq in 2007 and was honorably discharged with the rank of captain.

After that, he attended Harvard Business School and started a solar energy business. This is his first foray into politics.

“I am not a politician”, McCready told the New York Times. “It’s not a career.”

Dan McCready

Dan McCready, right, shakes hands with voters on Women’s Equality Day in late August. Photo: Dan McCready for the Congress Facebook page.

According to latest survey on fivethirtyeight.comhe nevertheless leads by a very small margin over his rival Pastor Mark Harris in the general elections. Harris has already beaten the incumbent in the primary, so the race is wide open, despite Republicans having held the seat for 55 straight years!

Full disclosure: Although parts of Charlotte are in the 9th Ward, this writer does not live there. However, McCready played me in several games in our youth. In my senior year of high school, while still in college, he nearly cost me the state title. I was much worse from the open, but even grinding the endgame, I kept thinking, “How am I going to win this game?” Even when it was over, I thought, “I don’t know how I won this.” McCready was tenacious.

Pitcher and McCready live on opposite ends of the country, but are bonded by public service. While McCready joined the military, Pitcher currently serves in the Davis County District Attorney’s Office, just north of Salt Lake City.

Stephanie Pitcher

Stephanie Pitcher, middle, showing one of her problems, an expansion of the Utah Family and Medical Leave Law. Photo: Stephanie’s Facebook page for the House.

According to his LinkedIn profileShe received her law degree from the University of Utah and also worked in the Utah State Attorney’s Office and the Salt Lake City District Attorney’s Office. Oh, and she won the Utah State Women’s Championship no less than eight times!

Here she beats a 2000 player in less time than it takes to deliver a stump speech.

Like McCready, the incumbent of her seat (also a Democrat) will not face a general election.

Much of her platform revolves around women’s and children’s issues, so it won’t come as a surprise to know that she’s earned the Women’s Chess Advocate endorsement. WGM Jennifer Shahade.


Chess.com does not endorse any candidate. This report is intended to show only that several accomplished chess players are standing for election.

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