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A Soviet chess master's perfect move

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Franz Strasser | 13:08 UK time, Friday, 23 July 2010

Gregory Kaidanov is considered one of the best chess players in the world. He and his family emmigrated from the former Soviet Union to Lexington, Kentucky in 1992 and have never looked back. He teaches chess to students around the world over the internet, and says America is home now.

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Is technology and the way it connects people making where you live as an immigrant less important?


  • Comment number 1.

    I am a Brit that moved here to the States five years ago (my wife was American).

    She had been trying to encourage me to consider moving here ever since we had married ten years before this - but at the time I had resisted for a number of reasons.

    One of the most important was that America was (and still is) a very insular society - if popular media are to be believed, the rest of the world simply didn't exist. I always thought that ABC's flagship evening news program "World News Tonight" was singularly ill-named as frequently the ONLY news was of domestic things here within the USA! As the great American travel writer Bill Bryson once observed - move to America and see your own country completely disappear!

    I only felt comfortable moving here in 2005 when the internet allowed me to keep in touch with the rest of the world, and Britain in particular

  • Comment number 2.

    I moved to the US in 1974 from the UK and have lived all over and am now retired and living in Knoxville TN, near the Smoky Mountains. I agree with the post about America being insular,but I do watch the World News on BBC America and Public Broadcasting. I also go to the BBC online.
    What I do find is a wonderful feeling of friendliness from the American people for the British. There is no anti British feelings here, unlike some blogs I see from the British who seem very anti American. If they only knew the extent of the feelings the Americans have for Britain, they might feel embarrassed. Americans are very open, and very outgoing, ready to try anything. I guess that is why I live here.

  • Comment number 3.

    Franz - welcome to my big, beautiful, and sometimes crazy country! I hope you get to enjoy some of our great natural wonders like warm beaches, vast plains, mountain ranges, swamps and just about anything else you can imagine. I hope you find a warm welcome and learn about our very diverse people who have come to our great melting pot. I will follow your blog with great interest to get your perspective on your travels.

  • Comment number 4.

    It'd be cool to see this ex-Soviet "grandmaster" in a Kansas meat factory teaching Somalian refugees to play chess. He could do it part-time, after a long gruesome shift packing meat in plastic bags. How would he comment on his American experience then?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't understand the point you are trying to make, George. Are you implying that Mr. Kaidanov has not experienced becoming a real American because he has been able to assimmilate without hardship and has achieved the American dream quite easily? Actually, he came to our country with an education, the ability to speak our language, and with a great skill that took a lifetime to perfect. Why do some people think that unless you perform tedious "long, gruesome" physical labor, that you have not payed your dues and that you are not to be praised? It may take longer for the Somalian immigrants to realize the American dream, but they appear to be well on their way. Their American experience is different, but no less satisfying. My parents came as immigrants in the '60's. And even though they came with professional degrees, they had to go back to school at night and work during the day to get their diplomas. They worked very hard. Every immigrant's experience is different, but only those who are willing to work hard will get a piece of the American dream.

  • Comment number 7.

    I grew up in Frankfort, KY and I know Lexington very well. I'm sure the Chess Mater received a real fine welcome into his new 'hood.
    BTW, I've lived all over the world and I don't understand this view that US news is only about the US. It is no more or less so than the news I've watched in Germany, Ireland, UAE, Bahrain, etc.
    As Ana says, I don't get the Somali comment. Does George think they would have been better off to have stayed in Somalia? I grew up working on my uncle's farm and I have (literally) shoveled sh.. er, manure for less than minimum wage so I don't understand this aversion to hard work...

  • Comment number 8.

    I like the point where Gregory says, "that's exactly the wrong move." I gotta say, the reason the U.S. is somewhat insular has been part of the culture. Look at the message on the Statue of Liberty, ""Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name,
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  • Comment number 9.

    Englishmaninvegas' comment is entertaining in its fundamental truth. Kevin touches the point well - This nation is a refuge and a doorway to the future. We're here to move forward with those whom have joined us, severing most ties to past. We are, by and large, isolationist, interested in our own lives and our own futures, and only look outwards when called. Some people call it arrogant, but arrogance has nothing to do with it. We simply don't wish to bother, or be bothered.

    Mind you, the press of the world keeps on calling us and will not stop so doing, so we cannot help but look out, but we do so with a sense of irritation, as would any homebody when the neghbors keep disturbing their peace.



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